Coach's Corner - AJ Stuart, Urbana Field Hockey and Tennis

This summer, CSZ will be doing a segment on the WICKipedia entitled "Coach's Corner". In this feature, we'll be conducting Q&A's with various coaches from around Maryland to learn more about their coaching processes, and why they love coaching.

Today we're featuring AJ Stuart, who coaches at Urbana High School in Frederick County! Coach Stuart spoke with us about a variety of topics, including why Urbana's field hockey team had such a terrific campaign in 2017!

AJ Stuart CC Pic

County Sports Zone:How did you get your start with coaching?

AJ Stuart:I started coaching tennis for Baltimore County Rec and Parks during the summer while I was in high school. Once I was in college, I worked for the Baltimore Tennis Patrons Association and traveled all over the county doing group lessons. I started coaching in Frederick County when I first got my teaching job back in 1992. I coached field hockey and basketball at TJ High School.

CSZ:Why do you coach? What about it do you enjoy?

AS:I love working with the student athletes at Urbana. It is very rewarding to challenge them each day and to watch their hard work pay off on the field or on the court. Most of all, I enjoy building relationships with my players and sharing my love for both field hockey and tennis.

CSZ:Specifically Urbana- why do you enjoy coaching there?

AS:I love that the students buy into our philosophy of being one team one Urbana. All of our sports teams have common goals to be the best at what we do! We all support each other and promote each other's sports. At Urbana, we are also lucky to have such good parent support of our programs. Our athletic director, Ryan Hines, helps us to build a strong schedule each season as well.

CSZ:What're some characteristics of teams that are coached by you? What do you try to instill in your players?

AS:My teams are very goal driven- they want to succeed. They are dedicated and want to leave their legacy. I want them to buy into our core values- positive relationships and energy, high expectations, purposeful practice and play. Instilling that it's a privilege to be a part of our team and creating a culture that involves unity, excitement and challenges.

CSZ:It ended up being a tremendous season for Urbana's field hockey program, winning its second ever regional title. Why was this group able to do so well?

AS:The 2017 team held themselves to high standards, motivated by the leadership of the seniors. They were also committed to their fitness by being expected to complete the gauntlet to make the team, which allowed us more time to work on game strategy.

We also had the best assistant coaches with my daughter Molly Stuart, a former Shippensburg Player, and Cody Moss, a former USC club player and coach. Both of them are former Urbana student athletes. With the addition of Molly and Cody, we were able to do more small group and individual coaching. Also Sally Watsic, our JV coach, does a tremendous job teaching the fundamentals to prepare the underclassmen to play on varsity.

CSZ:You coach two sports at Urbana- field hockey and tennis. Do you approach coaching each sport differently, or do you have a similar approach for each?

AS:Field hockey season is much more serious for me as a coach. It involves more prep and planning. My favorite place to be while at Urbana is on the turf with my players. Tennis is more of my fun sport as I set up challenge matches and get to play more with the kids.

CSZ:Some coaches like to coach multiple sports, others prefer to focus on just one. Why do you choose to coach more than one sport?

AS:I like that field hockey and tennis attract a different type of athlete, so I become more well rounded as a coach. Field hockey attracts more of a mentally tough, physical athlete whereas tennis players tend to be more academic, one sport type kids who focus on tennis year-round.

July 9th, 2018By: Wick Eisenberg

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