By: Kendra Bennett
Whitley Haimin is the head coach for the Cyprus High School softball team. Also, she teaches physical education, and it is her first year doing so.
What is your coaching/teaching history?
This is my 5th year coaching high school softball and my 3rd season at Cyprus. I also used to coach club ball but haven’t been coaching club for the last two years. This is my first year teaching. I’m still learning heaps and I’ve loved this experience so far.
What made you want to coach? Why?
I never saw myself becoming a coach, mostly because I’m naturally a shy and soft spoken person. I ultimately became a coach because while trying to decide what career route I wanted to take, I recognized that the most influential people in my life were past coaches and teachers. If I can positively influence students and student-athletes like my teachers/coaches did, that’s a successful life to me. I’ve also always loved the game of softball and have always had true passion for the game so that definitely played a factor into deciding to coach.
How has Covid affected the way you coach?
I’ll always stay true to my roots and my core beliefs while striving to continue to learn and improve each day. With that being said, Covid has definitely been a big eye opener for so many reasons. I think the biggest is being able to recognize the importance of our mental health and making sure that we do everything we can as a coaching staff to build our student-athletes up. Life as a teenage student-athlete in the middle of a global pandemic is so not easy and I think it’s important to recognize that. Getting our season cancelled after just four games last year was heartbreaking for so many reasons. We’re glad to be playing this year and we’re not taking the opportunity to be out on the field for granted.
What do you look for in a player? Why?
Heart, work ethic, and the ability to be a team player. We can teach someone the fundamentals of the game a lot easier if that person has heart, good work ethic, as well as a team mindset.
What goal do you have for the team this year? Why?
There are so many goals. At the end of the year, I hope that everyone on our team can honestly say that they’re proud to be a Cyprus softball player and that they know they played a huge part in all of our team’s successes. I hope that they truly respect every person within our team. I hope each student-athlete learned how to have more confidence in herself. I hope they all continue to use tools they’ve learned within the game to help them continue to succeed on and off the field. I expect to take Region as well as succeed and go far into the state tournament.
What life lessons do you want your players to learn from softball?
Respect, confidence, the importance of unity, how to be a good friend/teammate, responsibility, how to use our voices, how to accept our greatness, what it means to work hard, what it means to be dedicated, what it means to be a competitor, how to work hard and have fun a the same time, the importance of great sportsmanship, and so much more.
What is your proudest moment as a coach?
Hearing from past players about their continued successes on and off the field and how they’re thankful for lessons learned while playing for me.
Did you play sports when you were in high school? If so what ones? If not, then why?
I played softball all four years in high school and was blessed with the opportunity to play college ball all four years as well. I also played basketball for fun in high school until I blew out my knee and decided to stick to softball.
What is one life lesson you have learned from someone that you’ll never forget?
In college, I learned a life lesson about confidence and owning it from our tennis coach, Coach Dave Porter (now BYU’s Director of Tennis and Men’s Tennis Head Coach). We were having an indoor practice and Coach Porter came walking through. He had everyone come over to my position and while pointing to the base, he asked me, “What’s that?” While looking down, I quietly answered, “First Base.” This went back and forth between us until I realized what answer he was looking for… I had to very loudly AND confidently tell everyone in the gym, “This is MY base. First base is MINE and I own it!!” He talked about how I play the position better than anyone else but I don’t own it. He gave us a little talk about the importance of being humble, but also the importance of being confident and owning it at the same time. Still to this day, it’s not something I’m perfect at and I’m constantly working on being better. It’s something I’ll never forget, especially in times where I fail to have confidence.
How would you describe your leadership as a coach?
I would say I have more of a cooperative style of coaching. I have and set high expectations but I also strive to create an environment where our players feel comfortable to be themselves, ask questions, and give input on what and how we do things.