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Coach Kyle Hierholzer joins Altis

Coach Kyle Hierholzer
Ellie Spain

Ellie Spain

ALTIS Director of Education

We are excited to now announce the arrival of Coach Kyle Hierholzer as the latest new addition to our Coaching Staff. A native of Boerne, Texas, Hierholzer joined the staff of Kansas State University in the summer of 2006 following Coaching positions in Texas at South Plains and Texas State. A former Decathlete who comes to Phoenix leaving an impressive trail of success in his wake, Kyle is now set to make the move to Altis.

“We are super excited that Kyle has decided to continue his coaching career in Phoenix with us” said Performance Director, Stuart McMillan. “He has proved to be a talented coach, with success across multiple event groups. Aside from working with our jumps group, Kyle will take a leadership position within our coaching education program. We are all eagerly awaiting his arrival – and I am confident that he will be a great addition to our Team.”

We sat down with Kyle to find out more.

Kyle, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Can you give us a little background into yourself as a Coach; how and when did you start coaching, where have you been based and what event groups do you coach?

Sure…I started coaching as a graduate assistant at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX during the 2003-04 season. In this position I was directly responsible for the Vertical Jumps and Combined Event athletes. After I completed my Graduate Assistant position I coached for one year at South Plains Junior College, in Levelland, TX. While at South Plains I worked with all of the Jumps and Combined Events. In the summer of 2006, I was hired at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. I coached at K-State until August of 2014, and during this time I worked in the Speed/Power events under the direction of Coach Cliff Rovelto. I was also most recently directly responsible for the training design and day to day coaching of the Pole Vault athletes.

Could you briefly describe your coaching philosophy?

I believe my coaching philosophy could be described as a holistic approach that is athlete centered. It makes sense to me to emphasize athlete strengths, and work over time to improve areas that may be perceived as weaknesses. I prefer to keep the big picture in mind, and work with each athlete as an individual in the pursuit of their goals. I bring a positive atmosphere to coaching, and work hard to develop a sense of independence among the athletes so that they are prepared for future competitions, and life in general, where the coach or support system may not be able to be present.

“I bring a positive atmosphere to coaching, and work hard to develop a sense of independence among the athletes so that they are prepared for future competitions, and life in general.”

Coach Kyle Hierholzer

What have been your greatest successes so far as a Coach?

That is tough to answer for me because I see so many different opportunities for success. Ultimately, I think we as coaches may be judged by medals and championships externally, but our internal successes may come from a totally different environment. I have been fortunate to work with some amazing athletes that have done some incredible things at the Junior College, Big 12, NCAA, US Junior, and World Junior Levels. I have also observed and been part of the support system at K-State where there have been numerous athletes achieve things at the highest level of our sport. I would not want to place the success of one athlete over another, as they each present their own road of obstacles to overcome. During the 2013-14 season, it was equally satisfying for me to see an athlete take 7th place at the conference meet as it was to see another athlete take 7th place at the NCAA meet.

Have you had any major disappointments in your coaching career? If so what were they and what did you learn from them?

Sure, there have been many different disappointments I have experienced as coach and as a person. Again, I don’t think that any one outweighs another. I have always tried to go back and look at the X’s and O’s of training, and make adjustments or notes about what could have been done better or differently. However, the most important thing I think I have learned is that nobody is perfect, and we all have our flaws to overcome, including myself for sure. I think each disappointment or valley in life or in training can absolutely strengthen your Faith or provide an opportunity for growth, and you can come out stronger and more prepared for whatever lies ahead.

“I think each disappointment or valley in life or in training can absolutely strengthen your Faith or provide an opportunity for growth…”

Coach Kyle Hierholzer

What commonalities do successful athletes share in your opinion?

In my opinion, and from my observation of many elite level athletes I do think there a few things that they have in common. I believe that they do not necessarily love winning, but they absolutely hate losing. I believe they have extreme confidence which comes as a result of buying into their plan and their support system. They routinely do what is asked of them; but they listen to their bodies and communicate effectively what they are feeling. I believe they are resourceful, and choose to see the positive in a situation that others may see as a negative. They just find a way to get it done.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to a young coach looking to become the best they can be?

Find good mentors and communicate. I consider myself very blessed to have been around some awesome mentors in my career like Cliff Rovelto, Chris Beene, Don Hood, Galina Bukharina, Mike Smith, Boo Shexnayder, Todd Lane and several others I’m forgetting who all took the time to answer the questions of a young coach and athlete. My purpose is not to name drop when I mention them, but I think it’s important that people who are so willing to give back to our sport be recognized though many of them wouldn’t even want to be. I am looking forward to continuing to learn from all of the world class coaches at Altis. I don’t think it ever stops. As coaches we can learn from athletes, therapists, teachers, etc…Find what you believe in, and know what you won’t compromise about, then continue to search for knowledge.

And a young athlete?

Depends on what we mean by young, but one of my biggest soap box issues for really young athletes is to try and become as well rounded as possible! So many athletes are specifying in an event or in a sport at such a young age that we are seeing, at least anecdotally, a less well rounded generation of athletes who may be limited in the long term, by being so specific at a young age. Other than that I think finding a program you believe in, keeping a positive attitude, and staying the course through the ups and downs of training and life can go a long way for young developing athlete.

What are you looking forward to about joining Altis?

So many different things! I’m looking forward to being in such a well-rounded environment that provides a high level of training support. Not only the coaching and training aspect, but the therapy component is incredible. I think it’s a very exciting place to be, and I think it has the potential to add so much value to our sport, and to the profession of being a track and field athlete. I’m happy and honored to become part of this staff, and I look forward to giving back as much as I can!

Coach Kyle Hierholzer is on Twitter – you can follow him here.

Photo Credits: Scott Weaver Photos.

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