Meet Peter Isherwood, he is one of our high performance athletes who trains 2-3 times a week here at the Richmond Olympic Oval for Wheelchair Rugby and Athletics.
What is your favourite part about coming to the Oval and working with our OVAL-HP Coach Fran Quintana, with Lisa Myers and Adam Frost from BC Wheelchair Sports Association?
The facility itself is a pretty amazing; being designed for the Olympics to begin with and with the multiple courts, indoor track and good gym facility. It is also an accessible facility for those of us who require it. The staff and everybody at the Oval are really great and it makes it a very easy and welcoming place to train.
Working with Fran is great. He thrives at adapting and making everything work for our needs and has a good personality and is easy to work with, and is a very knowledgeable strength & conditioning coach.
Lisa & Adam are two different types of coaches, with two different styles but also two different sports as well. Both are very good in their own right. With Lisa we work a lot on technique because that is what throwing discus is all about, it’s not about the strength and it’s an individual sport. There is more mental work involved. With Adam and Wheelchair Rugby it is more on building you as an individual to work with a team, the dynamics are a little different. But both are very knowledgeable in their own way.
If you don’t mind me asking, what is the nature of your injury and did you play any sports prior?
I actually had a major sports injury; I was downhill mountain biking and had an accident. I broke my back and became a quadriplegic. I did play lacrosse throughout my childhood, high school and leading into university. Lacrosse would have been my team sport but I focused more on snowboarding and mountain biking.
How did you get started in Wheelchair Rugby and Athletics? And how long have you been doing both?
I got started with Wheelchair Rugby 4 and a half years ago coming out of rehab for my injury. I was immediately addicted. I started training with a team and early on you are very weak but with that I started to get more strength and built a good group of friends. I continued on and then eventually made the provincial team, and with a lot of hard work made it to the “Next Gen” program for the potential to be on the national team.
Did they introduce you to WC Rugby in rehab?
They did, a recreational therapist from GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre asked me what I wanted to get involved in and I said let’s try any and everything. I didn’t necessarily have the intention to go to a higher level. It was more rehab and a place to meet people and do something different.
I started athletics about a year and half ago. Athletics was just something I went to a clinic for here hosted by BC Wheelchair Sports Association. I had fairly decent results and started committing to it. And as I mentioned before, it was more of a solo mental sport, it’s a great way to work on your ability to stay focused for both sports.
They are both very different, with Rugby being a team sport, you win as a team and you lose as a team, you have that shared emotion and it is also very mobile, you are pushing really hard to get going. With Athletics you are sitting on the throw chair, by yourself in a circle and that’s where the difference lies. Do I have a favourite? I started with rugby so that would be my original choice but I really enjoy throwing discus. They are both two very different elements of sports. It’s very hard to pick a favourite because they are really not the same.
What does your typical day look like?
Ha! I am basically here somewhere around 10:00am to start training. I am here for a few hours and I am either up on the court scrimmaging or working with Fran in the High Performance Training Centre.
Depending on the day, I follow that up with discus. Three days a week I do 2 sports and I also play tennis a couple times a week. I would say a typical day involves training for a couple of sports, eating and napping.
It’s more or less a full time job to have two sports, and a third with Tennis.
Sounds like you are super busy with sports every day, what do you enjoy doing when you are not training?
I enjoy spending time with my wife and our dog. When time permits we enjoy travelling but on a typical day just the two of us spending time together.
What are your upcoming short and long-term goals?
My short term goals are always small things like increasing time for speed and increasing distance for discus. Those are kind of short and long term goals but I find that if I set myself small weekly, monthly, 6 month goals to commit to, they are more personal goals to better my performance.
And my long term goal is to ultimately make the national team for both Wheelchair Rugby and Athletics. Although that at would be great on the short term too but I aspire to look at that for the long term.