Local coach strives to improve upon the past

by James Stewart, Staff Writer

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     In the lives of all athletes, there is usually a coach or two that completely change your life for the better, but not in this case.

    Bonnie Zimmermann, a light-hearted Physical Education and Health teacher from Feasterville, PA, walks through the high school as if she owns the hallways. Zimmermann is approaching 60 and has sports-centered background rich with experience. From a young age she played a wide array of sports that included soccer, basketball, softball, cheerleading, and dancing.

     Although Zimmermann was a well-rounded athlete, there was one small problem: she was kicked off both the basketball and softball teams. “My coaches never liked cheerleaders,” she explained. 

     Zimmermann dreamed of working in fitness from a young age, so now she is just living the dream. 

     “I can’t sit still, and I don’t really like dressing up either,” Zimmermann said.

     Teaching Physical Education wasn’t her first career. She was originally a buyer for women’s fragrances at a major New York department store chain, but she stopped after the birth of her son. She then switched her focus to earning  a teaching certification in Physical Education from William Paterson University.

     Zimmermann started coaching for her children at the recreational level in sports like soccer, basketball, softball, and baseball.

     Her first paid coaching job was bringing back the middle school volleyball team in 1999, which had been defunct for years. She had played volleyball in college and served as the coach until 2004.

     Zimmermann made the switch to tennis after she worked at the Ridgewood Racquet Club where she ran team practices and a league. She learned a lot about tennis, and she began to play in her own league. She became the high school tennis head coach in 2007.

   “It was really just about where I felt most comfortable,” she said.

    Zimmermann said that  she wanted to “balance out all of the horrible coaches” that she had during her time playing sports. Zimmermann said that she had a “big bag full of ‘em” growing up.  

     Zimmermann said that what coaches do behind the scenes is crucial for success in any sport. She thinks about individual player’s needs, along with the needs of the entire team.

     Unlike many coaches who may prioritize the skills of the player, Zimmermann thinks about how confident the person is, their mental approach, as well as their physical approach (stretching, pre-game routine etc.)

     Zimmermann is a very successful coach. She has won multiple state titles, and has ran through the NJIC the past several years. She said, “All of my players are motivated. They want to continue our winning tradition”.

     Zimmermann’s team is preparing for some really big games in the coming week  They are coming off capturing the state sectional title versus Kinnelon, and clinching the NJIC league title both this past week. They will look to capture the the Group 1 state title on Friday versus Gateway Regional School on October 18th. 

     Zimmermann believes that kids need to have the right guidance, and that they should receive the message so that they push their limits,try new things, and succeed. 

      Zimmermann said that the best thing that coaching has brought to her life has been “twenty years of amazing relationships with young athletes, and being able to watch them grow up.”