Suzie Hoyt coaches swimming for Glastonbury (CT) High School and won the 2017 Double-Goal Coach® Award presented by TeamSnap for her positive impact on youth athletes.
Hoyt, who coaches both boys and girls, has a clear vision of what she wants for and from her team, as well as an artful way of describing those goals. “I want all the kids on the team to not only improve athletically,” she said, “but also to have a deeper appreciation for what it is to be a part of something bigger than themselves and to learn to apply all their hard work to every part of their lives.
“For example, should they decide not to work in practice, it affects everyone on the relay team. I try to impress upon them the image of a puzzle. Some puzzles have a lot of green grass and blue sky, but there will be the occasional yellow flower or red balloon, which stand out more. But if one piece is missing, it doesn’t matter which one, and you immediately notice it. That’s how I explain to my kids that everyone has a role to play.”
Hoyt brings life lessons to life with similar aplomb. She explains logically how trust issues occur when three swimmers in a relay work hard and the fourth does not. Once her swimmers understand that equation, she poses the question about how much athletes can trust themselves if they know deep down they have under-prepared, and she draws an analogy to classroom preparation.
In a different case, a note arrived years after graduation from a former swimmer thanking Hoyt for time she spent standing around talking during practice. “He said, ‘You never knew this, but those were the days that I was terribly depressed, and felt like going home and killing myself. ‘ It just shows that as a coach you never know how you will impact a child, even if it’s just by listening.”