Kelusky's teaching given straight A's

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:35 PM ET

Tracey Kelusky is used to taking defenders to school.

That -- coupled with an education degree from the University of Hartford -- made the leap to teaching lacrosse and hockey with the National Sport Academy a logical step for the Calgary Roughnecks captain.

Unlike most pro athletes, many National Lacrosse League players have day jobs and after recently buying a house and settling into the city full-time, Kelusky took on his new teaching job in September.

The Roughnecks continue their training camp this weekend in advance of the Jan. 13 season-opener against Edmonton and Kelusky agreed his new job has made him more hands-on teaching the club's younger players.

"I've always tried to lead by example but I think this year I've gotten into that teaching thing a little more," said the 30-year-old Peterbourgh, Ont.-native.

"I do it now day-in and day-out, so I think I can be beneficial that way for some of those younger guys. Communication is such a big part of sport, so if I can do that and help out a guy, great. I'm not one to say I know it all and I'm still constantly learning, as well."

Kelusky also instructs student-athletes off the floor through a life-skills component.

"We're building athletes but we're also building the character of these kids as well," said Kelusky, who scored 45 goals last season.

Despite being an all-star, Kelsuky admits he's learned a thing or two himself since he started teaching the game.

"There are so many components in the game of lacrosse that as you break it down for the students, you learn a little yourself," said Kelusky. "I know all the stuff but sometimes you need to remind yourself of the basics and build on them. Getting back to fundamentals and being fundamentally correct is always good."

Roughnecks head coach Chris Hall welcomes Kelusky's help.

"It's a great thing for Tracey," said Hall. "I think when you're teaching every day, you gain a different perspective on what is actually happening on the floor.

"So, after teaching every day, you get to practise and you pick up on small things players are doing fundamentally incorrectly. Tracey is now picking up on that stuff and he's already come to me a couple of times and said, 'Hey coach, what about on this play if we did this. This might work better for us.' And that type of input is more than welcome by me."

In other news, Kelusky's playing rights were recently selected by Major League Lacrosse's San Francisco expansion team. Kelusky said he's strongly considering playing in the pro outdoor field lacrosse league this summer after the Roughnecks' season ends.

"I've been talking to them and we'll see if it works out for the summer," said Kelusky.


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