Three-sport star glad to have one coach: his father

Vilseck’s Tyler Hall, right, wrestles with Patch’s Joe Witherington in the 160-pound final of the 2009 DODDS-Europe wrestling championships. Hall took the title and will be out to defend his crown in the same weight division in this year’s tournament.


By RUSTY BRYAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 4, 2010

Vilseck senior Tyler Hall has played three sports a year for two high schools, but all for just one coach. Hall, the reigning European 160-pound wrestling champion and an All-Europe quarterback, wouldn’t have it any other way.

"I’ve never not been coached by my dad," Hall said Tuesday by telephone. "It’s definitely nice having your dad there to push you — not just from the stands, like most fathers, but right there with you."

It’s a situation the Halls, Tyler and father Jim, who coaches the Vilseck football, wrestling and baseball teams of which his son is a prominent part, have enjoyed for some time.

"Tyler’s been in the program for six or seven years," said the elder Hall, who was the coach at Naples when his son was a freshman and sophomore. "Back when Tyler and his older brother were in the sixth and seventh grades, they were ball boys, learning our system."

It meant, moreover, there are now two Halls on the staff, not just one.

"What’s nice about it," the elder Hall explained, "is that he’s like an extension of the coaching staff on the field."

Might there be a downside to coaching one’s offspring? Perceptions perhaps by other players, rightly or wrongly, of favoritism?

"I try to treat them all alike," the elder Hall said of his players, "but there’s a lot more pressure coaching your own son. He’s the first one you grab when he makes a mistake on the football field and the first one you rush off the mat when he’s slapping the mat about something."

Hall added that his son’s high profile when it comes to coaching corrections has an effect on the rest of the team, too.

"I tell them that I’m going to treat each of them like they were my own son," Coach Hall chuckled. "Their eyes get kind of wide when I say that."

The younger Hall said being the son of the coach creates a mold into which others try to fit him.

"There are more expectations by some people," he said, "expectations for leadership."

That’s no problem for Tyler.

"When we don’t do something right on the field," Coach Hall said, "Tyler will go back to the huddle and say, ‘That one was my fault. It’s something we’re going to fix.’ He knows not to put the blame somewhere else."

The approach probably comes from years of experience at being the coach’s son.

"His mother and I have been preparing him since his was two years old," Coach Hall said. "I’ve been wrestling with him since he was two. When he hit me in the nose with his elbow, I knew we were getting somewhere."

Somewhere’s an understatement. The younger Hall, as successful an athlete as there is in Europe, embodies qualities coaches, whether dealing with their offspring or not, constantly battle to instill in their athletes — hard work and team spirit.

"I don’t know any different way to get ready," the younger Hall said when asked whether he were approaching the European wrestling tournament any differently now that he is a defending champion and a senior. "I have to prepare for someone better than I am to oppose me. I’ve just got to work hard."

Hall’s team spirit emerges when asked his favorite sport.

"Probably my favorite is football," he said. "I get a lot of gratification at seeing my teammates succeed."

Football, too, is where he thinks his future lies.

"I’m hoping to get into one of the service academies," he said. "I’d love to play quarterback for the sprint football (172-pound, 5 percent body-fat limit) team."

If he makes it, he’ll be getting non-familial coaching for the first time. The younger Hall admitted there will be something missing.

"He’s been such a huge mentor for me, that I wanted to do well for him," Tyler Hall said of his dad. "It’s the best feeling in the world to win a championship for him."

from around the web