By Joey Lester Posted February 18, 2009
Many students in high school can be glorified for their accomplishments in a given sport; whether it’s being the best quarterback in ten years, the most successful runner of the dynasty or the most outstanding pitcher ever born.
Many overlook the key to all of these players’ success; no one person regardless of how talented they are can become great without the structure and the guidance of a good coach. It seems so much attention is paid to the players that the coaches have been overlooked. It makes one wonder why coaches coach if there are no straightforward benefits.
Don Walton has coached seven years of baseball and in the most recent season of basketball started coaching as a volunteer. Walton also coached in the city leagues and is known as a seasoned coach.
Walton said that on the JV level it’s really just giving kids the chance to participate and to improve their skills so that he can see them make it to the varsity level. When it comes to the varsity level, Walton said, “There is less of an emphasis on just playing the other team. It’s … to get where we want to be as a program.”
It’s not all about the competitive aspect for Walton. He tries to use the fact that each player is a part of the team to teach them things that can be applied to real life. “We’re not individuals out there [in life], we’re parts of teams whether it’s in our families or our work atmospheres where everyone has a certain thing that they have to do.”
He also tries to teach how much work it takes to be a part of that team. “Much like if you’re in a work environment if you don’t get to your job on time or you don’t do what you’re expected to then you won’t get paid, that’s the reality of it.” Walton also said, “At the high school level… part of being part of a team is keeping your grades up, and if they don’t do that then you don’t get to participate, that certainly folds into later life.”
Ron Beck, like Walton, has been coaching for a fair amount of time. He has coached 19 years of football and coached baseball for several years.
“I view sports as an extension of the classroom; like in the classroom, in sports, you’re taught new concepts,” said Beck. “You teach it, you drill at it, and you practice at it.”
Coaching brings certain emotions to Beck who said, “Seeing the development and the progress of the athletes over time…can be rewarding,” The most satisfying aspect came later when Beck finished, “When you see all the hard work pay off that’s the reward I get out of it.”
Whether it’s teaching concepts that can be applied to real-life or the joy their players bring to them, it seems that most coaches do it to see their players improve. This is what makes the coaching all worthwhile.