Mark Gall thinks sports should be fun. That may seem like an obvious statement but many young athletes lose their love of sports for one reason or another.
Gall didn’t want that to happen to his 7-year old brother Robert. So, he’s spending part of his spring helping coach his brother’s travel baseball team.
A native of Summit, N.J. and a junior at The Hun School, where he’s a forward on the hockey team, Gall seized on the opportunity to have an impact on his brother’s life.
“I understand the importance that a coach can play in an athlete’s life,” he said. “So, when I was presented with the opportunity, I felt like I could make a positive impact on these kids because they’re so young.
“My dad came with the idea and I thought it would be great because I want to interact with my little brother, especially now since I’m going to college. I thought like I could have an impact on the team as a whole and my little brother.”
Gall played baseball growing up, but the former shortstop put away his bat and glove at age 13 to concentrate on hockey. He speaks to the importance of young athletes having fun.
“The most important part is that you have fun,” he said. “You don’t want any kid to feel like they’re being forced to play. You want them to feel like you want to play, so I feel like can make things more fun, because the head coach of the baseball team is pretty serous. So, I like to come in and kind of relax everybody and make it more of and fun experience.”
Gall says Ian McNally his coach at Hun School, is committed to giving his players a positive experience.
“I started playing for Ian after I quit baseball,” Gall said, “but he definitely teaches about what it’s like to have a great team environment and overall how to be a better man.
“He gives everybody a shot. There’s not only one team that he lets sit on the bench and rot away their potential. He gives everybody a shot and if he sees somebody that’s disengaged, he makes sure that they’re (involved).”
Gall says he wasn’t so fortunate earlier in his hockey career when he played for a coach who wasn’t as focused on his players having fun.
“It was more kike just a business,” he recalls. “It was just all around a tough experience, he’s a tough coach. It was to the point where you would be afraid to make a mistake or mess up a drill.
“That circles back to Ian McNally and his caching style. He has his players not afraid to do something wrong.”
Gall says committed to seeing that his brother and his teammates enjoy their foray into team sports.
“I want them to experience the fun part of it,” he said, “and I want them to realize that if they are ever presented with a coach that is going to basically scold them and talk bad about them, that that’s not really what the game is all about. It’s about having fun and getting better and learning to be a better man.”