By Alex Twoy
Different coaching styles can affect the way athletes perform, as shown by the different approaches taken by Denali’s men’s and women’s soccer teams.
Coach Peter Ellerkamp said that he likes a committed, structured and organized team. “Discipline is my No. 1 coaching method,” he said. “I’ve told you this before, and I’ll tell it again: When motivation fails, let discipline take over. And I value a team that is structured and rigid and has a plan, and so what I like to do is make sure every player is at every single practice putting in 100 percent effort because you can’t just have players show up occasionally; you have to have commitment; you have to have discipline if you want to be the best.”
Coach Ellerkamp follows an organized style when he coaches a sports team. “I think it allows players to understand exactly what’s going to happen every single day because we have a set schedule and that level of predictability allows athletes to maximize training at every opportunity ‘cause they know exactly what is coming and exactly what they need to do to prepare,” he said.
Nico Suppiah, one of the captains of the men’s soccer team, explained Coach Ellerkamp’s coaching style. “He just wanted us to play as a team, and … just work together,” Suppiah said. “Ellerkamp’s style is a very – he follows a very important way of teamwork ‘cause when you’re playing as a team … it’s not, of course, an individual sport, it’s a team sport. Coach Ellerkamp gave us a lot of good drills … to help us work as a team.”
When talking about the men’s soccer team’s motivation, Suppiah felt like he and his teammates felt under pressure on the field. “Of course motivation has a positive impact on the team,” he said. “The problem was we couldn’t carry it out onto the field.” Coach Ellerkamp agrees with Suppiah’s statement about the motivation the team had. “I think the team had a positive culture off the field,” Coach Ellerkamp said. “We were pretty bought in during lunch meetings or right before games and so the belief that we could be a strong team was there; we just didn’t execute during games.”
One of the challenges of being a coach is that some athletes are not committed to the sport. “I think one of the things that Summit Denali struggles with from the student-athlete perspective is commitment,” Coach Ellerkamp said. “I was a college athlete; I was a state champion in high school, and showing up to practice wasn’t optional. If you missed one practice and you didn’t have a valid excuse, you’d be kicked off the team, and the level of commitment that I saw this year on the soccer team was not the level of commitment that you expect as a high-level coach on a varsity team.”
When coaches motivate their team, the athletes feel the positive impact the motivation has. Serena Munoz, captain of the women’s soccer team, explained how women’s soccer coach Justin Sewell, motivated the girls during the season. “He was just very interactive with us,” she said. “He made sure that all our work was done in order for us to be a student athlete.”
Coach Sewell’s coaching style, however, was different from Coach Ellerkamp’s style. “He’s not pressuring us or forcing us to do something we don’t want to do,” Munoz explained, “so he’s pretty laid back and lets us do what we have to do, and we know that what we have to improve on to get better.”
Munoz felt like she and her teammates grew as young women under Coach Sewell’s coaching style during the soccer season. She explained a huge takeaway from the season: “Seeing us grow from the years before and winning some games, which are pretty exciting.”
Coaching really has a huge impact on the way athletes perform. It had a positive impact for the men’s soccer team because they had a positive culture off the field. The young women on the women’s soccer team also felt motivated when Coach Sewell was interactive with the team and made sure every athlete could play by ensuring the team had no incompletes.
See below for a video about how coaching affects athletes: