By Antonio Morales
Coaches have a very profound impact on many young men and women’s lives. The wisdom they impart can last with one of their athletes for a lifetime.
For some children, coaches almost serve as another parental figure in their life as they receive guidance and lessons from their instructor.
The role of coach entails much more than coaching, though. Coaches serve as a role models, teachers, counselors, leaders, disciplinarians and parental figures.
John Singer has been the head basketball coach at Helix High School for nearly the last 30 years and realizes how many roles he plays in the lives of his players.
“It’s all the stuff. You have to be coach, counselor, teacher, father, mother, everything to a high school kid,” Singer said.
Helix High School head basketball coach John Singer describes the ins and outs of his job, the challengers and how much longer he’ll stay on the sidelines.
Connecting with players
In order for most coaches to be successful, they need to connect with players and ride the same wavelength.
But riding that wave is difficult for some coaches to do. Not everyone is able to put their finger on the pulse of their team, but if they do, coaches earn the respect of their athletes.
Tim Sullivan, a columnist for UT-San Diego, has had run-ins with some successful collegiate and professional coaches in his time as a journalist. He’s encountered Hall of Fame football coach Paul Brown and Hall of fame basketball coach Bobby Knight. He’s covered teams coached by Marty Schottenheimer and Steve Fisher on a regular basis, too.
Sullivan said there are a number of ways styles coaches use in order to be successful in communicating with their players.
“Some try to intimidate their players,” Sullivan said. “Some are calculated and make strong impressions. But they all communicate well and don’t allow things to get monogamous. There’s a risk to losing people’s attention. There is some art in it. They have to have a feel for how much (players) can absorb, learn and take in.”
If a coach fails to effectively connect with his or her players then they’re danger of losing their team, which could lead to a coach losing his job.
Many challenges come along with the position.
Coaching takes a lot of time and effort both mentally and physically. The job is a grind and it can eat away at time from with the family. Running a team, whether it be little league, high school, college or professional requires is a heavy burden to carry.
Ryan Schuler, who has covered San Diego State men’s basketball for The Daily Aztec and will be sports editor at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, realizes what the amount of work coaches put into their job.
“Say you have 13 players on a team,” Schuler said. “It’s like you have 13 children you have to watch out for, make sure they’re not getting in trouble, not going to parties and getting arrested or anything, it’s added responsibility on top of family.”
Even when coaches aren’t on the job, they still think about their team at almost all hours of the day.
“You’re always thinking about your team, whether it’s summer, fall, winter,” Singer, of Helix High, said. “It’s always in your head. It’s just that you physically can’t do anything because you’ve got another priority little bit higher at that time.”
More than winning
Damon Chase, who is the athletic director at Helix High School, coaches his son’s little league teams.
It’s not something he planned on doing, but after seeing some subpar coaching, he decided to get involved.
The success of a coach ultimately depends on if he or she wins enough games and they are deemed as a success or failure based on their ability to do so. But the truth is coaches can impact the lives of the people they coach in more ways than by just teaching mechanics.
Chase recognizes this need and tries to make sure he does with his teams.
“I think there’s more to coaching, more to teaching than just winning a little league game,” Chase said. “I think those type of things benefit kids down the road.”
Little league coach Damon Chase gives insight into why he chose to become a little league coach, how it is to coach is sons and what he tries to teach his players.