Joe Goldman holds both a strong rapport with students and a passion for tennis. He hopes both these ingredients can translate to more success for Valley Regional girls' tennis.
The former four-year E.O. Smith tennis player has also gathered a big popularity among Valley's students as a civics and social studies teacher at the school. Now, Joe moves from the classroom to the court this spring as one of the Warriors' new co-head coaches.
"I was excited about the opening here because I actually thought about coaching high school before teaching and I see a lot of value in helping young kids develop skills to be successful," says Joe, who will coach with fellow faculty member Erin Dayton. "Tennis really forces you to develop patience and consistency and there is no greater feeling than getting into chess-type matchups. It will be different for me to put myself in a situation to give advice to players versus playing myself. It's a neat opportunity."
Joe says his pupils were the most thrilled when he was appointed as a coach and he feels his connection with them will yield victories both between and away from the baselines.
"The students were so excited when they found out and a whole bunch of kids then planned on signing up," Joe says. "It's flattering to go in with that type of relationship with the kids. I think winning a match feels great, but when I played, the most important things for me were the people I met and relationships I developed with good sportsmanship so I will focus on that here. We will have a great record, but also learn about teamwork."
While Joe's Warriors return a strong veteran nucleus, he also anticipates great joy in seeing athletes learn new mechanics as he puts in the long hours to make it happen.
"The most important goal is that they grow not only as tennis players, but also people," says Joe. "For me, it's great to work with them on a skill they struggle with and then watch them grasp it in matches. I will put in as much time toward it as they do and they will have a great experience. This team wants to be successful and we have great returning players so we've got a lot of potential to be excellent."
Valley Athletic Director Jeff Swan says the decision to hire Joe was a no-brainer given what he brings to the athletic and academic arenas.
"He is very enthusiastic and I always look for that, plus he played the sport and knows a lot about the game," says Swan. "Hopefully, he will be within the program for a while and it's always great to hire from within. He is one of our more popular teachers and the kids love him. The girls are excited, too, so it's a win-win for us."
Joe additionally loves the idea of having someone right beside him throughout the campaign as co-coach. He notes it's like having a never-ending brainstorming session.
"Erin and I will work well together because we will have more flexibility in practice to work on skills with players on an individual basis," Joe says. "It presents a lot of opportunities and we will be able to come up with a lot more ideas for the team than either of us could've done individually."
Joe and the Warriors are now ready to get the season going with both parties setting their standards high in the Shoreline Conference.
"They were successful last year and bring back a bunch of seniors so I'm optimistic for this year," says Joe. "I want the bar to be set high and I think the players will set the bar high, as well."