Mr. Scevola’s Path To Becoming a Coach

Mr. Scevola, who is now working as a high school math teacher at Ridgewood, gave us a lot of information regarding the process of becoming a coach. He is coaching wide receivers and linebackers on the freshman football team and also serves as head coach for the JV baseball team.

How did you become a high school coach?

For baseball and football, they are little different stories. For baseball, I was always a baseball guy and I knew I was going to be a teacher, I wanted to coach baseball, so I actually just started showing up to practice. None of the other coaches knew me. I just showed up and I asked if I could help them out and I would volunteer. If you want to be a volunteer coach, you have to take some classes like how to do CPR, or properly evacuate a bus in a matter of minutes. So, I had to do that part of the process. I played baseball in high school and through college not for the Delaware’s Division 1 team. But I’ve been playing on club teams my whole life, still to this day, so I know the game well. I volunteered as a JV coach and after 2 years of being the JV coach, the head coach moved to another school. After this, I just applied for the job. I interviewed and the school gave me the opportunity and I’m hoping that I never give it up. For football, I also volunteered there but I’m not as much as a football guy and I didn’t play that much football. I only played two years in high school and I was actually a soccer player, but I didn’t like soccer.  I’ve been leaning toward football and I was talking with Coach AJ Johnson, he said to come down to practice with the 2016 team when they were freshmen and I helped coach them and then after 2 years. I stopped for a year after this to do more tutoring because I wanted to save up money and then Coach Chuck Johnson actually found me one day in the hallways and asked me to come back and be like an official paid coach. So I thought about it and I thought it’d be fun, so I decided to take it back up again. Coaching with head coach DeRisi, coach Aday, and coach AJ Johnson has been a pleasure. And obviously coach Chuck Johnson really does a good job of teaching exactly how he wants you to coach. He helped me a lot there, and Coach Homen, the baseball coach also influenced me as a coach, with his hands off coaching approach.

What is your Job as a coach?

 My job as a coach is to build the young men and teach them skills aside from just football. For baseball it’s only me with about twenty five guys so I have to figure out how to plan practice, and keep everyone involved. When it’s only one coach with 25 players it’s always fun and challenging to figure out how to manage the games. In baseball I have to make the lineups, and call specific plays such as when to steal or bunt. As for football, I coach certain positions, which is always exciting.

What’s the difference between Varsity JV and freshman team in high school

 There are some similarities but the difference is that JV and freshman is more instructional. You obviously want to win but it’s more about learning how to play the game the right way learning the fundamentals so that when you do go to Varsity, those coaches have a lot to work with. Varsity is like a difference between like a CP class and honors class or an AP class. When you take you take Algebra that’ll be like freshman baseball. You take that in the first place to eventually learn algebra 2, which serves as JV, and then you go to Varsity which is like AP Calculus. You use all the things you learned in Algebra but then just build on that and then the competition is a little better but for the most part we all compete at every level we all want to win and we all have a lot of fun.

Is there any class you have to take to become a coach

In order to, specifically become a coach I did have to go to a class at Bergen Academy and was taught by a veteran female coach. She was pretty successful and it was a Saturday morning class. We were there for a couple hours and she went over some basics like how to interact with players, how to deal with problems, such as a case where if a player does something wrong, what’s the right way to deal with that.  It wasn’t really about the game specifically like strategy, it was more about the qualities of a good coach, such as how to set a good example and how to keep everyone doing the right thing.

Edward Sohn and Thomas Kim
staff writers

Graphic: Sofia Lee

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