The New Mexico High School Coaches Association Coaching Clinic is "an annual thing where you come and get to have some meetings and get to learn a few things you …
The New Mexico High School Coaches Association Coaching Clinic is "an annual thing where you come and get to have some meetings and get to learn a few things you didn't have or didn't know," Taos High School coach Art Abreu Jr. explained.
Growing up a coach's son, "I've been coming to this thing since I was 7," he said.
"The years change, but faces don't," he said. "I get to see guys I look up to and rub elbows with them."
This year, the New Mexico Activities Association honored coach Abreu Jr. with "an award passed out every year to all state championship coaches," Abreu said.
The banquet at which coach Abreu and other coaches were recognized was "a great production. A great way to start the coaching week off."
Twelve Taos High School coaches invest three days
Along with Taos High School Athletic Director Nickie McCarty, coaches Nando Chavez, Clarence Vigil, Eric Mares, David Sanchez, Ralph Garia, Art Abreu Jr., Art Abreu Sr., Miguel Lucero, Ramon Abreu, Johnny Montano, Ronnie Salazar and Miguel Quintana are all attending the July 29-31 event.
It's "one last exhale before the season starts," Abreu Jr. said.
The clinic gives coaches from across the state the chance to "hear about a certain type of play, get a point of view of someone doing it different. Just trying to improve from year to year," Abreu said. "To give you an answer in that one situation you're not comfortable in."
For these three days, coaches from all over the state come together and work together for the common goals of improving their coaching and the state of high school athletics in New Mexico. "There's nothing but love between one another - and obviously a little bit of competition," Abreu said.
A chance to do something different
The clinic also gives coaches an opportunity to discuss what's working and what isn't, especially with respect to districting and tournament seeding.
"We're really trying to look at how other states are doing it, how other states are excelling."
Looking at the seeding and districting tactics of Louisiana, Texas, New York and New Jersey helps the coaches of New Mexico get "a few ideas to how we can improve our own association," Abreu said.
"And to make sure we're not too big of crybabies when it comes to selection."
It's impossible to play the games without officials. In recent years, there's been a statewide shortage. This shortage increases the demands on an already stressful position, increasing attrition.
"We're trying to recruit as many new officials as possible. It doesn't matter the age," said Abreu.
Officiating offers a chance to "help out the youth, making it possible for them to play interscholastic sports, while trying to be as fair as you can," he added.
"People forget that officials are human, too, and can make mistakes. Outside of that green field, the environment does have to be controlled," Abreu said, and one of the important ways to do that is to "make strict rules for parents.
"It just comes down to the fact of acting right. It's just a game and you gotta let things go."
Transitioning to the season
After three days of sharing strategies and ideas, the high school coaches of New Mexico will head home to begin official practices. At Taos High School, the magic date is Aug. 5. From that time, the coaches will return to their roles as competitors.
The clinic is "a great time to be around all your colleagues and friends," Abreu said. "In a few days we're going to start competing against each other at a pretty high level."
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