The 19-year-old coach


You's Family

Ethan You clearing over a bar, pushing his pole away mid air.

Ben Cadieux

Ethan You is the new 19-year-old pole vault coach for West Ottawa’s track team. Graduating from Zeeland West High school two years ago, he is the youngest coach in all of West Ottawa. Even though You only graduated from high school two years ago, he still has the knowledge and skill to coach our vault team just as well as any other coach older than him. 

    You was the assistant pole vault coach at Zeeland West last year. When former vault coach George Sipes left West Ottawa, a position for coaching opened up and You saw the opportunity. Before he became coach at West Ottawa, he was vaulting heights up to 13 feet and 3 inches as a high school pole vaulter. He was coached by Walt Kooyer, who is the pole vault coach for Zeeland West and has similar coaching techniques to coach Sipes. Sipes coached at West Ottawa for 4 years and helped a lot of athletes become great pole vaulters. He left West Ottawa near the beginning of summer to coach at Western Michigan University. Sipes and Kooyer had a close relationship, with them having winter practices at Zeeland West. Being coached by someone that went to Zeeland West wouldn’t be that much of a change. Since our vault team is being coached by someone who we’ve worked with before, we wouldn’t have to learn anything and change how we vault. 

  Fortunately, due to You’s young physique, he can participate in vaulting along with his athletes. When asked how his coaching skills compare to other coaches, he said,” All coaches have different styles of coaching. All of which can’t work for every athlete because every athlete learns and understands things differently. I bring an understanding that each athlete is unique. I also am able to actually vault with athletes and show drills that other coaches might not be able to.” 

   This is a big benefit for us since You is able to physically show things in a vault by vaulting himself. Allowing us to have a set example of how we’re supposed to do something. Another benefit of You being as young as he is, it’s a lot easier for athletes to connect with him. One of the pole vaulters this year Jr. Khialy Thach, had this to say about coach You. “Although he may not have as much experience as Sipes, he provides a fresh point of view and we’re able to connect with him better since he’s younger.”

   Even though You is the youngest coach in all of West Ottawa, he still has the ability to be just as good of a coach as any other coach older than him.