By Bailey Gorlewski
Thump. Thump. Bright orange spheres slap the ground, as a pale hand hits them down again. Our scene is set at a Batavia High School girls’ basketball practice.
A Mimio pen glides down a white board, as an equation is written on the board. Once again we are at Batavia High School, but this time we are in room B103, a geometry, and precalculus classroom. You may ask how these two things are linked? They both involve Kevin Jensen, coach, and teacher of mathematics at Batavia High School. Jensen’s family recently moved to Batavia, but this is Jensen’s eighth year at Batavia High School, and 13th year overall teaching.
Since coming to Batavia, Jensen has had a wide variety of coaching experiences.
“Ever since I’ve gotten to Batavia I have had some great coaching experiences,”Jensen said. “The top of the list would be getting to be a part of the football state championship in 2013. A close second would be our basketball team reaching the sweet sixteen (sectional finalist) in the same year (2013-2014 season).”
Besides being a coach, Jensen also teaches mathematics. Jensen’s favorite about math, is patterns.
“I’ve always been good with seeing patterns. I enjoy the way you can use math to describe patterns in each class.” Jensen said. “I enjoy how you can use math to manipulate problems to work out in your benefit.”
Besides using patterns to manipulate problems in math, Jensen also uses patterns to manipulate situations on the court.
This has been proven true by the varsity girls’ basketball team’s 4-1 start to the season against what Jensen calls “very good competition.”
“We played and beat Trinity High School, who is traditionally a state power,” Jensen said.
He doesn’t only plan to lead his team to some wins but he also hopes they finish at the top of the Upstate Eight Conference.
Jensen is a similar person on the court and in the classroom, and seems to like to link both together. This has been confirmed by Hannah Frazier, senior, and varsity basketball player at Batavia High School.
“I think the biggest difference was that basketball has been the bigger focus,” Frazier said. “He always talked about it in class and you could tell he really cared about coaching. He does make math jokes in practice sometimes though so I guess it goes both ways.”
Frazier and Jensen both have similar opinions on how if someone is a good teacher, they are probably a good coach.
“You cannot be a good coach without being able to be a good teacher,” Jensen said. “You can’t be a good teacher or coach without being able to relate to the kids you are teaching and coaching.”
Frazier agreed with Jensen on the fact that you have to be able to relate to be a good teacher or coach.
“ I think coaches and teachers both have to know how to relate to kids and get the best out of them whether it’s in the classroom or on the court,” Frazier said. “This is why often the best coaches are teachers such as in Jensen’s case”
They also both agree that understanding a concepts, helps keep students and players more engaged.
“They know the best way to get students to succeed and are great at helping them understand material,” Frazier said. “This translates well onto the basketball court because all players are really students of the game and are learning how to get better.”
For everything team based, communication is necessary. Jensen agrees with this wholeheartedly.
“Communication is an element that must be in both aspects of my job,” Jensen said. “As both a teacher and coach, you must be able to properly and clearly communicate with players/students and their parents.”
With the coaching of Coach Jensen, and help from players like Hannah Frazier, maybe Batavia can see some huge wins this year.
Picture Credit (Kevin Jensen)