As a standout athlete alumni from Tuckerman High School, Chad Soden has coached basketball and baseball most of his career. What does a successful boys coach do when blessed with two daughters? Girls’ sports. Chad Soden is the Head Girls Basketball Coach and the Head Girls Softball Coach for the Jackson County School District. Soden took a few moments to answer questions for the readers.
How do you deal with multiple sport athletes? I was a two sport athlete in high school. The sport in season should be the top priority, not only for the athlete, but for the teammates who share the commitment of that season sport. With that said, I know athletes have to prepare for other sports, but should not come at the expense of the sport in season.
How do you deal with players and parents with concerns about playing time?
Playing time is determined by the player. If a player comes to me wanting to know what can be done to get more playing time, I will tell them. Then, it is the player’s responsibility. It is all about hard work, execution, and dedication.
How do you deal with player commitments that impact missed basketball time? If it is another school event, I can occasionally switch practice times. It is important for the entire team to be at practice. Family comes before sports. Family commitments are things we have to deal with, especially throughout the holiday season. We work around what we can.
What are your academic and behavioral expectations for your players both on and off the court? Athletes are held to a higher standard in my eyes. They represent the school and themselves on the court. How they act is a reflection on the coach and the program. Academics are set by the AAA. If a kid is struggling, we will make sure they get help.
How do you support other sports and activities at this school? I try to attend as many other sporting events as I possible. I volunteer to help with the Jr. High softball team. I also coach my daughter’s Ozark league softball team during the summer. I have started travel softball teams consisting of only Tuckerman girls in three different age divisions.
What is your philosophy in regards to juniors on the junior varsity and freshman players being moved up to JV or Varsity? I was always taught if a kid can help on the varsity level, let them. I have witnessed numerous kids compete at a higher level than others at different ages. If a player is allowed to play softball or baseball as a 9th grader, why not basketball? Sometimes the older players need pushing to keep them from thinking they do not have to work hard anymore.
What coaches, teacher or other people have been great influences in your life and why or how? Coach Gilbert was a big influence on why I wanted to become a coach. Coach Bethea, my baseball coach at ASU helped me develop my philosophy on different parts of the game. Also, Bryan Price, my first pitching coach in the minors, helped me learn how to deal with different players and development of my work ethic.
What is one key event that changed your life in a positive or negative way?
When I lost my father in 2011, I thought about how he was always at my games as a kid and I wanted to be able to do the same for my kids. I have two daughters. I knew if I stayed in coaching that I needed to get back to coaching girls in some capacity. It worked out to where the basketball job here at my hometown came open. What a blessing for my family!
Describe the top five priorities in your life in rank order and explain why.
God, family, everything else.
How has coaching affected your life? I have made some wonderful friends in the coaching circles and still have kids that will shoot me a text when they get married or have a child, as well as former players who want to come practice with us. My daughters look up to these girls who play for me. We have really good role models here at Tuckerman for younger girls. It’s been great for my family!