Coach Jeremy Hartman: The Love for the Game
Just the love for the game. Now it is more so of helping other young people cultivate the love for the game…Just because people love the game, does not necessarily mean that they are trying to play professionally. There are people all over that love the game of basketball and want to be involved in different ways.
This was Coach Jeremy Hartman’s response when asked what keeps him coaching to this day. If there is one thing that has been evident through his 15+ years of coaching, it is his love for the game. As a player, Coach Hartman played throughout all of school, at a division III college, and even had a couple opportunities to play professionally. Although he came from a family of all football players, he had a clear love for the game of basketball.
After graduating college, Coach Hartman worked at an athlete development facility. Working there, he had the opportunity to train professional athletes across multiple different sports. In 2003, Coach Hartman accepted his first opportunity to get back into basketball.
He was the Girls’ JV Coach for two seasons at Matoaca High School. From there, he coached the Varsity Girls’ Team at Robert E. Lee High School from 2005-2012. During this time, they were able to enjoy the following success: 4 district championships and 1 district runner-up, 3-time regional championships and one regional runner-up, 2012 state champion, 2011 state runner-up, 2010 state semi-finalist, 2009 state runner-up, and 2012 Virginia AA, Division 3 Coach of the Year!
After much experience coaching the girls, he decided to take some time off from coaching basketball, even though he still had just as much of a love for the game as before. In 2017, he became the Head Varsity Boys’ Basketball Coach for Wilson Memorial High School.
Today’s All-In Takeaways are about coaching on different levels, growing as a coach, and establishing a strong team culture.
All In Takeaway #1: The Key to Coaching on Different Levels
Everybody is at a different level, and everybody is there because they want to play and have a love for the game. So, part of your job as a coach is to meet people where they are at on that learning track and help them progress.
Coach Hartman admits that transitioning from training professional athletes to JV girls, was a transition. Going from coaching athletes who want to be on the highest level to players who may just want to play for fun and to be with their friends, is hard to adapt to right away. However, one thing Coach Hartman learned throughout the journey is that you have to meet the athletes where they are at. You need to understand what their needs are and help them grow.
All In Takeaway #2: Growing as a Coach
If you asked the people who played for me when I first started, they would probably have a completely different opinion about my coaching philosophy, than the athletes now.
When Coach Hartman first started coaching, he admits that he took the game way too seriously and became too frustrated, too quickly. Oftentimes, wondering why his athletes could not do a certain drill or play at the level that he desired. Ultimately, Coach Hartman had a hard time separating his playing days from his coaching days. As Coach Hartman has moved throughout his coaching career, he has learned how important relationships are. This has been his continued focus has he has developed and improved as a coach.
All In Takeaway #3: How to Establish a Strong Team Culture
The kids know if you are in it for selfish reasons.
In establishing a strong team culture, Coach Hartman recommends, first, getting everyone on the same page. Come in with a set of standards and non-negotiables that your coaching philosophy is going to be based on. For instance, Coach Hartman has made it clear to his players,
If you work hard for me on defense and rebounding, I will give you freedom on offense.
Additionally, having an open line of communication with everyone affiliated with the program, making yourself available, being adaptable, and having a plan going in, are all keys after getting everyone on the same page.
Currently, Coach Hartman is still the Head Men’s Basketball Coach for Wilson Memorial High School (stared in 2017). During his time there, they have been able to qualify for the regional playoffs in 5 consecutive years, were the 2020-21 district runner-up, and the 2021-22 district champions. As Coach Hartman prepares for the 2022-23 season, it will be exciting to see how his love for the game and relationships with the players are able to help the team win a state title! Go Hornets!
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