Student Voice

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Opinion

Coaches are crucial to success

November 16, 2006

Writing sports columns for the Student Voice week after week is not always an easy task. In fact, this week I probably had the most trouble coming up with a topic. I must have sat around contemplating ideas for hours before I finally decided on one.

I always want to try to stay local to River Falls and write something that can be interesting to everyone. That criteria remains the same every single week.

This week, my column idea just came to me while I was sitting in class and maybe daydreaming.

Obviously, the athletes play a huge role in the successes and failures of a given team.

But the players who are on the ice, field or court during each game day are not the only ones impacting a team. On any given team, there is at least one other person ready to influence the team.

These people are members of the coaching staff.

Already this winter sports season, two of our head coaches have reached historic milestones in their coaching career.

During the opening weekend of the men’s hockey season, head coach Steve Freeman and his coaching partner Bob Ritzer picked up their 200th win. The coaching duo reached the impressive landmark upon entering their 11th season with the Falcons.

Over the past weekend, head women’s hockey coach Joe Cranston picked up his 100th career win with a victory over Bethel College. Cranston pulled off that impressive feat in only his seventh year as Falcon head coach.

How impressive it is to see the hockey coaches reach such magnificent milestones in the span of less than a month.

While most coaches give credit first and foremost to their athletes, I think the athletes need to give credit to their coaches. Coaches, like the players, need to receive kudos from those around them. While the players are the ones on the playing surface, the coaches are the ones who get them in the proper formation and design the plays that lead them.

While Princeton defines coach as someone in charge of training an athlete or team.

Aside from coaching the team, they are role models for the athletes. Most coaches have extensive knowledge of the game and have played at many different levels. Their knowledge and love of the game is something that their athletes can be inspired by.

But coaches don’t just have to be role models during game times and practice situations. Many athletes and coaches have friendships outside the sports realm and become lifelong friends. And a number of athletes will eventually follow in the footsteps of their coaches and become coaches.

Although I haven’t played organized sports in a long time, I still remember the impact my coaches had on me. In my younger days, coaches taught me determination, a love for the game and how to not give up. I wasn’t the best basketball player growing up, but I had a lot of heart. Coaches would tell me that sometimes a lot of heart is all that is needed. It’s not always the players with the most skill who make the biggest impact — it’s the heart too. Good coaches know that and have the ability to bring out the skill and work with the athletes who have heart. They also know how to put them in the situations that work best.

While coaches would be nothing without their athletes, athletes in turn would be nothing without their coaches.

Sarah Packingham is a former member of the Student Voice staff.

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