Ross Sinclair, a Newport Harbor alum, now coaches the boys and girls water polo teams; both won CIF championships this year.

Ross Sinclair, a Newport Harbor alum, now coaches the boys and girls water polo teams; both won CIF championships this year.

Water Polo: Q&A with Coach Sinclair

Newport Harbor’s water polo program is run by Ross Sinclair, who once played for the team himself. He allows students to grow in the water and improve their water sports abilities. Sinclair has a passion for helping student athletes experience what he missed out on as a student athlete himself. If you love the water, being outside, and working in a team, you should consider taking on water polo to improve your aquatic skills. 

KS: What sport do you coach?

RS: I coach boys and girl water polo. 

KS: What is your experience with this sport?

RS: I played water polo and swam in high school at Newport Harbor back in the day. I played in college, and now I’m back here coaching.

KS: Why did you want to coach this sport?

RS: Because it’s fun working with student athletes everyday, and everything I missed as an athlete back in my day I get to be a part of now. I think it’s fun to work with the individuals on the team, set some goals, and come together to try and reach them.

KS: How can students try out for your sport? Do you cut students?

RS: We have a swim class, which is new. If a student is interested in water polo for the first time, I highly suggest doing swim class. It’s kind of like surf class to surf team. It’s a good transition to get some time in the water. And at the beginning of the second semester for swimming, we have a tryout for water polo. Show up, and if you want to continue on, you can. If not, you don’t have to. It’s kind of informal tryouts. 

KS: What kind of students would enjoy this sport?

RS: Someone who likes to be outside, get wet, work hard, and work with others. If they like to get pushed and challenged.

KS: What is a typical practice like?

RS: We alternate between morning and afternoon practices. Mornings, it’s a combination of swimming and some technical skill work that are needed to play the game. And at the end you get some skill opportunities. 

KS: What skills are necessary to do well in this sport?

RS: I think you have to have a love for water, have to be able to swim. That’s why the swim class is there; if you don’t know how to swim, it will teach you. I think the biggest thing is to have perseverance. There’s a lot of failure that comes with swimming and water polo because it’s just not natural for humans.

KS: What kinds of things are students expected to do outside of practice and games?

RS: We generally do everything in the frame of our practice time. Every so often we’ll have them watch extra films to get familiar with other teams. 

KS: What can a student do to get better at this sport?

RS: Show up everyday, work really hard. You’ll grow as an athlete if you work hard and show up every day. 

KS: What kinds of feedback do you usually get from students about this sport?

RS: I think the biggest feedback I get is that it’s challenging but rewarding.

KS: What benefits do students obtain from playing this sport?

RS: Just the general understanding of physical fitness, mental toughness, and the ability to work with a team.

KS: How can this sport help students in their future?

RS: I think that everything I do now as a teacher and a coach is stuff I learned as a student athlete from my high school years. It allowed me to be successful for time management and wake up early and get things done. Organization is all part of what you take away from this. 

KS: Is there anything you want students to know about this sport?

RS: It’s a really fun sport, and challenging. If someone’s interested, they should come check out a practice and see what it’s like.

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