Celebrating B.C. Coaches: Dylan Armstrong
This year for Coaches Week, we want to celebrate each and every coach in B.C. who has made a difference in their athletes lives and positively impacted their community. We are so excited to present a series of profiles on coaches who are going above and beyond to support their athletes through unprecedented times. These are stories of incredible achievement, trust, drive and much more. Let's meet Dylan Armstrong, Olympic bronze medallist shot putter and now head coach at Kamloops Track and Field Club .
Q - Tell us a bit about your coaching journey?
I actually started coaching when I finished competing in 2013. I loved to help other athletes do well. I found myself helping athletes at various cities and facilities when I was traveling and competing around the world. It gave me great pleasure to help others and as an Olympian, my biggest desire was to teach what I had learnt from my coach to someone else.
Q - How has your career as an athlete influenced your coaching style -
It has in a big way. I was always coached by coaches that believed in dedication, drive and they gave of their time and energy to be the best they could be and I took that very personally. My high school coach was extremely dedicated and hardworking and I thought if he is doing this for me I need to listen and trust in what he is saying and return that to performance. In my later years to be coached by arguably the best throws coach in the world (Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk) I felt I was not only fortunate but needed to perform to the best of my ability to match his time and dedication and his loyalty to me. Hard work pays off and I paid attention and listened to him in whatever he felt was best for me.
I trusted all his decisions and they all turned out to be goals that I had to achieve with my athletes and I knew that a coach athlete relationship was important to be able to trust in what the athlete tells you and then deliver what you have passed on to them. One of the most powerful moments you can have is when it all comes together at the right time, you have coached it and your athlete has trained for it .
Q - What impact did your coach have in shaping your philosophy?
I listened and trusted my coach. I had no doubt or questioned any of his motives with my training program as I trusted they would work. And they did. Once that was proven to me I knew I would find success. I know hard work pays off and I know listening to your coach also pays off. I was very fortunate to have that and it formed the foundation of my coaching career. When I am loyal, dedicated and invested, the athlete will see that as well and a bond of trust will form.
Q - Can you talk about preparing Greg Stewart for the Paralympics?
I was preparing Greg for months before the Paralympics. We talked about it lots and what it would look like, how he needed to deliver and the response to that. I told him to just go out there and give it your all on the first throw. Greg needed to make a statement right off the bat to throw his competitors off and he did just that! We talked about what we discussed in training and focused on the throw and that is all. Greg ended up throwing his furthest throw and his personal best and a Canadian Para record.
Greg always wanted to be the best he could be and his goal was always that. We wanted to have that first throw be the best throw so when he achieved that I was very pleased and happy. When an athlete does exactly what the coach has asked, you cannot ask for more than that. Greg did us all proud.
Q - What is the best advice you’ve received?
Work hard and success will come and do not take anything for granted because while you are training someone else is training harder.
Q - You coach a lot of high-performance athletes, do you find you need to take a different approach with para athletes vs able bodied athletes as you support their sport journeys?
No, we all have things/issues we need to work on when it comes to sport no matter if you are able body or para athlete. It’s just finding out what the solution is to overcome it all. My approach is pretty similar I would say but each athlete is also an individual and all of us have a different set of circumstances to deal with in life.
Q - What is your favourite part of coaching athletics and para athletics?
My favorite part is seeing all the hard work coaching an athlete has paid off and that could mean they have a personal best, win a medal at a competition, or overcome a training issue to make them more successful. There is nothing greater than achieving performance or a goal and its always about the road there to make it.
Q - How has your coaching journey been impacted by your community and Pacific Sport Interior?
First of all, I think the community of Kamloops is very supportive and sport- minded. As a coach that is important as you know they have your back in terms of support and your goals as a coach.
Pacific Sport Interior does a great job recognizing coaching achievements and I cannot say enough good things about them. They show appreciation through not only recognition but through travel grants, educational opportunities, clinics, seminars, and opportunities to listen to various speakers to keep up on what is happening in sport in our province. They provide good communication and are always available to listen and try to help through any problems or issues sport may be facing. I have always felt they have been supportive and to have that has made a difference in knowing they will always be there to support my coaching goals which is to put athletes on the podium for Kamloops!
Dylan, with your dedication to sharing your knowledge and the trust you build with your athletes, it's no wonder you've achieved amazing things as a coach. Thank you for all you do and happy Coaches Week!
Our Coaches Week profile series has come to an end and we could not be more proud of not only these five incredible coaches but of every coach like them in our community. Keep an eye out for future community profiles, we love sharing your stories.
Don't forget to enter our Coaches Week Contest for a chance to win $1,000 for your coach and club, on until September 26. Find the details here.