Basketball season is in full swing! The Tuckerman Bulldogs have returned this season after a great season in 2016-2017. The Bulldogs were Runner-Up State Champions last season and have plans to win the title this year. Coach Bateman took a few minutes to answer a few questions about Tuckerman Bulldog basketball and his impact on the players.
Describe a typical “open gym”.     
Open gym at Tuckerman usually consist of kids playing pickup games. The gym typically stays open as long as the kids want, as long as they are playing with intensity and playing to win.
What are your academic and behavioral expectations for your players both on and off the court?
I encourage my players to be the best they can be as a student and person. I want them to grow up to be responsible men with good character. Each player has to have a 2.0 GPA to be eligible to play. I check the grades of all players, both junior and senior high, weekly.
How do you deal with multiple sport athletes?   
Within a smaller school, it is very typical to have athletes who play multiple sports. I work with Coach Roberts to ensure that our shared athletes have the opportunity to excel in both sports. I work extremely hard during the times that I have such athletes.
How do you support other sports and activities at this school?
I try to show my support by attending other sporting events, such as baseball games, and school activities.
Describe a coach’s role as motivator. How do you motivate players and get them to buy in to their role on the team each year?
I always ask my players the question of ‘why are you here?’ I let them know that if they are going to do something, then do it to the best of their ability, no matter what they are doing. I preach to the players that summer is the time to improve as a player. Once school starts, I let them know the role they will fill based on their skill set and ability level. Again, I encourage them to be great in their role, whatever that role may be (scorer, rebounder, encourager).
How do you handle the tryout and cut process?
I do not cut kids from the team. If a student wants to be a part of the team, they can be, as long as they meet the behavioral and academic standards I have for the team.
What would you try to teach your players besides basketball? How would you do that?
I really try to teach them to work hard and to be accountable. I do this during practice. They are held accountable not just to show up to practice, but to bring their best every day. I try to instill in them an idea from Jerry West: “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.”
How has coaching affected your life?    
Coaching is time consuming, so it affects my life as well as my family’s life. We typically scout as a family and my family is there to support the Bulldogs at the games. I truly believe coaching also allows me to have the opportunity to impact students’ lives, hopefully in a positive way.