Open Deck Delivers Answers & Inspiration

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Open Deck Delivers Answers & Inspiration


NCA opened the decks at both the JCC and Alga Norte last week to introduce a new initiative to educate and inspire parents by opening the lines of communication with coaches.  This was the first of several planned Open Deck Nights which will occur this season.  

Not only were coaches able to introduce themselves and any new staff members, they also had an opportunity to answer questions to a large parent audience.  No topic was too small, and parents walked away more confidant in their understanding of the program and all it has to offer from 10U through Senior.

Coach Jeff delivered his own brand of inspiration, talking about his first great coach.  What follows is his story:

“My greatest highlight this past year was going back to my high school in Toledo, Ohio, to give the acceptance speech for the Hall of Fame induction of Ron Ballatore, who was my first great coach and one of the most important male figures in my life.  Unfortunately, Coach Ballatore passed away three years ago, and I was accepting his Hall of Fame induction on behalf of his widow and five children who were unable to attend.  

My high school was also celebrating the 50 year anniversary of our high school swimming program that night, so it was a particularly special night in which to honor my first great coach and the storied history of the high school swim team.

As I was preparing my speech about Coach Ballatore’s life and coaching story, I knew I wanted to use this opportunity to explain why he was such a great coach and great mentor to me. I realized this could be summed up in five points, each part of Coach Ballatore’s simple philosophy:

    • Be on time
    • Work hard at every practice, everyday
    • Be accountable for your actions
    • Trust your coaches
    • Be 100% committed to your teammates



Coach Ballatore’s teams always had great chemistry.  I have been around several great coaches, but Coach Ballatore always got more out of his swimmers than anyone of them.  If you survived a Ballatore workout, then you believed you could accomplish anything.  His world was a world of black and white — you always knew where you stood with him.  There were no excuses; you either got it done, or you didn’t.

When I started my own coaching career in 1976, I drew upon the same values that Coach Ballatore taught me.  I can’t say I am surprised these same values succeed some 50 years later, and they are exactly what I see my own staff using today.  NCA will continue to develop student athletes with great character, and I am excited for the next 50 years!”

The next Open Deck date will be announced soon!