Jan 20, 2020 playlist

  1. Dance Money — Tones and I (Ben)
  2. Badlands — Bruce Springsteen (Aidan — Can’t go wrong with Bruce Springsteen, great lyrics and upbeat feel, can’t help but want to dance )
  3. Leave it for Tomorrow – Rudimental feat Elli Ingram (Rajul — loves the jazzy lyrics)
  4. Landslide – Dixie Chicks (recommended by Coach Lance — Oldie, but love this version of a classic Fleetwood Mac song.)
  5. If Not For You – George Harrison (Matt)
  6. The River – Bruce Springsteen (Jack Fl)
  7. Wichita Lineman (live) – Little Big Town (Coach – I love the 4 part harmony and amazing vocals)
  8. Morning as Broken – Cat Stevens (Matt)
  9. Dear Today – Luke Combs (Dan — wanted to add some country to the mix)
  10. Cold Cold Cold – Cage the Elephant (Bear)

Things you don’t learn in coaching school

Misleading title. There is no real “coaching school” except experience and mentorship.

WHAM BAM SLAM! Balls are flying everywhere! My player can’t seem to find the court. His shots aren’t hit in rhythm but rather out of frustration. Shots that normally go in are hitting the back of the bubble or landing way out.

Frustration is mounting and his angst is growing with each passing game. WHAM another shot hits the bubble. A very winnable match is slowly slipping away.

On the 90 second change over I sit down and try to find out what is wrong. My player takes a deep breath, looks me in the eye, and says “coach I think my girlfriend is pregnant — what should I do”.

I’ve been asked a lot of questions during change overs but nothing like this! And it’s not fair to only have a few seconds to talk about it! These are conversations you have with your own children and hopefully without a stopwatch clicking down the seconds! Honestly I’m not exactly sure what I said..probably something like slow down, lets get through this match and then we will talk about it and your options.

And after the match we did have a long talk. And an even longer talk on the van ride back home.

Note – she ended up not being pregnant


Silly NCAA Tennis Rule

*Disclaimer this is my personal space and doesn’t reflect the views, values, or beliefs of any college or colleague.

Here is another fun NCAA rule that just went into effect. There was a question if current student-athletes could be a coach during a tennis match. Note at the moment this is only a D1 rule and doesn’t apply to D2 or D3 (at least not yet)

1.  Rule I.N.3 “Who May Coach”  Specifically – Designating players as coaches.  NCAA has determined that this is in violation of NCAA By-Laws. 

NCAA Interpretation: Yes, staff agrees with the conference analysis that an individual may not assume the rolesof student-athlete and student assistant coach concurrently, therefore a student athlete may not bedesignated as a coach.

11.01.5 Coach, Student Assistant.[A] . A student assistant coach is any coach who is a student-athlete who has exhausted his or her eligibility in the sport or has become injured to the point that he or she is unable to practice or compete ever again, and who meets the following additional criteria: (Revised: 1/9/96, 1/12/04 effective 8/1/04, 3/10/04, 5/26/06, 8/11/09, 4/29/10 effective 8/1/10, 8/7/14, 1/15/16 effective 8/1/16)

  1. Is enrolled at the institution at which he or she most recently participated in intercollegiate athletics;
  2. Is enrolled as a full-time graduate student within his or her five-year period of eligibility (see Bylaw 12.8) or is enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in his or her first baccalaureate degree program, except that during his or her final semester or quarter of the degree program, he or she may be enrolled in less than a full- time degree program of studies, provided he or she is carrying (for credit) the courses necessary to complete the degree requirements;
  3. Is receiving no compensation or remuneration for coaching duties from the institution other than the finan- cial aid that could be received as a student-athlete and expenses incurred on road trips that are received by individual team members; and
  4. evaluating prospective student-athletes off campus or scouting opponents campus and does not perform recruiting coordination functions (see Bylaw 11.7.2)

Funny thing about this bylaw is that student-athletes are allowed to act as coaches in “team sports”. For example in baseball/softball student-athletes can be the 3rd base coach. However the NCAA considers tennis an individual sport and it now as ruled that student-athletes can’t coach.

I think this is a bad rule. In tennis there are six matches going on at once. It simply isn’t possible for a single coach to be on all six courts at once. Further some facilities are split and it may not be possible to be in the same building as some of the student-athletes.

One thing I like doing is putting student-athletes on court to coach. By acting as coaches they are contributing to the team, they learn about the game, and it helps them become better players and more receptive to coaching when they are playing.

Also in D3 it is rare to have a full compliment of three coaches. Most often it is a single coach or if a team is lucky maybe an assistant coach. I don’t see anything wrong with having a player act as a coach.

Additionally at the NCAA D1 level this is going to create a situation where major programs will gain a significant competitive advantage. Not a lot of teams are able to travel with a head coach, assistant coach and a volunteer coach.

NCAA bad rule

Silly NCAA

*Disclaimer this is my personal space and doesn’t reflect the views, values, or beliefs of any college or colleague.

The NCAA is full of silly rules and regulations. After nearly 30 years of coaching I tend to be pretty cynical about the NCAA. After all this is a huge organization that generates billions of dollars of revenue . Coaches in big time programs get coaching contracts in the millions/year. Universities are spending outrageous sums of money on athletic facilities. All this revenue is generated by student-athletes who can’t earn money outside their scholarships (this is slowly changing thanks to the law recently passed by California). It seems the NCAA has fought tooth-and-nail to keep student benefits low while allowing universities/coaches to reap the reward from their work.

Here is my new “favorite” NCAA regulation. The NCAA is now looking at prohibiting institutions from providing snacks to student-athletes.

Student-athletes are incredibly busy and have to be really adept at time management. For example student-athletes in sciences might have afternoon labs that run 1-4. After lab they hustle to the training room for treatment, practice for two (or more hours), followed by conditioning/weight training, cool down, shower, and change. It can be 8pm before a student-athlete can even think about dinner.

That is a LONG time between meals and a lot calories burned. To help student-athletes get through these long days, coaches would/could bring snacks (trailmix, apples, bananas, bagels etc) to practice. Grabbing a banana before hitting the court is often the difference between making it through practice/conditioning or crashing and burning.

Crazy thing is if a non-athlete gets an apple from a professor during a long class it is ok. But as soon as an student-athlete takes an apple from a coach it is a violation.

Not sure where the NCAA is trying to go with this legislation. Clearly they aren’t thinking about the welfare of the student-athletes.

Value of a Liberal Arts Education

Very interesting study looking at wages for Liberal Arts graduates. In the short time (10 years) the Return on Investment (ROI) for liberal arts degree is lower than other colleges. However in the long run the ROI for liberal arts degree is a whopping 25% higher than other colleges.

Glad to see a study like this! A Liberal Education is so important and valuable. Not everything should be about a starting salary.

Link to article here

Joshua Tree

Started the new year off with a trip to Southern CA. Part work related and part personal time. First couple days was attending the Donovan Tennis Showcase at the beautiful CMS/Pomona campuses. Each time I’m at the CMS facility it makes proud to think that a D3 program could have such an amazing facility. And just a tad bit jealous! Don’t get me wrong I love the Whitman tennis facilities – they are beautiful, have indoor and outdoor courts and located in the center of a campus. But the CMS courts are amazing!

Along the way I got to spend some time with the new CMS AD and good friend Erica Perkins Jasper. Funny I have known Erica since she was a young firstyear playing at WSU – she used to come visit Whitman and practice in our facilities!

Also spend a day with Whitman Parent Tom Carter learning the finer points of sour dough bread. Tom got me hooked on making sourdough, but I just don’t have the feel for it yet. But after a day with Tom I feel much better about my skills.

The highlight of the trip was spending three days in Joshua Tree. I’ve always enjoyed Joshua Tree and if the team has a day off during spring break I always try to take the team into the Park. I find it stunning the differences between the Washington and Southern CA coast lines. The Olympic National Forest and Joshua Tree couldn’t be more different! But both are completely awesome!

Originally I was planning on camping in Joshua Tree Park. However this type of camping is never my favorite. Typically the camp spots are cramped together with little or no privacy. Last year I was camping in Key West, FL and on one side had a wonderful group of college students that I ended up hanging out for a couple nights but the other side was a van with some serious domestic issues (without going into details I was worried for my safety as well as theirs).

airbnb tentAt the last minute I decided to check AirBnb for spots in Joshua Tree and ran across this little gem. It was actually cheaper than camping in the Park and I had complete solitude for entire stay. I’m posting because this is a pretty cool listing. Plus it is only a few minutes outside the town of Joshua Tree and close to the park entrance. If you want solitude this is the place! Note you are near a house is being remodeled but the owners completely respected my privacy. Also nice to know that I could leave my gear in the tent when I ran into town. Note this place has no running water or a toilet (they do have a bucket if needed). Electricity is from a Goal Zero Yeti 400 and solar panel. Just enough to keep the computer powered up and lights for the evening. Place also had a sweet hammock and fire pit. Lastly the place has strong cell coverage — which could be a positive or negative depending on your wants. Honestly for me it was perfect. Lots of quite time to think about the upcoming year, read and do some writing.

Since the tent spot is only a few minutes from the town of Joshua Tree I was able to spend afternoon and evenings exploring this quirky fun little desert town. Bonus I was able to have dinner with CMS tennis alumn Joe Dorn who is living in Joshua Tree! We had a great evening at Pie for the People swamping stories and talking teams, tennis and life! Made me regret not getting to know Joe better when he was a CMS player — I think we played against him 3-4 times (Including a trip they made to Walla Walla).

Article about the mess of admissions.

I found this article to be very interesting and very thought provoking. Admissions is certainly interesting and by no means is it fair.

Article from Vox — from a former Dean of Admission

This article really made me think about Early Decision. Does it help with admission — absolutely. Does it help a coach with roster management — absolutely. Does it help the institution — absolutely. Does it help disadvantaged students — nope.

Also very telling that the first three issues pointed out all deal with wealth.

Recruiting Timeline

Junior year

Start researching colleges and programs – think about visiting campus you are interested in.

  •  Jan 1  – Official visits can start Jan 1 of Junior year. Unofficial visits can be taken anytime (just like another other potential student)

Senior Year

Work with coaches to know roster availability and team spots. Good ideal to stay in touch with coach through senior year.

  • July 1 – Nov 1 Early Reads available. Important to get these done BEFORE getting too deep into the recruiting cycle. Work with coach to get these submitted.
    • Only requires a transcript, test scores (FYI Whitman is test option), and 7th semester courses
  • Oct 1 Financial Reads are available. Whitman is one of the few schools (maybe only) that will do an early read for financial aid. This an accurate estimate about how much money in scholarships and financial aid you may receive from Whitman. Link for more information
  • Admission Deadlines
    • Nov 15 – Early Decision 1
    • Jan 1 – Early Decision 2
    • Jan 15 – Regular Decision
    • Important! Financial Aid deadlines are at the same time. Whitman requires: FAFSA and CSS profile
  • Notification Dates
    • ED1 Mid December
    • ED 2 Late January
    • Regular Early March
  • Reply Dates (ie decision time)
    • ED 1 Jan 15
    • ED 2 Feb 15
    • Regular May 1

  • Note this list is specific to Whitman College and D3 athletics

The Yellow Jersey

We start each week off with the “Yellow Jersey”. During warm-up I walk around and ask each player who inspired them the past week.

There is no right or wrong answer. There is no criteria for the yellow jersey — simply who was inspired you the previous week. It could be based on anything — practice, match play, academic success, conditioning, being a good teammate, overcoming person struggles, achieving something special, etc.

At the end of warm-up we meet at the center of the courts to discuss practice plans. Before going into practice details I announce the Yellow Jersey nominations. I announce everyone who received nominations and how many nominations they received. I then announce who received the most number of nominations (ties are allowed) and then those that nominated the winner explain why they voted for the winner.

The winner gets a yellow practice jersey that they are to wear to practice all week. They are the leaders for the week. This isn’t a coach award but rather an award given by the entire team (coaches aren’t allowed to vote). When people walk by the courts and ask why one person has a yellow practice jersey they are told that person is our leader for the week. I also try to update our social media pages with their image.

I have seen profound and immediate impact on players getting the yellow jersey. It is not the fact that they get a yellow jersey, or that their image will grace our social media pages. Rather the impact comes when their teammates tell them why they are such an inspiration. I’ve seen young men come to tears as their teammates tell them why they are such a special person. I’ve seen entire individual seasons turn around when a young man understands that their actions have an impact on others. I’ve seen struggling players go to cloud 9 for getting the jersey.

Colton with the yellow jersey

My favorite story comes from Colton. Colton was (and still is) an amazing young man and a nature leader. Colton entered as a first year on a very deep and talented team where he didn’t make the starting lineup. It bothered Colton to no end that he wasn’t on the traveling team. He because so driven by not being in the starting line-up that he worked his tail off the summer before his sophomore year. He used that hard work to not only make the starting team, but become our #1 player for the next THREE years! He earned multiple All-American honors, played in several NCAA championships and became the only male tennis players in the history of the Northwest Conference to become a three time conference MVP!

When Colton was working on his medical school applications he had a lot to write about. He was an outstanding student, he was an economics major applying to medical school (most premed students tend to be science majors), he was an All-American athlete … but what Colton wrote about was receiving the yellow jersey from his teammates. He thought the yellow jersey was the ultimate award — that his peers would recognize him as the weekly leader. Note Colton won the yellow jersey a lot! In fact because of Colton I created the rule that someone couldn’t win the yellow jersey two weeks in a row. Otherwise I’m sure Colton would of had an entire draw full of jerseys.

In doing this award week-in-and-week-out I’ve learned what a difference it can make to have others tell you, in front of your peers, why you are a special person, why you were an inspiration to them, and why they are the team leader. I see the power of this positive face-to-face interaction each week. I’ve seen players lower on the team roster become emotional when teammates acknowledge their hardwork and leadership. I’ve seen student-athletes recognized for their classroom accomplishments. I’ve seen players elevated by other because of their extra work around campus. Its very cool and often awe inspiring.

Funny thing is I don’t do anything but ask the question and tabulate the results. It is their actions that develop and define leadership.

FYI the jerseys are very basic yellow jerseys from amazon. I order a large pack at the beginning of the season and give a new one out each week.