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GC delivering online coaching with instructional videos

By Dustin Kent
The coronavirus outbreak has left many people searching for ways to pass the time. For parents of school-aged children, this quest takes on a bit more urgency as they navigate their way through the quarantine with kids who suddenly have an abundance of free time and diminished options for channeling their energy.

Enter Roonie Scovel. The legendary Gulf Coast women’s basketball coach came up with an idea about how to address that very issue for area parents while on a FaceTime call with her niece’s young children.

The idea: a series of online instructional videos on the fundamentals of basketball, baseball, and softball led by Gulf Coast coaches.

“It was kind of by accident,” Scovel said. “It kind of started with a family question. I have a niece that lives in Alexandria, Va., with four kids and they were kind of looking for some activities for them. I thought I could probably do something.

“I thought if I could go on FaceTime with her children, then there is something we could do for the community.”

The videos are being shot by the school’s digital media department and will be aired on YouTube, with the links to be shared on the school’s athletics site, gcathletics.com.

Scovel said she wasn’t sure how well the videos would be received but that the idea was worth giving a try.

“Well, you’re hearing and seeing on social media from parents, everybody’s struggling, teachers and parents, with the activity portion,” she said. “They’re stuck at home in driveways and backyards, so what would be more perfect than us to provide some information.

“We’re talking about coach (Phil) Gaffney in men’s basketball and we have softball and baseball and women’s basketball, we’ve got some pretty good free information for people to utilize if they want to.”

Scovel shot her first video on Monday morning, which covered the fundamentals of shooting a jump shot with the help of assistant coaches Paige McCallum and Shannon McCallum.

The coach, who announced her retirement after 22 seasons in February, said she and her fellow coaches were still sort of getting a feel for exactly how to make the videos.

“Well, I think that’s gonna have to be the feedback,” Scovel said. “This one was advanced, maybe this one wasn’t advanced enough. Hopefully people will tell us what they want and we’ll do our best to accommodate. I would think the feedback would determine what we do next.”

Gulf Coast baseball coach and athletic director Mike Kandler said the videos will typically be around 10 to 15 minutes in length, with assistant coaches Chris Rose and Jake Schuster having already shot a baseball video.

Kandler credited Scovel for an idea that he said brought him back to his own youth.

“I just think it’s kind of a throwback to the old days where you give kids something to work on and they can go work on it themselves,” he said. “Everybody my age honed their skills athletically in the backyard with a garage hoop or whatever. It wasn’t always that organized, so this is kind of something that mom and dad can get some good information and take their son or daughter in the backyard and work on some stuff.

“Kids can watch and work on things on their own. That’s really how athletes are developed. It’s more on your own than what coaches can do for you, so this gives you some ideas and you can take it and run with it.”

Both Scovel and Kandler said that if the videos were popular they were open to making them a regular feature in years to come, with Gaffney endorsing the idea and saying that the focus of the videos could be broadened beyond technical instruction.

“I think we can expand it into other areas, too, like character development and how to succeed in sports,” he said. “I think a lot of high school athletes sometimes have a skewed idea of what college coaches are looking for. We could put something out like ‘this is the kind of kid we’re looking for, this is the kind of student we’re looking to come to our school.’

“It doesn’t have to just be skill development, though I think this is good. I think a lot of great ideas can come from it.”

Of course that all depends on how well the videos are received and how much demand there is for Gulf Coast to make more.

“We’ll put it online and put it on our web site and if people like it and are viewing it then we’ll shoot more of them,” Kandler said. “But if there’s not a demand then we won’t do it.”

 

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