BSN Team of the Week: Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics

From SwimSwam News (swimswam.com)

This week’s BSN Sports Swim Team of the Week is Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics (PASA), a USA Swimming club that serves the Bay Area of California by offering programs for everyone the beginning swimmer to swimmers who have their sights set on national and international-level competition.

In just the past decade, PASA swimmers and alumni have helped lead college teams to NCAA titles, and represented the USA at some of the most competitive swimming events in the world.

BSN Sports Team Ambassaor Jessica Hardy spoke with PASA head coach Tony Batis to get his insight on what makes PASA so special, as well as some of his thoughts on coaching in general.

Asked to describe his coaching philosophy, Batis replied…

We have the opportunity to be a part of a young person’s journey and supplying them with skillsets that allow them to prosper long beyond their time with us is paramount.  We can “coach” sets but to “teach” provides lessons that will hopefully last.

PASA is a multi-site team, and while that can be challenging in some ways, the PASA staff ensures that each site keeps a strong emphasis on team culture.

All of our sites, while spread out, make culture a primary focus of each and every season.  Our ability to recognize young to old, fast to fastest and all other areas of their existence creates a buy in to what we want to be as an organization.

That culture that the PASA staff helps create is designed to teach lessons that extend beyond swimming, as the coaches look for ways to help swimmers take on leadership roles both in and out on the pool.

Through our culture we create connections throughout our program where the athlete takes ownership of what they are doing.  My senior group creates annual goals to address their performance desires, their ability to impact our site by doing activities with the younger swimmers, what they do when representing the program nationally or internationally and what do they do for the community at large.  The staff and myself simply give suggestions and provide oversight.  The responsibility is theirs to follow through.

Batis has been coaching for well over two decades, but like any top-level coach, he’s still looking for ways to improve.

Recognizing the need for balance as a professional is my biggest challenge.  I always allow my plate to get too full before reaching out for help.  With the culture we have created, I just simply need to put faith in the organization when things are overwhelming and ask for help.

Coaching in the Bay Area for as long as he has, Batis could’ve pointed to many different moments that would vie for the title of his favorite coaching memory, but he chose to emphasize a different aspect.

The records, top performances, team wins, etc.. are all great but these are for the athletes and all of the work they put in to that specific moment.  For me, it’s simple … getting to see them all grown up and thriving in their lives after swimming is my reward.  When they come back and visit or drop me a line it creates great joy.  Knowing that I was a small part of their journey is the best memory I can have.