Article by: Abhi Kottamasu
Photograph by: Jinny Park
Coaches are unequivocally the most important members of a sports team. They guide athletes through difficulties, drive them to victory, teach them new skills and push them to their limits.
Steven Dodd, coach of the ISM girls touch rugby team, physical education, as well as the National Women’s Elite Touch Rugby team, was kind enough to share his coaching experience with BT. When asked about his feelings about coaching, he shared, “I love coaching. I love working with athletes who are focused on improving no matter what their starting point”. He mentioned that “There are two things that I take real pride in in relation to IASAS sport here at ISM; seeing an athlete gain a four year award at the IASAS ceremony but more than that, seeing an athlete who played JV for a year or two play at IASAS on the varsity team. That’s important to the school and everyone who wants to play at the highest level”. Mr. Dodd believes that the duties of a coach are not to produce elite athletes, but rather to ensure players enjoy what they do and help them reach or surpass their own potential.
However, he also believes there is a difference between coaching at ISM, and coaching at a national level. The difference is that PE lessons are meant to encourage students to find a love for sport and lead a healthy and enriched life. Whereas national team training is much more intense as the element of fun is not included in the agenda as the team’s success depends solely on the results. He also noted that the coach’s expectations are much greater at a national level in terms of preparation and focus as each member is pushed to maintain her status as one of the best athletes in the nation.
Dodd remarks that in a hypothetical situation if he were to coach as intensely during PE as he does in National Team training he would do a disservice to 95% of the students whom he loves working with. He quotes, “It would be obsolete, unimportant and an utter disgrace”. It is difficult to imagine how tough Dodd and his co-coaches train the national team as the girls IASAS touch team claims that touch season is the most enervating yet rewarding time of the year.
Coaches are an integral part of any sport, and it would be difficult to imagine where our teams would fare in IASAS without them. Thus, for their guidance and endless support our we are forever grateful.