Young coach hopes to mentor local youth on path to success
Born in Homer and raised in Wasilla, Adam Diaz returned to Homer three years ago, has been actively involved coaching wrestling and soccer, and hopes to inspire local youth to be successful on and off the mat and field.
During the school year, he coaches the Homer Middle School boy's soccer team, volunteer coaches wrestling at Homer High School, works as the assistant coach of the middle school wrestling team, coaches the boy's soccer team at the high school as the varsity assistant coach and is the head coach for the junior varsity boy's soccer team. During the summer, he helps to coach summer soccer teams.
"I like being a mentor to the kids in the community and coaching as a whole -— the strategy, preparation, the practices, the bus rides, everything about a sports season," he said. "And I really enjoy working with different coaching staff, seeing all their different perspectives and getting to choose what I want to apply to my own program and how to present myself as a coach."
Growing up, Diaz played a variety of sports, including football, wrestling, baseball and soccer. He spent most of his time wrestling, beginning in middle school, and wrestling all the way through his junior year of high school.
He shared that as a youth, he had many great coaches, so when he moved to Homer, he wanted to get involved in the community and decided coaching would be a great way to do so. The first sport he coached was track at the middle school. Today, he coaches kids ages 3-18 years old throughout the year, in both soccer and wrestling.
He and two other coaches open the high school weight room at 5:30 a.m. every morning and set up workouts for the kids that show up.
During his three years as coach and assistant coach, Diaz's high school wrestling team placed runner up at state his high school soccer team went to state, and his middle school soccer team took second at Borough.
"It makes me proud to see these kids taking all the things we work on in a practice and applying it in a match or a game," he said. "Seeing them be successful on and off the mat and the field."
Diaz believes that participating in sports sets kids up to be more successful in life.
"In sports, you're asked more of yourself during the season, you learn a lot of determination, discipline and how to persevere during tough times. So, if you're having a hard time, you learn how to figure out ways to get through it," he said.
His goal for all the teams he coaches is to continue to instill a tough growth mindset and to push them past their limits.
"I've seen the kids I coach become more responsible, more dedicated and more respectable on and off the field/mat. As a coach, I have learned more about the game from a coaching perspective, instead of as a player and have enjoyed every moment," he said.
In addition to coaching, Diaz also works as a skills trainer at the middle school, providing direct service provider work.
"I'm happy with my kids' progress as long as they're committed in what they choose to do, and that they're doing their best, whether it's soccer, wrestling or at school" he said. "That's all I can ask for. You can only tell the kids so much, and then it's up to them to be self-motivated."
Diaz said he enjoys living in the community and that he feels supported by parents and other coaches. He is excited to have the opportunity to work with several local coaches in order to continue to learn more about the sports he coaches.
"I feel like every day I learn something new," he said. "There are a lot of different personalities and perspectives in the coaching environment, and that helps me have a growth mindset, and a willingness to learn and teach others, so I can become a better coach with my own set of skills and style.
Diaz takes his coaching very seriously, striving to lead by example, knowing that if he is going to ask the kids to do something, he has to be able to do it himself.
"A coach can make all of the difference in a team; he must set the tone every practice for his team to be successful," he said.
Diaz defines the path to success as a willingness to learn.
"What makes someone successful is their attitude - if they are willing to learn, as well as teach others what they know," he said. "Perseverance is doing the things you don't want to do on the days you need to do them, being consistent in a daily routine and pushing yourself to do a bit more every day."