Our faculty are dedicated to our students! Many of them don't only teach - they also coach or advise clubs as well.
To celebrate our coaches who also teach or are staff at CDH, we're sharing a Q&A with each of them over the next few months! First up is Chris Babcock, who coaches Track & Field and Cross Country, and teaches French. Babcock was also recently named Section Coach of the Year for Track and Field by his peers.
Did you participate in the sport you coach as a student-athlete?
I have participated in Track and Field since I was 12 years old - 7th grade. Before that, I always looked forward to the President's fitness award testing in gym class. I ran Cross Country as a senior in high school. Prior to that, I played soccer. My senior year I also participated in Nordic Skiing. In college, I ran cross country my junior and senior years and track and field all four years.
What made you decide to coach?
I wanted to work with kids and help them to appreciate the sport the way I do. I had some really good coaches that helped me to achieve my goals as a student-athlete and wanted to be able to do the same.
How long have you been coaching here at CDH?
I have been coaching Track and Field at CDH since 1997. I took one season off to be with my newly born twins the year they were born. I have coached Cross Country at CDH since 1997 as well, without missing a season. From 1998-2007 I also coached Nordic Skiing at CDH.
What have you taught?
In 1996 I started as a technology assistant at CDH. From there I team-taught an English/Computer class that later became Values, as well as several application-based classes, multimedia, animation, CAD, and programming. Currently, I am teaching French.
What do you love about coaching?
Interacting with the athletes, watching their progress from a new runner to a seasoned veteran. Along that path, there are so many variations and changes that can occur that it keeps coaching interesting. You have to be always learning - not just about the sport, but how to reach your athletes, who they are, and who they want to become. Then getting them to see what is possible and how they can get there is really rewarding. Not every athlete goes as far as they want or as far as I think they can, but the important thing is that they found value in trying for themself and for their teammates.
How does your experience as a coach improve your teaching?
As a coach, it is pretty easy to pick out where an athlete is struggling in their technique and then help them through those struggles. Transferring that critical eye to the classroom means that I am on the lookout for where my students are struggling and how I can help them to improve. It means that we are constantly working on the fundamentals and being intentional about working consistently on the basic skills that will give us success in the end. Teaching kids in the classroom that what we do there shouldn't stay there, that it needs to be brought out to the rest of their lives. And the same goes with coaching. Those lessons learned on the track and trail about consistency, persistence, and perspective are lessons that should be transferred and applied to all aspects of one's life.
How does your experience as a teacher improve your coaching?
I think that by being a teacher and a coach you are able to see a more full picture of who the student-athletes you are working with are - where they struggle, what they need to succeed.
Do you have any favorite memories from your time coaching?
There are so many great memories... And they aren't always what someone who doesn't coach would expect. Sure when your athletes win that is a great feeling and you don't forget those moments. But the back story and how they came to win, what odds they had to overcome, what challenges they encountered, and how they met them - those are important memories too. Also, when you know what the meaning of success is for an athlete - not just winning, but succeeding - and then those moments when they realize that success. Those are great memories.