(Cover photo: Head swim coach for Joe White gives stroke instructions to North Bullitt senior Lexus Atkinson)
Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic is proud to sponsor the weekly “Coach’s Corner”, featuring a high school coach from women’s athletics in the local community. Since 1974 the Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic has served the local area for orthopaedic problems and musculosketal issues. The sports medicine program has team physicians for local high schools which provide sports physicals and urgent care for athletes. Click here for details on SPORTS INJURY URGENT CARE.
This week’s “Coach’s Corner” feature is Joseph White. He is the head swim coach at North Bullitt, Bullitt Central, and Bullitt East High Schools. If there is a coach you’d like to read about, email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) What is your history with athletics in your personal life?
I am an avid sports fan and follow most of the local teams. I participated in baseball as a youth. When I was in high school, I started coaching a tee-ball team with a friend of mine when we were juniors and seniors in high school. I have helped with youth basketball, also. When my daughter started swimming about 12 years ago, I started learning the specifics about the strokes and became a stroke and turn judge for her summer league team several years ago.
2) How did you obtain your current coaching position?
I became the assistant coach last year when the head coach had to take an early leave of absence due to complications with her pregnancy. Thank goodness, everything with the baby worked out. I ended up coaching the teams on my own the entire year and learned a lot. This year, I became the head coach and was able to hire an experienced assistant coach.
3) Who do you look up to?
I look up to many people for many different reasons. First, I look up to my assistant coach because he has more than 30 years of experience as a swimmer and more than 20 years of experience coaching swimming. I also look up to the athletes I coach for the effort that they have to put into their sport to be able to compete.
4) What are two primary goals you had for your team this season?
My first goal of the year was to grow the teams through active recruiting at the local schools, which had not really been done before. This resulted in at least a 30% overall growth of the teams. Another goal was for everyone to improve and be better at the end of the season than they were at the beginning, while having fun along the way. Everyone improved to some extent, the teams had the best showing ever at regionals, and we sent a relay team to the state meet for the first time ever.
5) What is the hardest part of coaching for you?
The hardest part of coaching is the things that coaches have to deal with away from the pool, such as fundraising.
6) What qualities do you hope to instill in your players that they can take with them to their families, careers, and society?
The quality I hope to instill in the young people on my team is to be the best person you can be. I have been very fortunate to coach some wonderful kids, and that makes my job even easier.
7) How do you motivate your best athletes to work even harder?
Motivating my athletes is not that hard because we have a lot of very good competition in our area. The competition is the best motivation, because they all want to win.
8) What is one mistake you’ve made in your coaching career, and what did you learn from it?
One mistake that I made last year was trying to do everything on my own at the meets. This year, I found a great person as an assistant and I named two kids to be captains to help get information to the other swimmers.
9) How do you handle criticism from parents, athletic director, the media, and others?
Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with much criticism. Mostly, what I have had to deal with have been isolated incidents with parents, but I always try to treat each swimmer fairly and according to their skill and ability. Once the parent understands that, things work out fine.
10) What is the greatest philosophy you live by?
When it comes to coaching, I tell my swimmers, “The only person you have to beat is yourself.” As for myself, I just try to be a nice person and treat people the way I want to be treated.