ENC athletics takes pride in developing good players both on the field and off. The interactions between player and coach best exemplify the value they have on a given team, and with 12 sports programs and 12 head coaches, their focus is on creating exemplary people rather than athletes.
The average career span of a collegiate coach is three-and-a-half years. Coach Sacha Santimano is in her fourth year as the ENC women’s basketball team head coach, successfully coaching her team to a 5-4 record so far this season, which is the third highest winning percentage in the Coastal Commonwealth Conference this year. She, like many other ENC coaches, enjoys the player development process.
“The most appealing part of coaching is seeing my players grow as individuals,” said Santimano.
In a way, coaches are like an extension of one’s parents that serve only to make that player better. One of the ways Coach Santimano makes her team better is her energy levels during practice. She is significantly more energetic in practice as compared to games. She stated that she does not have to be as loud in a game because the team should have practiced well enough to not need her barking orders from the sidelines.
One thing that needs work among coaches on the professional level is the balance between being demonstrative and trusting the team. Santimano is able to find the balance between being demonstrative and trusting her team through her coaching, which has led her and the Lady Lions to the kind of success they have achieved over her tenure.
No two coaches are the same, even if they coach the same game at the same school. Take into consideration the men’s basketball coach Jim Aller. He has won over 60% of his games over the past three seasons, and currently has his team in poll position in the conference with a 9-0 record. Coach Aller believes that the most important kind of communication that occurs on a basketball court is not between player and coach, but simply between players. He continues to motivate his players on defense by emphasizing communication.
“The more vocal we are as a team, the more effective we will be on the floor,” he explained.
Aller could not be more right as ENC boasts one of the strongest defenses in the conference. Player communication promotes player movement, as the more you talk, the more involved you are in the game. Good defense combined with an efficient offense can make the job of a coach very easy. Despite their success, however, Coach Aller continues to look for ways to get better, whether it be shaking up the lineup, or ramping up his volume during the course of the game. Over the course of the year, he has used three different starting lineups. It’s his influence that drives the players to compete at the highest level possible, as is evidenced by their perfect record so far this season.
With the success on the court, what happens on the baseball diamond tends to be overlooked. Baseball coach Addison Rouse led the men’s baseball team to become one of the top teams in the conference. They’ve ranked in the top two teams in overall hitting, pitching, and fielding. “One thing that helps on this team is that all the great players are coachable,” said Rouse.
The ability to be coached is something that can be overlooked when watching a game as a fan. We often assume that players listen to the coach no matter what. What isn’t true is that all players receive their coaching in the same way. Coaches must tailor their approaches to be appropriate for the individual player. Some players need the coach to yell in their ear to motivate them, while others remain self-motivated by success. In a locker room setting, it can be very difficult to handle all of those needs and still listen to the commanding voice of a head coach. For a coach, juggling these different needs and motivations can be one of the toughest challenges he or she faces. Luckily for Coach Rouse, he has a team full of leaders, with 12 current players playing longer than he’s been coaching.
Rouse said, “It helps having guys that have been around and can let me know how guys are feeling on a daily basis.” This kind of relationship between players and coaches is what gets a team through the rough parts of the season, and it certainly helped the baseball team snap four different three-game losing streaks over the course of last season. In all of the games in which they broke their losing streak, they beat the opponent by a combined score of 28-6.
The communication between player and coach makes up the identity that a team seems to take on. If you are willing to collaborate with your coach, playing makes the game a lot easier. With many different coaching styles, coaches create a lasting effect in his or her players. Post-graduate athletes continue to return to ENC to visit their coaches, a sign that the leadership here is highly regarded.