No matter what level or age group a player is in, the head coach is always the alpha amongst the pack. Coaches control every move, every play and every discussion of the team; they hold all power.
The head coach is placed on a pedestal for players to look up to. This is evident in the way players practice their particular way of performing certain drills and how kids “butter up” for playing time by cleaning the field or leading stretches.
“Our coaches are like catalysts that help increase the rate of improvement,” varsity tennis player Manvir Dhaliwal, a Junior, said. “Without a coach, you don’t receive the guidance or instruction to get better.”
A coach not only has a significant impact on the physical abilities of a team, but also influences the team morale and mindset. If a coach is hopeful and determined, a team is more likely to be motivated to work hard during practice. If a coach does not show up to his or her own practices or allows the players to slack off, the players’ mindsets would become pessimistic. Players reflect their coaches’ attitude.
“My coach provides us with the motivation to be successful,” varsity tennis player Joseph Manivong, a junior, said.
When an organization experiences a change in leadership, employees may experience loss of control, job insecurity and decreased individual self-esteem and well being. Similarly, when head coaches change, the student athletes, much like corporate employees, may feel the stress due to discomfort. Some stress-causing experiences can be a change in possible leadership style, routine, environment and self-efficiency. Part of the stress student-athletes experience is a result of the relationship, good or bad, with the coach who recruited them to the program. Employees who have a positive relationship with leader a who leaves the organization often experience feelings of psychological loss and withdraw.
After leaving his three year run with Bear Creek as varsity head coach, Pete Pijl moved his passion for baseball to Lincoln High School, leaving his players feeling speechless.
“The longtime varsity coach has been hired to coach the Trojans, beginning with the upcoming 2019 season,” Record Staff Writer Scott Linesburg said. “Lincoln athletic director Brian Gray confirmed the move.”
Pete Pijl, 67, is a baseball coach and owner of Payter’s Grill in Stockton, California. Following a 30-year coaching run, Pijl resigned from Saint Mary’s High School and moved to the head coach position on the varsity baseball program at Bear Creek.
While on his three-year stint with the Bruins, Pijl and his team won three SJAA League Championships and ended with a 62-26-1 record.
Spontaneously during fall season of 2018, Pijl and his fellow three Bear Creek coaches — Peter Gallegos, Mike Patterson, and Jason Knight — took up coaching positions at Lincoln High School.
The main reason he accepted the position at Lincoln was his desire to return to the Tri-City Athletic League, where he led St. Mary’s varsity program. TCAL is one division higher than Bear Creek sports, making it more competitive and more exposed to higher level teams.
“I’m happy to be in the TCAL; the potential at Lincoln is outstanding,” Pijl said. “It’s a chance to play top competition. And it’s a good fit. It’s the only other place I think I would go other than Bear Creek.”
Pijl’s move provided opportunities for varsity players to take positions as leaders of the program.
“It’s a new starting point for us,” varsity infielder Zolin Duron, a junior, said. “It was super all of a sudden with no notice. But I am happy he did it at this time because it gives the varsity captains a chance to really lead the team.”
The Bruins are now led by head coach Kevin Standart, a former JV Coach at Saint Mary’s. On December 3rd, the players finally met their new coaching staff.
“I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t fully committed,” Standart said. “I am super excited to be able to guide you all. You are all talented young players, and I know Pijl is very proud of you.”
Standart and the Bruins hope to lead another successful season this spring by winning a league championship at the least. Their ultimate goal, however, is to achieve what they have not done in the 27 years of the baseball program: a section title.