When coaches get benched – Part 2 From the field to classroom coaches continue to motivate

Published 10:54 pm Thursday, April 9, 2020

Passing by empty fields where normally at this time of year a softball or baseball is being thrown around or a soccer ball is being booted toward a goal seems almost unimaginable yet that is exactly as a society where we are due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In today’s Star Sports, our second installment of when coaches get benched features Elizabethton High School softball coach Kenneth Hardin. With the Lady Cyclones sidelined due to spring sports being suspended, Hardin now has gone from inspiring his team on the field to inspiring his students via various uses of technology.
Hardin, like most coaches, has found been away from the field instead of challenging for a Three Rivers Conference title says that sitting by idly has been challenging.

“It’s killing me, I miss the sounds of the kids at practice and during games,” Hardin said. “We all miss the competitive nature that this team has. It’s tough seeing our field just sitting there.

“My coaching staff had this team ahead of schedule – we were playing well and had great team chemistry. I am just hoping we can get back out there and play again this season.”

Hardin has been busy doing a lot of communicating with his students and players just like many other educators with classes online.

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“We are doing the online class and we also set up a class for softball and Coach (Jeff) Pierce sends workouts and our players are doing them to try and stay in shape in case we get to come back,” Hardin added. “I would much rather be in the classroom and on the field.

“Believe it or not, I miss it during the summer and usually work on the field and building to pass time.”

Hardin has stayed busy fulfilling his requirements as an educator while challenging his students as he tries to maintain class as usual.

“I have been taking state standards and having the kids do presentations, the last one was about emergency situations,” stated Hardin. “My students did a great job on the presentations about the effect of COVID-19 on the criminal justice system.

“We have been using email and google classroom while I’ve done a couple of videos as well.”

Hardin feels that parents can go a long way in encouraging their children while facing something that no one ever saw coming when the school year began.

“Play catch, keep a positive attitude, make sure they are doing their workouts,” said Hardin when asked what advice he would give parents. “Tell them to stay positive and look forward to going back whenever we get to.

“I have had several parents send messages and I love it when parents check on their kids. We have a great faculty at EHS. I see every day how much they care about our students.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has given many a different perspective on everyday life and Hardin is no different as it has been a learning experience for him as well.

“Take nothing for granted – one week we were playing and practicing every day,” said Hardin about something that he has taken away from the current situation. “Our coaches use a texting app and the google classroom to keep players updated and I am definitely not in a hurry to retire.

“I have also taken that it is important to appreciate every day of practice, game day, and even the classroom.”

The weekend edition will feature Elizabethton Cyclone head baseball coach Ryan Presnell as the series concludes.