Prep Playbook with Coach Roger Whalen
What are your greatest strengths as a coach?
It’s very important to recognize limitations of some players and not ask them to do what they are not physically capable of. They have to feel some sort of success level and be able to compete consistently at that level. I think I can recognize what level players can perform competitively at and feel like a contributor to the team. My years of experience have been very beneficial.
What expectations do you have of each player on your team, and what can they expect from you as a coach?
I expect each player on the team to consistently give us their best effort and I think they can expect the same out of me.
Describe the proper working relationship between a coach, athletic director and principal.
The relationship between the coach and administration must be one of trust so there will be an understanding that no negative surprises interrupt the flow of a program. Good communication is the key.
Describe a coach’s role as motivator. How do you plan on motivating players and getting them to buy in to their role on the team each year?
Motivation within a program must come from the top down. I’m not really into helmet stickers and personal stats. Winning usually keeps kids motivated. They must feel some positive self-worth in the program.
Describe the organization of a typical practice.
We use a template that I evolved over the years. Everyday involves every aspect of football: stretching, kicking, game breakdown, offensive group work (pass/run), fundamental blocking and tackling, defensive group work and conditioning.
What is one word or phrase that you hope former players use to describe you?
Probably couldn’t write some of the things they might say, I think most would say that I am a firm, fair, and consistent coach who likes to win and work with kids!
What coaches, teacher or other people have been great influences in your life and why or how?
I was very lucky to grow up in a house with rules. I learned boundaries very early…Mom and Dad didn’t miss a game…five older brothers were all successful athletes, so I learned the value of hard work very early. I was also blessed to have some very dedicated little league and high school coaches. I followed one of my coaches to college. Throughout my coaching career, I have met and become associates to many successful and famous people in sports. I have a broad base of many talented friends from whom I have learned much about life and football.
What other factors might influence a player making the team other than grade, skill set and athletic ability?
I always tell my players who ask about playing time, “Become so valuable that we can’t live without you on the field.”