Photo by Andy Hilton/recruitNoVA
Coach Anthony Bateman discusses investment in people
by Anthony Bateman, Defensive Coordinator, Bluestone High School
In today’s Coaches Corner, Anthony Bateman gives a glimpse into one aspect of the life of a high school coach, where caring for athletes goes beyond the dividends it can pay on the field. – AH
As I move into year number eight of my high school coaching career, I am starting to reflect on the early years. In that time, I was only a few years removed from playing and not much older than the seniors on the team.
In my first couple of years of coaching, I learned quickly that players and parents aren’t concerned about your X’s and O’s. They are more concerned about whether or not you truly care for their kids and are you willing to invest fully in them as young people.
When I was first promoted as a varsity coordinator, the best player on our offense was a senior wide receiver who wasn’t very big, but he had the heart of Michael Irvin. This young man was poised to have a very productive senior year but late in the summer, his position coach and I noticed that he seemed off his game. He was a little sluggish in practice. In fact, he even missed some practices, which was very rare for him in the years I had coached him.
We decided to sit him down in the office one day and inquire to what was going on. We found out that the pressures of being a teenage father, trying to work enough hours to support his child and help out at home, and of course perform on the practice field were taking its toll.
The young man explained how at times he struggled to find rides to work and often was very tired at practice because he was operating on very little sleep. There was even the added financial stress and occasionally not having the money for the things he or perhaps his child needed. The position coach and I promised to help him with these issues and that we had his back as a support system when needed. You see, we were making an investment for our player that could only pay dividends off the field.
For the rest of that season, the position coach and I gave him rides to work when needed, picked him up for practice, and saw to it he had the money needed to get him through when times were tough. This young man graduated that summer and now has a successful career in the U.S. Army where he is able to provide for his wife and now two children.
To this very day, we talk on social media and he remembers the coaches that invested in him off the field showing him not how much they knew but how much they cared.
– Anthony Bateman