Sunday, January 29, 2023

Bison focused on improvement

Beachwood opens the season with a new coaching staff, a small roster and just three returning starters, but the Bison are eager to kick off the new season.

“We need to find out what we are good at, create a team identity based on those strengths, and assign roles accordingly,” said first-year coach Andy Pohl. “Our athletes must embrace our team identity and their individual roles for us to be successful. The team must also embrace a culture of discipline, where they understand that greatness is more a product of choice than natural talent. It’s really about each athlete finding out what they can be great at and pursue it with relentless passion.”

Pohl is in his first year at Beachwood but he’s no rookie coach.

He spent last year at Newbury and before that he won five regional titles with three different programs in the Chicago area before returning to Cleveland last winter.

Pohl will lean on the experience of returning starters Ben Connor and Chris Reilly, both seniors, and junior Nathan Burke, but he also expects the newcomers to step in and find their way.

“It’s a team effort,” Pohl said. “With a smaller roster, we cannot successfully compete by relying on a few. It takes a team effort, the contributions of 15 plus guys working cohesively towards achieving common goals.”

Beachwood finished 11-15 overall last spring and, despite the coaching change and roster makeover, Pohl is confident there is room for improvement if the Bison focus on the fundamentals and prepare for each practice and game in a consistent manner.

“Our expectation is to embrace growth mindset, use every mistake and failure as an opportunity to get better, and improve as individuals and a team daily,” he said. “We understand that we can’t control winning, as much as we think we can or would hope to, but we can control our preparation, our effort, our routines, our ability to respond from adversity, and our ability to handle ourselves the right way, on and off the field.”

For Pohl, each practice and game will provide an opportunity for each member of the program to improve.

The coaching staff is working hard to put the players in the best position to find success and that starts with identifying the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

“It’s still very early to decipher what our strengths are,” Pohl said. “Our job as coaches is to identify those strengths, and build a team philosophy that accentuates those particular strengths. We may not be able to get a good handle on this until a few weeks into the season. Our day in and day out approach and habits needs improvement. We are vigorously addressing them now.”

Beachwood hosts John Hay on March 26 to open the season.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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