Inspiring Coaches Finalist John Hotchkiss

Mission San Jose High School - Fremont, CA

Number of years coaching: 6 years.

At a glance: John Hotchkiss inspires his team and the community of Fremont, Calif., through his love of running. As the cross country coach at Mission San Jose High School. John doesn’t accept a paycheck for coaching; he instead invests that money back into the team. He congratulates the other team regardless of whether or not his team wins. But with an undefeated frosh/soph team that trains hard and smart, Coach Hotchkiss is leading his team on to continued and lasting success.

 

What advice does Coach Hotchkiss give to an athlete having a bad day to inspire them?
I try to always be supportive and talk with athletes about the reasons that they had a bad day and then focus on the positive and what they can work on for the next race. For example, one of our JV runners was upset this year after a specific race that didn't go well. We talked it through and decided that an inadequate warm-up caused her to get leg cramps midway into the race. We came up with a plan for her to do a longer warm-up and additional stretching before the next race, and I assured her that I had great confidence in her abilities. In the next race, she ran great and was very happy with her performance. In general, I keep in mind that these are high school athletes who are trying to do their best, and that they deserve my full support as they deal with all of the challenges of the sport, from learning how to warm up effectively to setting the right pace and coming up with a strong race strategy. I try to give our athletes the perspective that each race is only one of many opportunities that they will have over the course of the season and over their racing careers. They should use each race as a way to learn and continue to improve, and they shouldn't let one bad race impact their confidence.

What makes Coach Hotchkiss Run Happy?
Just enjoying being physically fit makes me Run Happy. I know how good it feels to be fit, and I'm happy to see our team members get stronger and faster over the course of a season and over their athletic careers. Running is a lifetime sport, and I challenge team members to continue to stay fit as part of a lifestyle, not just for the cross country season. I've always been passionate about running and it has been a major part of my life from an early age to the present.

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