What Matters Most

What Matters Most

Houston Athletics, Writer

Coaching milestones are a testament to several factors: talent, patience, personal sacrifice, the ability to communicate, gifted players and an understanding of your chosen sport.

In it’s purest form, that is what separates those who give up and those who give back.

This is what makes the achievement of Becky Pendleton’s 500th career win as Our volleyball coach last week at the State Finals so precious.

Not that she has 10 consecutive trips to the State tournament, a record for Houston volleyball. Not that she is the winningest public school volleyball coach in West Tennessee during her tenure. Not that she has sent more players to play in college than any other coach in West Tennessee during that time or that she has originated and raised thousands of dollars for St. Jude at her annual fundraiser…The totality of what she does helps make Houston High School a special place.

Winning is very, very difficult and it is important, but it is not the end sum to athletics at Houston High School…and never will be.

The nature of coaching has evolved over the last 20 years.

It used to be: show up, coach and when the game is over…the job was over. If you were fortunate enough to have better players, more often than not, you won.

It was a 9 to 5 job that involved very little understanding of the emotional make up or motivations of players or their parents.

The modern evolution of that position is much more complicated.

Surrogate parent, college counselor, marketing director, accountant, fundraiser, and student of the sport you coach are some of the requirements of the successful coach of today.

The degree of difficulty increases when the coach must also balance classroom responsibilities with his or her own family and the responsibilities therein. These are just some of the reasons which support a current national education statistic stating: Coaches beginning in the year 2009 average less than 5 years of service before stopping.

We are fortunate to have dozens of college coaches and recruiters on Our campus throughout the year. They consistently tell us the most glaring difference from the past is parents with agendas, personal attacks, and the accusation of personal bias affecting scholarship opportunities…these are the claims every successful coach much endure.

Maintaining a positive outlook and a singular focus on what matters most, allows a coach to separate the callous, selfish and immature behavior that accompanies parents with a loss of perspective, while now being an essential part of the profession.

Ultimately, helping students athletes and parents understand individual sacrifice is a necessary part of the championship process is what cultivates success of the court.

Helping to cultivate commitment, character, conviction and attitude allow Our coaches to achieve as a team at the highest level.

Because at it’s essence, one of the most important jobs is to create a sense of purpose and mold individuals into a collective body driven to succeed on the floor.

All of Us at Houston applaud Coach Pendleton for her accomplishment and all the great work she does for our girls.