Competitive even in marriage, Kim Green and Trent Copeland have learned to love each other's sport.
With a shared passion for sport and a dual insight into the rigors of elite competition, they describe how they handle the ups and downs of their busy schedules and what it’s like to spectate each other’s matches.
Understanding the pressures of professional sport is hard without being in the shoes of an elite athlete. For Trent and Kim, sharing that understanding helps them motivate each other, knowing what’s involved in making it to the top. “It helps because we are both understanding of our respective schedules. We’re also able to enjoy each other’s success, knowing how many small steps it takes to make big ones,” says Trent. “Being in a relationship with another athlete can be beneficial because your ups and downs are not always paralleled. When he’s doing well or has achieved something special, in a way I feel like I have as well,” says Kim.
Busy travel schedules are a part of life for professional athletes and the added challenge of two people living that life is that schedules don’t often coincide. Asked how she handles the time apart, Kim says she finds it tough. “It hasn’t become any easier to be honest, despite the fact that we’ve been together for awhile now. We text and video Skype all the time which helps, but both our schedules involve extensive travel and time on the road.” For Trent, knowing their jobs aren’t forever helps him better handle the distance. “At the moment we’re both relatively successful in our jobs, but that is finite. Hopefully we can keep it up well into our thirties, but if that doesn’t happen, we have the rest of our lives to slow down in each other’s pockets. That drives us to keep pushing week after week with our current schedules.”
The drive it takes to make it as an elite athlete often comes with intense ambition and strong individual goals. Looking at how his personal determination coexists alongside Kim’s sporting ambition, Trent believes it fuels their will to win and drives them to reach their own goals. “Everything we do, whether professionally or socially, we’re competitive. As long as we put our spin on things and are aware of it, I don’t think our relationship will be affected. If anything it is a positive – our personalities drive us to reach our goals,” says Trent. “We’re both very competitive by nature, so it’s always fun, but we try to keep that negative edge away from our relationship as much as possible,” says Kim.
When they do get some time off, Kim and Trent like to get out and train together, hit the gym, walk the dogs or run up the Cronulla sand dunes – although now they’re married Trent says he no longer has to let Kim beat him up the dunes!
Over the years, both Kim and Trent say they’ve gotten better at watching each other’s matches. For Kim, learning the intricacies of cricket and handling the length of the games has taken time but she says whenever Trent is involved in bowling or batting she always watches on and cheers (quietly.) “I actually love watching the netball and try to get to as many games as possible, home and away. Through that I’ve developed a better understanding of the game,” says Trent. “Kim would probably say I think I know everything about netball, but I don’t. Close, but not yet.”
Trent – Five training tips for a junior cricketer
1. Have fun
2. Train with a purpose – get something out of each session
3. Always ask questions of coaches
4. Be prepared to be a team player
5. Always aim high – set your own limits
Kim – Five training tips for a junior netballer
1. Don’t take the game too seriously at a young age – having fun with friends is the most important thing
2. Play with a smile, you’ll get more out of yourself
3. Don’t be afraid to ask coaches and teammates for help
4. Make the most of your time on court
5. Stay positive and set goals, small and big, to get where you want to go
Image credit: Kylie Duffy