Coach’s Corner: Mr. Oberto

Paul Oberto began coaching baseball at Hotchkiss in 2001. He served as head coach from 2003 until 2014, when Coach Tyler Wosleger replaced him. Oberto returned to his head role last year. Carlos Martinez ’22 said, “He is a very relatable, understanding coach who cares about us athletes and our well-being.”


What do you like most about coaching?

I coached football for a long time here, and football and baseball are both fairly strategic games. There’s a little bit more control that the coach has, so there are smaller aspects and details that you can really hone in on and have some input. I’ve always liked that. We have confident and smart athletes who can do those things, so that’s been fun for me.

How has the baseball team changed during your time here?

When I first started, we had a lot of athletes who would cross over between multiple sports. I think we just see less of that now. Kids come in a bit more specialized, focusing more on just one sport. The kids who end up being significant contributors on the Varsity teams come in with a lot more experience and coaching. They may have had a lot more travel, AAU tournament and showcase team type of play, and coaching that they come in with. It’s not necessarily better or worse, but just different.

What challenges have the team faced this season?

COVID-19 has brought challenges regarding experience. There are definitely players who didn’t get a chance to play in 2019, and also over the course of the summer and the year. Not everyone had an opportunity to compete or play baseball, so there are some players who just haven’t been on a baseball field in a competitive situation for over a year. It just takes a while to give feedback on how players are doing and build their skills back up.

What are some tips for aspiring Varsity players?

Play a lot of baseball, since it’s a sport of repetition, confidence, and awareness of your skill-set and your mechanics in your swinging and throwing. It takes intentional practicing and coaching to improve on those things. That can be hard to do on your own, so the more experience you can have playing and getting coaching in a team atmosphere, the better. 

What are some important qualities that you look for in a captain?

Ideally, they’re contributing players. In any sport as a captain, you have to be selfless and put the good of the other players, particularly the ones who aren’t as experienced or developed, ahead of your own good. At the same time, you have the responsibility to keep up your own performance to benefit your team as well. People who can do that understand that you put your team and your teammates first, but know to carve out a little bit of extra time to make sure you’re keeping up your performance level, so your captaincy isn’t at the expense of your performance. 

What are your hopes for the future of the team?

Our group of Seniors are very good players, certainly one of the stronger groups that we’ve had, in terms of their baseball skills. As an outlook for the future, this year we have some Preps on the team. Some of them are a bit overwhelmed by the competition right now, playing against older and more experienced players, but that’s always a good experience to have. They listen and want to be coached, so they’ve already shown improvement over the last two or three weeks, which bodes well for the future of the team. 

Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.