Coach’s Corner: Yassine Talhaoui

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Coach’s Corner: Yassine Talhaoui

Coach Talhaoui has seen his most successful season yet, boasting a 14-2 record this year as of Tuesday.

Coach Talhaoui has seen his most successful season yet, boasting a 14-2 record this year as of Tuesday.

Edward Guo ’19

Coach Talhaoui has seen his most successful season yet, boasting a 14-2 record this year as of Tuesday.

Edward Guo ’19

Edward Guo ’19

Coach Talhaoui has seen his most successful season yet, boasting a 14-2 record this year as of Tuesday.

Yassine Talhaoui joined the Hotchkiss community in 2016 and serves as the Director of Multicultural Recruitment, Associate Director of Admissions, and Head Coach of the Boys Varsity Basketball team. This is his third year leading the team. Co-captain Aidan Rodgers ’21 said, “Coach [Talhaoui] works extremely hard on and off the court for our team. He spends countless hours dedicating time to helping us become better players and better people.”

What led you to Hotchkiss?
[I wanted to] work with and for somebody I truly respected – Erby Mitchell, the Dean of Admissions. [In addition,] at the time I knew that Mr. Craig Bradley was going to accept the position [of Head of School]. Just working and learning from those two [has been] an amazing professional development opportunity for me.
I was in awe [of] the energy of campus when I visited. I had all the intentions of not liking Hotchkiss, to be honest, [but] I fell in love with the energy, the students, the warmth of this place, the standard that the school has, and the [standards that] students set for themselves.
What do you love most about the sport of basketball?
The camaraderie and the ability to never outgrow the sport. You can never reach a perfect status. It gives so much more than you can actually give to it. It is a sport that requires a lot of discipline [and] patience. It requires constant decision-making on every possession, whether you are on defense or offense. There are so many variables that come into play.

What mindset do you try to instill in your players?
The biggest [goal] I have is that it’s a true family on the team. It’s not just a brotherhood, because we have also managers who don’t identify as male, so we look at it as a family. We have “family” written on the back of our shirts, and we live by that. We travel together internationally. We look out for each other. We make sure that we don’t make mistakes. The biggest mindset or philosophy is really just living by that family motto we have created.

To what do you attribute the team’s recent success?
[The] shared experience of working incredibly hard and going through that shared experience of living at Hotchkiss. With the exception of two students, all of our [players] are living on campus.
They win together and they lose together. I don’t think that bond was created out of success. It helps certainly, but I wouldn’t credit it to success. I think it has more to with the work that goes into whatever is leading up to the success. All that work, that journey together; I think that brings them closer together.

What is the biggest challenge for the team this year?
Staying healthy is one big challenge, because [the team has] such a gruesome and demanding schedule. Another challenge is that we have a big target on our backs. Schools want to beat Hotchkiss.
Just making sure that we remain disciplined, patient, and that we stick to our game plan is a big challenge as well. I am so grateful that we have an amazing Health Center here. Special credit to Coach [Brodie] Quinn [’10], not only for getting our students [ready] before the season, but even during the season with injury prevention and recovery.
We have a program that is really well-respected now, not just [by] other high schools and independent schools, but more importantly by colleges and universities who see what we have done in terms of transforming bodies. [By] taking nutrition [and] strength conditioning very seriously, I think we are on the right track.