Torrance High School - Torrance, CA
Number of years coaching:16 years coaching cross country
At a glance: Coach Israel Pose is the center of what the Torrance High School team calls their “XC Ohana”, which means family in Hawaiian. Everyone in his program, both alumni and current students are welcomed and encourage to get to know each other and provide support both during and outside of practice. Coach Pose makes it clear through his actions, whether it be cheering for a passing teammate, fighting to keep his large team intact or going to the aid of an injured runner, that he is a caring and supportive coach, but to his athletes he is much more than that. He is a friend and mentor that they can rely on for the rest of their lives.
What piece of advice does Coach Pose give an athlete having a bad day to inspire them?
I always tell my kids that our sport is brutal. One day you can feel great, other days you can feel terrible (I call them "dog days"), and not have a clue as to why. You can’t relish too much on the great days, and you can’t get down too much on the bad days. I always let them know you have to ALWAYS take something positive out of a bad day, because there is always a lesson to learn. When they get upset and just pout, I tell them they are blocking the learning process. A favorite quote of mine is, "if you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?" I let them know about the importance of believing in what they have in their heart and to never question their desire. I also tell them that there are many variables to our performances, such as the course, the weather, sleep or lack of, what we ate or did not eat, etc... but the one constant that should never be in question is our self-belief and our heart. If you can focus on that, you will always succeed in some way.
What makes Coach Pose Run Happy?
What makes me Run Happy is when I have had a rough day and I can go out for a run late in the afternoon when most people are sitting down having dinner or watching TV... I am out running. Nothing like running down by the beach, hearing the waves crashing on shore, feeling your heart beating, listing to your foot striking the ground, pacing your breathing... all while turning all your negative events of your day, into positive thoughts for the next day.
It is one of those fine things I learned back when I was in high school... the things that inspired me then, that I can try to pass on now...