Benji Sonnichsen is in his fifth season as the head football coach at Mead High School in Spokane. He got into coaching after a playing career that included playing for WIAA Hall of Fame Coach Tom Moore at Prosser High School and Collegiate Football Hall of Fame Coach Frosty Westering at Pacific Lutheran University. Before coming to Mead in 2015, Sonnichsen was the head football coach at Prosser from 2009-14.
To my younger self,
Entering high school you were an athlete looking to advance to the varsity level quickly. Note that it won’t be good enough to keep your same routine. Now you will need to look for ways to separate yourself even further. Do the things others aren’t willing to do. Build your team, as you can’t accomplish team goals by yourself.
Becoming a college athlete. Awe you arrived! Don’t fall for the trap! The same challenge exists as soon as you settle in. You will need to look for ways to separate yourself. You will also need to build your team. Trust the process and enjoy the journey.
Your first day on the job. Your coaching career. Transferring your athletic competitiveness to coaching is very similar in many ways. Now you will need to use your mind and your communication skills to the best of your abilities. Have a note system of how you can track your learnings early in your career until they become routines. Look to build solid systems of schematics and drill work for all areas amongst your team. Again building your team chemistry will be key. Do your players like being together? When you have an event do they show up? Test your teams commitment to each other and then make adjustments to improve it.
Finally, every step along the way surround yourself with the best! Those that had negative influence on you, were they really worth your time?
What a joy it is to compete and see athletes bring out the best in themselves and others around them. Enjoy the journey as each season goes way too fast!
Keep your standards high and your goals right in front of you. Fear of failure has NO place on in your mind or on your team.
— Benji Sonnichsen, Mead High School Head Football Coach