The end of July always marks the start of the fall sports season.
The Texas High School Coaches Association’s annual coaching convention, held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio, helps usher in fall sports. This year’s event, which kicked off on Sunday, July 18, was the 89th annual convention and the first in-person convention since 2019. The convention took place virtually last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. THSCA executive director Joe Martin said the association was close to a record of over 14,000 coaches in attendance. This is nothing compared to the 65 coaches who showed up at the inaugural convention in 1933.
“Obviously, [we’re] extremely excited to be here, ”Martin said on Sunday. “We opened this morning at 8 am, thinking there wouldn’t be many people here. I don’t know if you’ve all seen this line, but it stretched somewhere as far as West Texas.
Coaches from each of the five school districts in the Pleasanton Express coverage area were in attendance. With names like University of Texas head football coach Steve Sarkisian, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Alabama’s Nick Saban on the long list of presenters, it’s hard not to attend. But coaches in the region are also taking the time to network and reflect with other coaches across the state, some they know and some they don’t.
“It’s validation, basically, of what you’re doing,” Pleasanton head football coach Stephen Liska said, watching Denton Guyer’s director of strength and conditioning Kyle Keese demonstrate his Unique grid pattern for conditioning and improving field movements for athletes. Keese’s grid is something Pleasanton has incorporated into his off-season training this year.
Liska, along with offensive coordinator Chuck Black, attended the demo to see if there was anything they could do to improve the grid implementation.
“It’s great to see it live,” Liska added. “We saw it on YouTube and read it, but the guy here is demonstrating it.”
Every coach hopes to get at least one thing from the convention that could help them with their schedule. It doesn’t matter if it’s Fisher’s philosophy at A&M or Hallettsville head coach Tommy Psencik imparting knowledge on the tactical side of the game.
“As long as you can learn one thing from someone, it’s a good clinic,” said Poteet athletic director and head coach Darby House. “You won’t necessarily get the X’s and O’s because there is a big difference. Jimbo Fisher, he has a corner that scores 4.3 [40- yard dash]. Well, we don’t. Their safety is 6ft 2in and they have 6-5 defensive ends. Can we take it away from them? Not realistically. But we can take… pieces here and pieces there, and how they practice, what they use and modify it to the best of our ability.