Having been a competitive player for over 33 years and now head coach of the MSJ Boys’ Tennis team, Coach Barry Poole shares some thoughts on his goals for this season. Poole is undoubtedly engaged during practices and even called out to his players, “Let’s go, guys! We’re burning wind here!” as he shared his thoughts with the Smoke Signal.
Smoke Signal: Were you an active tennis player yourself before coming here to coach?
Barry Poole: Yes, I have been involved in tennis competitively since I was eight years old. I played up to my forties and stopped due to some shoulder and back injuries and have been coaching since 1977.
SS: Are you more nervous as a player or as a coach?
BP: I remember John Wooden. You wouldn’t see Wooden sitting down at a game not doing anything. A reporter once asked him this same question. It’s all about the boys execution; by the time of a game, I can’t do anything. They need to ask themselves if they executed everything they needed to execute. It’s really tough to stand on the sidelines and watch and know that they could be handling stuff better. It’s much easier being a player.
SS: What do you enjoy about coaching the team? What is the toughest part?
BP: I’ve always been involved in junior tennis both as a player and coach. In 2000, the boys at the club at Mission Hills won the state in SoCal. My girls almost made it that year. With the boys, it’s all about keeping an eye and making sure you’re adaptable to personalities. You need to learn how to read faces and signs.
SS: What are you goals for this season?
BP: Basically to have these guys be well prepared. I would like to know that my guys feel like I have fully prepared them. It they feel prepared, I did my job. I would like for them to be teachers, problem solvers, etc. The same skills in tennis are the same skills they will need to use in life. That’s my goal—to fill that toolbox.
Written by Stephenie Yuan
Mar 19, 2010 at 04:26 PM