Coaching – A View From the Sidelines


The Pull
February 21, 2010, 10:23 pm
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It has been a while since I posted. So here goes nothing!

Coaching has always been an integral part of our lives.  Kelly grew up the daughter of a Varsity Basketball coach, and coaching is what I had always wanted to do.  I am glad that she knew what she was getting into when she married me.  I am so blessed to have an understanding woman to share my life with.

Coaching has taken us all over the eastern part of the state of North Carolina.  We have lived in multiple cities, and made many friends in all of our stops.  We have liked some places more than others and there have been good reasons for each of our moves, but not all of them have worked out how we hoped.  That has been a chance we have taken each time we have packed up and moved to a new town.

One of the things we are always looking for when we get to these places is that feeling of being “home.”  There have been pieces of that each town or city we have been in that gave us that feeling.  The closest we have gotten to feeling “home” is here in Washington.  Here we have made great friends, we have found a church, and we enjoy just being here.

The one thing that has hampered each and every move is the pull to be closer to family.  This has been building over the last few years.  Before we have made a move we have always discussed the impact it would have on Kelly, myself, and the boys.  We would also discuss how it would impact our family as a whole.  But we have been so happy out here in Little Washington that it hasn’t been a big issue.

Kelly has extended family spread out over the US, but her parents have lived in NC since the early 70’s and Kelly and her sister have lived here their whole lives.  My family is concentrated in just a couple spots in NC and SC.

The pull is what has brought us from place to place over the last 10 years.  It has been the pull of family safety, financial security, exceptional educational opportunities for our children, and more.  There has been more of a pull towards family in the recent months, especially with the death of my grandfather.  It was wonderful seeing ALL of the family over the weekend of the funeral, but I just wish it would have been under different circumstances.

It would be a hard decision to leave here because of my feelings for the guys on the team here.  Ever since I came here I have talked of my priorities – 1- God, 2- Family, 3- School, and 4- Football.  They understand this and most of them are beginning to live by it.  I am more proud of that than the number of wins and losses we end the season with.  There would be some that are mad, some that are sad, and some that don’t care one way or another.  It would be the hardest decision I have made professionally, and I wouldn’t leave my current position unless it was the best for my family – all around.

I am not actively looking for a new coaching or teaching position, but if something works out that Kelly and I can end up closer to family sometime in the near future I think we would have to seriously consider it.   Whether we are close to her parents, my parents, or even my extended family in SC. (which we are much closer to than most extended families are) I feel strongly that my boys deserve to have the same chances I did to be able to see their family as much as possible.  I know I was lucky that 95% of my family lived within 3 hours from where I grew up. We will see what the Lord has in store for our family.  Where will we end up? Here in Washington? Lexington? Whispering Pines? Or somewhere else that we haven’t even thought of yet?  We have put our faith in Him to lead us where He thinks we need to be.  Each place we go I hope we are living our lives, and teaching things the way He wants them taught.

So is the life of a coach and their family.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. My family is priority number one…Where ever we end up, will be where we are supposed to be.

What about you all?  Have many of you felt this same way, or am I alone in these thoughts? It doesn’t have to be only coaches and teachers that are affected by this.



Low Academic Performance = No Sports?
March 15, 2009, 5:09 pm
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Where do I start on this one?  Low Test Scores = No Sports for a school.

I moan and complain about how the attitude of my athletes is towards academics, BUT they understand that they have to pass to play.  They understand that they have to make a certain grade to be promoted.  Why are they going to punish the athletes, when they are the ones that are doing everything they are supposed to be doing to be eligible?  The athletes have always understood that they are held to a higher standard than others.  They haven’t always liked it, but they understand and accept it.

In my school their are 530 students.  We will have 125 returning athletes in the fall of 2009.  If the person behind this bill gets what they want, it will punish the quarter of the students that work hard all the time to maintain their eligibility.  What about the 405 non-athletes?  They are not losing anything, except the chance to watch the athletic events.

What are we telling our kids then?  Spend more time studying!  Make sure you go to tutoring when it is offered!  Like I have said before, I am all for high standards…But if you tell a set of kids that they are unable to play a sport, there are some that would no longer be in high school.  Is that what this bill is trying to accomplish?  Get the kids out of school that can’t hack it?  Isn’t that going against anything and everything that we have ever taught our kids?  We tell our kids that if they want something bad enough they are going to have to fight for it.  What is going to happen if this goes through?  Those kids will be out doing things they aren’t supposed to be doing.  That seems sort of counter productive doesn’t it?

I preach to my athletes all the time….GET YOUR GRADES RIGHT!  For both graduating and athletic purposes.  They hear it and believe it.  They understand now after hearing Harold Robinson talk.  He hit some nerves and made some kids feel uncomfortable.  I was so happy that they felt that way.  It means that they do care.   Isn’t that why we push them?  Isn’t that how we want them to feel?

What are your thoughts?  How would you feel if this bill was brought forth in your state?

Would love to see your comments.



Athlete Meeting
March 6, 2009, 11:08 am
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What an outstanding Job Harold Robinson did talking to our athletes about what they should be doing now to get ready for their future in both school and athletics.  He shot straight with them.  He didn’t mince words.  Exactly what they needed to hear.  THE SAME THINGS WE AT THE SCHOOL SAY EVERYDAY!  I guess the old philosophy is true, it takes someone outside of the situation to get the point across?

Each student was given a packet on their way out of the meeting that the title of is, “IS MY SON/DAUGHTER A LEGITIMATE RECRUIT?”  It is a great piece of literature for anyone that is going through the recruiting policy, or someone that may be going through it soon.  It details MONTH by MONTH what needs to be done from the day those kids get on a high school campus.  As a coach I am glad that I was able to hear him talk.  It makes me feel like I have been teaching and telling my athletes the correct things. 

It is also full of the academic information that each student needs to have before they get to college.  Test Scores, GPA, and so on, and so on… They were shocked that the coaching staff knew what we were talking about.  Will they listen and follow through on promises?  Only time will tell.

I will be better for my athletes, and my sons in the future for sitting through this meeting.  I video taped it, and I hope that came out well.  Will check it out later on today when I get a chance. 

My principal, athletic director, and fellow coaches were very supportive of this meeting.  They came up to me afterwards and said again, what a good idea it was. 

After this meeting we decided, and it was Coach Robinsons’ idea, to have him and the ECU Staff to come and be a part of our Fall Parent Meeting.  We didn’t even have to think twice about that one.  The parents will them walk out of this meeting with enough information to know what it is going to take for them to go to ANY college, not just a D-I school. 

I think the girls were as shocked as any to hear about the comittment to the weight room.  They didn’t understand what they needed to be doing while still in high school.  Now they know.  Comittment to a sport has to change now at our school if we are going to continue to make gains in our athletic programs.

The final question is…What will the student-athletes do?



The Next Level
March 4, 2009, 10:19 am
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This Friday we will have a guest speaker from East Carolina University here at school to talk to our underclassmen about the commitment it takes to be an athlete at the next level.  Harold Robinson, the former Head Football Coach at Williamston High school, will be representing ECU as their football department liaison.  He has a lot of experience in dealing with what it takes to get athletes into each of the different levels of collegiate athletics.

Why do I think this is important?

I think this talk is important on many levels.  As a high school coach, I am interested in what he has to say so I can help my STUDENT-athletes get to the next level.  I think it is important for them to be a well-rounded human being, not just an “athletic machine.”  Their is a reason these kids are not called ATHLETIC-STUDENTS.  Student comes first.  It always has, and it always will.  I make my kids go to tutoring.  Even if they have A’s, they are to go and see if they can make a higher A.  I want them to strive for perfection.  Why is that so wrong of me?  I have seen decent results, but I want more.  I want 100% of my kids in A’s and B’s.  I know that is a high goal, but if I don’t have that outlook for them, WHO WILL? What is wrong with striving for perfection?  I have been taught by many others, kids will try their best to reach the goals that you set for them.  I have seen this as true, but I want more than just a majority of the athletes to strive for this.  The old saying goes….

Reach for the Moon,

Even if you fail to reach it,

You land among the stars.

Isn’t that the way it should be…Set the goals high, and see how high they will take them?

Also, I want them to hear this speech from the mouth of someone who has lived each aspect of high school and college athletics.  This man has given 40 years of his life to a game he loves, and now he is in a position to help out others that are in the position that he once held.  That is someone I admire. 

Students today do not put enough emphasis on COMMITMENT!!!  This is commitment on the field AND in the classroom.  They feel that their talents on the field will still get them what they need, and as long as they maintain a C average they are ok.  THEY ARE WRONG!  Maybe they need to hear it from someone other than their own parents, teachers, and coaches?  Maybe hearing that from someone outside of the situation will help it sink in.  I am not sure. 

Also, their commitment to their sport, both in and out of season needs to be better.  They don’t understand that just playing that sport during the season from 4-6pm everyday doesn’t make you a superstar.  They don’t understand that if they put in just an extra hour or two a week that they could greatly enhance their chances of success.  They don’t understand that if they hit the weightroom HARD in the off-season it would be beneficial to them.  They picture it as EXTRA work that isn’t useful.  EVEN WHEN THEY ARE SEEING POSITIVE RESULTS!!! They think that an hour of lifting every day in their weight training class is enough.   It is just not that important to them until they are a senior and don’t have anyone looking at them.  THEN they want me to come in and let them lift three times a day, and work on their speed and agility.  I am always happy to help, but it is hard to find schools to look at someone that has waited until their senior year to do anything.  They just don’t want to believe this.  Then they find out it is too late.

When you combine the lackadaisical attitude in the classroom and on the field, it is like combining vinegar and baking soda.  You are going to have an explosion…and that isn’t a good thing! 

Hopefully Coach Robinson will be able to hit a nerve and force these kids to look at themselves in the mirror, and make them face their commitment issues head on. 

The question is,

HOW BAD DO THEY WANT IT???

 

 

—-I will also post AFTER the meeting on Friday….Will let you all know how it goes.



Giving Thanks
February 24, 2009, 9:17 pm
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Well a new sports season is upon us, and athletes, both new and old, are back into the swing of things.  It is always fun to see the joy in the eyes of the athletes who made the teams that they were trying out for.  It is also very sad to see the heart break and dispair in the eyes of those who do not make it. 

This year I have heard something, that in nine years, I haven’t heard very much.  THANK YOU.  I was floored.  I have been preaching about how what we are doing in our weight lifting classes would help them in any sport that they were involved in.  My classes this semester are full of athletes.  Most are playing something this spring, but also a large amount of Football and Volleyball players.  I am hoping they see what is happening for the spring athletes, and follow suit.  I preach how core exercises and leg excercises will help you in any sport, and they are finally seeing the fruits of their labor. 

Some of the kids were telling my how much easier Track was this year, and a couple of the baseball guys have gained velocity on their pitching and increased their bat speed.  The last two days have been filled with “thank you’s” from the athletes in my class.  They are able to give a higher level of effort for longer in track, and they recover quicker in baseball. 

I am proud of them.  They are finally seeing what I have been telling them since I arrived.  Their power base is set, and now we are on to working on their speed.  Tuesdays and Thursdays have been known as “hell days” in my class.  Those are the days that the weak of heart do not dress out, and it shows later in the semester in their M/W/F workouts.  They are unable to continue the gains they were making early in the semester.  While the ones that bust their butts make amazing gains all the way until the last day of the semester.  I make it hard because I know that what they do outside in the afternoon will then be “easy.”  It is nice to know that I have the blessings of the spring coaches.  They are such huge advocates of what I am doing.

It makes me proud as a teacher to see what I am doing is making a difference in their lives.  Not only are they enjoying success in their sport, but they are going to be able to live a better life with the level of fitness they are gaining.

I love my job!



Coaching Materials
February 23, 2009, 12:06 pm
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I have had a lot of people ask me over my nine years of coaching, where I got my ideas and such.  I look in all areas for ways to better myself. I use the internet, books, cassette tapes, DVD’s, and VHS tapes.  But most importantly I use my peers.  Present coaches and past coaches can be the most important coaching materials you can have. 

I make sure to surround myself with coaches that are knowlegeable in different aspects of the game.  I am always learning, and always tinkering with what I do.  I may take a piece from this person and that person, and turn it into a whole new concept. 

I have a library of different materials that I use.  My father-in-law has been a person that I have bounced a lot of Ideas off of throughout the last nine years.  His ideas and opinions have helped shape what I do. 

To make this short and sweet…Please post your best websites, books, DVD’s, etc….I want this to be a place where people can come to find the answers to a lot of their questions.  I will sit and post my materials tonight once I am home looking at them.

Please Post Away!



You Play How You Eat and Drink?
February 22, 2009, 11:18 am
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No matter where I have coached nutrition is something that I have tried to impress upon the kids.  I make sure they have an understanding of what they are supposed to have, but that is about as much as I can do.  I cannot go home with them to make sure they are eating what they should be eating.  I am in class during third period at school, so I am unable to watch what they are eating for lunch.  It becomes a trust issue, and when you are talking about a teenager and food, there is no trust. 

I have researched the topic for years.  I have recently come across the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Site on Nutrition.  This has a lot of information on the choices kids should make when choosing fuel for their body.  It shows foods to eat for both endurance athletes, and power athletes.  This to me is one of the most in-depth sites that I have seen when dealing with Athlete Nutrition.

How can we get athletes away from the fried foods, the hot dogs, and the fast food?  We show them what they should have the night before a game, and we show them what they should eat before and after games.  Money is the issue where I am.  There is just not enough money for me to feed the kids the food they need to be eating the night before the game, and then both the pre and post game meals.  So we, as coaches, must hope and pray that the message that you passed on to their parents or guardians at the parent meeting.  What I don’t think they understand is that when they feed their children the food they are feeding them, they are hindering the athletic improvement and overall ability of their child.

How can we get truly press the point to them that what their child eats at home, is a major factor in how their child performs in practice and games?

Also, what are some of your thoughts on pre-game meals?

 

Article on Chocolate Milk and its effect on the body after workouts…