This month we are featuring Coach Eric Angeles, who is actually a THE First Tee Alumni! During our Summer Session, Coach Eric joined us for classes at Lone Tree Golf Course.
How did you get involved with The First Tee?
EA: My father was an avid golfer and saw a flyer at Diablo Creek Golf Course for The First Tee and thought that it would be a great program for me to join. I first got involved at the age of five and have been a part of this wonderful program for the last fifteen years. I am forever grateful for the experiences that I’ve had and the people that I have met because of The First Tee. When given the opportunity to give back to a program that has practically raised me, I could not turn it down.
What have First Tee participants taught YOU?
EA: The participants are the focal point of this whole organization and getting the chance to work one-on-one with them is one of the best feelings in the world. Although I have been volunteering with The First Tee for many years, this was my first time ever leading a class. A few things that I learned from working with the kids is to be patient and that not everyone works at the same pace. I learned to be patient not only with them but to also be patient with myself on the golf course.
What would you tell a parent who was thinking of enrolling their junior into a class at The First Tee?
EA: The First Tee is a great program with many regional chapters. I personally have worked with three different chapters and I believe that The First Tee of Contra Costa has something special that sets them apart from the rest. All of the coaches and volunteers have great relationships with the juniors and are always there for them to learn and get better on and off the golf course. The First Tee of Contra Costa is more like a family to me. I have mentors and friends that will always be there for me when I am in need.
What is the best thing about being a coach?
EA: The best part about coaching is seeing the kids grow and enjoy the game of golf. When seeing them have fun and get better makes me feel like I’m making an impact on their lives. To this day, I still go back to the basics that my coaches before me have instilled in me.
What is a hobby or something you do that might surprise other coaches or The First Tee participants?
EA: Other than golf, one hobby I love to do is photography. I am not very serious about it as of right now but would love to invest in a new camera in the near future and look forward to what I can capture.
How would your players describe you as a coach?
EA: I led my class with one of my best friends, Dominic, who has been a part of The First Tee as long as I have. All of our coaches as a participant have been older individuals who understood the course material but haven’t been a participant in the class. Being former participants gave us a unique perspective on how to run our class in terms of what participants would like and wouldn’t like. We chose to keep the class as fun as possible while still teaching the kids the Core Values and golf skills they needed. I would say the kids would describe both me and Dominic as energetic, funny, and involved.
What is your favorite golf club in your bag and why?
EA: My favorite would be the driver, because who doesn’t love pounding the big stick? My least favorite would be the 3-iron. This is probably the coolest looking club in my bag only because no one can hit it, but has to be my least favorite because I am one of those people that can’t hit it either.
What is one strategy you use to keep participants engaged?
EA: The best strategy to keep participants engaged is to have them do many different activities and not have them stick with just one activity or else they’ll get bored and lose interest. Another way to keep there attention is to give them a challenge and reward them when they complete the task. Even acknowledging when they hit a good shot goes a long way. Participants will know when they’re doing it right and keep their motivation up.
What is your favorite game or activity to implement during class?
EA: My favorite game has to be lag putting onto a long strip of duct tape. This teaches them not only distance control but will also teach them to use perseverance.
Coach Eric coached along Coach Dominic at Lone Tree Golf Course during the Summer Session.
Thank you Coach Eric!