Student athletes often grow as players with the support of their parents at games cheering them on from the sidelines, but there are athletes that have progressed as players with the guidance of their parents as their coaches. According to athletes at Bonita Vista High School, having a parent coach is a way to further bond and improve as a player.
“We spent a lot of hours traveling together and practicing. We had some good moments, and some not so good. Even though we are practicing, we still can’t take away the fact that they are my daughters and I’m their dad,” father of junior Brittney and senior Brianna Mendoza and assistant coach of the varsity softball team Javier Mendoza said.
Mendoza has coached both his daughters since he first signed them up for softball in 2007. He has coached them through recreational ball as well as on travel ball teams. This includes San Diego Elite, Power Surge and currently, So Cal Athletics.
Both Brianna and Brittney Mendoza have been on the varsity team since their freshman year and are now committed to play softball in college. Brianna Mendoza is signed to Thomas University and Brittney is committed to the University of Delaware. According to J. Mendoza, it is tough to this day to differentiate whether he is talking to his daughters as a coach or as a dad.
“When I’m talking to them as a coach, they sometimes see it coming from a dad. You have to put things into perspective so that they understand that it’s a coach who’s talking to them and not a father. I tried to differentiate the two so the messages would not be mixed and so it’d be a clear understanding of who’s giving them the direction,” J. Mendoza said.
According to Brittney Mendoza, she has pushed herself harder than anyone one else. She did not want others to think she was given anything easily because her dad is her coach. Having their coach as their father has allowed them to stay after practice to work on anything they are having trouble with.
“Being coached by my parent has made me a better player because my dad has always been there to push me to do better. He always knows what is best for me. He has inspired me to work harder each and every day to make him proud,” Brianna Mendoza said.
Similarly, junior Maricris “Crissy” Ramirez has been coached by her dad, Joel Ramirez. J. Ramirez began coaching baseball 30 years ago after helping teach baseball to his friend’s children. Not only did he coach his daughter, but he also coached his sons. J. Ramirez was the manager of the his daughter’s Twin Hills all stars team and was her travel baseball coach for two years; one year on the Ballhogs and the following year on So Cal Shockwaves. M. Ramirez has played on the BVH varsity softball team since freshman year.
“His coaching really helped me become the player I am today. He’s taught me to always show 110 percent on the field and that as long as you put in as much effort as you can, that’s all that really matters. Even though for baseball I was the only girl on the team, he didn’t treat me differently; he still treated me like I was one of the boys and pushed me to be a better player,” M. Ramirez said.
According to M. Ramirez, her dad has taught her that she can always improve in someway. J. Ramirez has always tried to instill consistency and has taught her the skills to be an impactful player. When M. Ramirez is struggling with something, she asks her dad to take extra reps with her.
“Consistency is always my pet peeve. If she wasn’t getting enough repetitions, whether it was hitting or fielding, then I would work with her. I love it when she initiates the need for extra reps, I’ll always be there for her,” J. Ramirez said.
Brothers, sophomore Skylar Nelson and senior Taylor Nelson, are also coached by their father Michael Nelson. M. Nelson has coached his sons on soccer, baseball and basketball teams since the second grade.
“Coaching and parenting are really the same thing. As coaches we teach discipline, sacrifice, effort, dedication and teamwork. These are the same things that parents want their children to learn,” M. Nelson said.
According to S. Nelson, on the way to games his father and him talk about the objective for the game. Likewise, on the way back they discuss what was done poorly throughout the game and what can be done for improvement.
“He has helped me be a better player because I know he’s going to be honest with me. He’ll honestly tell me my mistakes where some coaches may try to sugar coat it for you. My dad sees what I’m doing and he’ll tell me what I need to fix. That’s helped,” S. Nelson said.
Nelson and S. Nelson both work with their dad outside of regular practices. Depending on the performance from previous games, they determine what they work on. This includes, defense, dribbling, passing, shots, and anything else to help them become better players.
“I have a coach around me at all times. He’s not only my basketball coach, he’s my life coach. He’ll help me get better on and off of the court. Having him as a basketball coach off the court is really useful because most people have a designated time they come to practice and that’s the only time they play basketball but for me we practice it nonstop,” S. Nelson said.