Many of us have had coaches that have impacted our lives in a meaningful way. Now students have the opportunity to affect tomorrow’s athletes themselves.
“It’s the opportunity to work with young men in a setting where the dynamic is different from one day to the next,” said baseball Head Coach Pat Bloom, also the coordinator of the coaching minor.
While attending the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the early 2000s, Bloom acted as the baseball team’s student assistant coach. Upon graduating, Bloom pursued his graduate degree at Miami University of Ohio before being offered the opportunity to return to Stevens Point to coach in 2004.
“I would absolutely encourage students to coach. I’m an example of a coach who got an opportunity here at UWSP to coach as a student, and I think Division III is a great environment to offer up opportunities to anybody who is a college student and has those pursuits,” said Bloom.
Senior Derek Weyenberg is one such student. Currently, Weyenberg acts as the baseball team’s student assistant coach, the same position that Bloom occupied over a decade ago.
“I work with the catchers each day, working on defensive drills to try to improve and hone their skills. I also work with hitters but focus more on overseeing the bunting and base-running aspect of the offensive game,” said Weyenberg.
Aside from the camaraderie offered by Pointers baseball, Weyenberg explained that seeing athletes improve over time is the most rewarding aspect of coaching.
“I love working with the coaching staff and players. They are all great people, and the team has a family feel to it. That being said, I really enjoy watching players get better over the course of the season,” said Weyenberg.
Bloom shares a similar opinion. “We work with a variety of backgrounds, academic majors and kids that have great ideals and pursuits. We want to help them realize those goals and dreams,” said Bloom.
Despite popular opinion however, coaching is not always fun and games. According to both Weyenberg and Bloom, coaching at any level is a full-time endeavor.
“There’ a huge time commitment involved with coaching, and the hours aren’t the regular nine-to-five that you might get with other jobs,” said Bloom. “It can also be stressful at times because we tend to judge coaches on the overall performance success of their teams.”
“It is a big time commitment,” said Weyenberg. “It is a balancing act for me between school, practice, work camps and now games.”
Despite this however, both maintain that the rewards ultimately outweigh the sacrifices.
“I would recommend for other students to get into coaching as soon as they can,” said Weyenberg. “The insight and knowledge that you can gain is so important.”
Bloom echoed Weyenberg’s sentiment.
“It’s an extremely rewarding profession in that you get to work with and develop young men every day and get to share in the satisfaction that comes from seeing them be successful,” said Bloom.