Q&A with Stratford’s First-Year Coaches
Stratford is home to over 30 coaches in many different sports, from track to swimming, football to tennis, volleyball to soccer, and many more. Every year, the roster of coaches changes slightly, with some coaches retiring or leaving, and with new ones arriving. We interviewed three of Stratford’s new coaches this year about their expectations, their experience, and their coaching philosophies.
Coach Crystal Fain, Junior Varsity Tennis Coach
Q. Why did you decide to be a tennis coach, and did anyone inspire you?
A. I love working with high school students and tennis, so it was a natural choice for me. My personal coach in high school really believed in me and took my game to a whole new level. I still talk to her, and she made me want to be that person for the next generation of tennis players.
Q. What is it like being a new coach at SHS?
A. It is awesome! I love our players and am so blessed to have such an awesome support system. Coach Courson has been incredibly encouraging, and our parents are so supportive.
Q. How do you motivate your players?
A. My strategy to motivate players is to be encouraging but real at the same time. I am a “to the point” kind of coach who doesn’t beat around the bush. I hope my players appreciate that!
Q. What is your favorite part of coaching tennis?
A. The team’s camaraderie during competition!
Q. What valuable lessons do you want your players to learn from this sport?
A. Mental toughness is half the battle in tennis. You are the only one that makes yourself win or lose. I hope to show my players that this applies to everything in life. You control your future. Don’t let anyone get in the way!
Coach Matt Boane, Inside Linebacker Coach (football)
Q: With this being your first year at Stratford, how do you plan on gaining players’ trust and developing good relationships with them?
A: I try to lead by example. I never ask my players to do something I wouldn’t do or haven’t tried in the past. I consider myself to be a “players’ coach” which means I look out for their best interests in the classroom, on the field, and in the community.
Q: What characteristics do you like to see in your players?
A: Good students, model citizens, dedicated players.
Q: What made you want to get in to coaching?
A: Coaching gives me the opportunity to impact the student athletes in a positive way beyond the classroom. Plus, I’m a sports nut.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Working with the student athletes in my role as teacher, coach, counselor and dad on a daily basis. Then watching them go on to bigger and better things.
Q: What drew you towards Stratford and made you want to come coach here?
A: The culture of excellence definitely drew me to Stratford.
Q: What is the most crucial advice you could give to any player having a great season?
A: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
Coach Mark Wallace, Varsity Boys Soccer Head Coach
Q: What brought you to Stratford to coach soccer?
A: I have been an assistant coach for the last five years and I wanted to be a head coach. I was very selective about where I wanted to go and when the job opened up here I went for it.
Q: What is your background in soccer?
A: I have been playing since I was 5. I started playing club soccer at 10, this brought me to Carrollton where I went to state in soccer my senior year. I played Division I soccer at Bradley University, while I also coached a club team.
Q:What are your goals for the team this year?
A: The biggest goal for the entire program is to get everyone to buy into what we are doing and to build on the success that Stratford has done in the past.
Q: How do you get your players ready for the season?
A: We do a lot of basics in our practices. This is the foundation for the game so we really try to focus on the simple things. And fitness.
Q: What has your experience been at Stratford so far?
A: I love it here. Everyone has been so welcoming. The kids are great and the atmosphere is awesome.
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