Last month was college nationals on the University of Minnesota Campus near Minneapolis, Mn. That tournament is tough on this coach’s ego. I like to think I can coach this game. But I am only a coach, without super powers. So when I coach against a recruiter and my athlete is over-matched, I have to keep my ego in check. There is nothing a recruiter loves better than having their top athlete pummel the daylights out of one of our kids who is over matched. In the finals I am coaching against one of my own Athletes I coached and they are using all the tricks I taught them. To be fair the coach in the finals was a coach with years of experience and whom I respect. But raising money to recruit is an art form too and one I do not possess. We have to build our athletes but in that process something really cool has happened in my short time at ASU.
1. Two coaches work better than one. 4 Coaches work better than two. We now have that.
2. Our practices have become more organized due to the coaches.
3. The word is out. We have a team! We practice. Our players improve-all of them at every level.
4. Our players are continuing to play and coming back to practices to add the alumni effect for our kids.
5. Even with no money to give, the school at ASU might be the place for someone interested in their major field of study who has the resources and loves racquetball. Each year I get calls and texts from outstanding players. One of these days another one will land here at ASU.
6. And here is an observation I overheard from one of our kids in regards to a student attending another school: “Too bad for them. This athlete will have to spend many years learning what they could have learned in one year here.”
I never thought of that point of view and perhaps it is a bit overstated, but still….!
ASU is not my first College gig. I did coach West Point one year also. It is one of the best things I have ever done. I get a lot out of hanging out with youngsters wide-eyed and eager to learn our great sport. It is energizing. The tournament is very draining mentally and physically but well worth it for the future of our sport.