On any given weekend during the cold of winter, Jonathan Snow can be found coaching basketball in a school gymnasium somewhere in the province.
Chances are you’ll find him drawing up a play on a whiteboard or giving an inspirational halftime speech to his team.
The Corner Brook resident doesn’t have to be there.
He doesn’t have any children of his own, so people wouldn’t expect him to give up his free time.
Snow, a Corner Brook teacher, wouldn’t have it any other way.
Coaching has been a role Snow embraced a long time ago, sharing his wisdom with budding baseball players in the summer and guiding young hoopsters on the hardwood during the winter months.
Snow grew up in the city, always active in the sports he coaches.
He was always given a chance to participate and he had fun being involved with sports.
Coaching is his way to give back to the community.
With that in mind, Snow enjoys the seven hours a week he spends on the bench of two teams this year — the Corner Brook Intermediate Grade 8 male basketball team and the Humber Valley Mountaineers U14 club basketball team.
“I get a lot of enjoyment out of watching kids develop in a sport that I’m involved with, not just on the court, but off the court,” Snow said earlier this week.
His approach to coaching is all about ensuring the players learn something and have a good time while on the court.
He said his role entails the challenging task of trying to figure out why his athletes are playing the game.
Every child has their own reason for participating. While some athletes get into the sport to be among the elite with big aspirations to take their game to another level, others play for the fun of it.
The latter are probably there because some of their friends are on the court.
It can be tough to find the balance between the two, but it comes with being a coach.
He focuses his energy on what he believes his purpose is as the coach — putting his athletes in a position to be successful on and off the field of play.
Coaching young athletes means dealing with parents, and Snow has formed a lot of good relationships with a lot of them over the years.
He has no qualms about saying there are a lot of parents who have what he calls blinders on when it comes to their child.
Over the last couple of years, he said, parents have become more critical of coaches and some of them can’t see the big picture when it comes to their child because they are only looking out for the best interest of Billy or Jane, because that’s who is important to them.
Snow said his role as coach is to look out for the best interest of all players on his team and sometimes that is lost on those who don’t see past their own child.
“Even though I’m not a parent, I understand their reasoning. … They want the best for their kid and they want their kid to get that opportunity,” he said, noting the toughest job for a coach is cutting a player from the roster, and that situation can be made tougher when parents inject themselves more and more into their child’s status with the team.
He wants his players to have fun and work toward their respective goals and he enjoys doing what he can to help them become better players and better people from being involved with the game.
Snow says he was fortunate to have a number of mentors in both basketball and baseball to help him be the coach he is today.
He had guys like Steve Angeline, Frank Humber and Darren Colbourne show him the ropes on the baseball side of things, while he had basketball guru Frank Foo guide him along the way on the basketball court.
“Being around those individuals, who are incredible people and great coaches, you learn a lot about coaching and I think that’s important,” he said.
Seeing a young player smile on the hardwood because they are having fun and learning something about the game is what makes it easy for him to keep going to the gym.
It’s not about himself. It’s all about being an impact player on a bunch of athletes who want to get the most out of a game they love.
“I look at it as a great way to give back. Sports gave me a lot,” he said.