By JD Hershberger – Horizon Guest Writer
Taking over a head coaching position could be a pretty daunting task. There’s recruiting to be done, practices to be scheduled, strategies to be created and players to win over.
Michael Armstrong isn’t overly concerned.
Armstrong, the Hesston grad and current admissions counselor, is taking his assignment with a healthy dose of cautious optimism. While he understands how far the Larks need to go, given his position as an assistant coach under Kurt Hostetler, he believes in his style, ability, and perhaps most importantly, his players.
“We’ve got 11 guys returning next season and they’re all hard workers with lots of character,” said Armstrong. “This is the kind of culture I want to bring to this program. I would rather have a team that’s willing to work hard at every practice and every game than a group with just talent.”
And hard work is just what Armstrong is already instituting.
The off-season plan for the program involves plenty of, you guessed it, practice. During the winter the team is practicing at least twice a week in addition to the annual indoor tournament Armstrong intends to schedule scrimmages with local schools like Bethel College.
But while Armstrong wants his team to improve as a whole he also understands what is required to get the most out of every individual. From his experience as a former player himself, he knows that every player works in his own way.
“Everyone is motivated differently,” said Armstrong. “Everyone needs internal motivation and I hope to find out how all of my players tick.”
Discovering that quality in each of his player shouldn’t be a problem for Armstrong. In fact, he says that might just be what he’s looking forward to the most. His care for his players is deep and genuine, and believes highly that that attention to detail will manifest itself on the soccer field, as well as their later lives.
“My main goal is this position is to graduate all of my sophomores,” said Armstrong. “There’s more to life than just winning soccer games.”
Armstrong’s attitude is in the right place, but if all goes well he plans on winning soccer games too. His goal for his first season at the helm is six wins. That won’t be until next fall, but clearly the journey with his players has already begun.