September 24, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 3 comments
After a 23 year tenure as the head coach of the Amherst Regional High School varsity boys’ ultimate team, Tiina Booth will be retiring, she announced late last week on Facebook. She was the longest tenured youth ultimate coach in the country, and her departure marks the end of an era at one of the finest high school programs in the United States.
Despite her decision to step down at ARHS, Booth plans to continue — and expand — her work in other areas of ultimate. She will continue to operate the National Ultimate Training Camp (NUTC), perhaps the highest profile youth ultimate camp in the country, and has plans for expansion in the near future.
“This year we offered a middle school NUTC for the first time,” she told Ultiworld. “That will continue, and we also hope to offer a girls-only camp soon as well.”
Booth also hopes to find more time to travel both domestically and internationally to offer clinics and trainings now that she has the spring season off.
She had known for years that she was ready to complete her coaching career at ARHS, but had promised one of her players that she would coach through his senior year, which finished this Spring. With no other promises to keep to other players, she knew it was time to step down.
“I was ready to do it,” she said. “It’s a bittersweet decision.”
She eventually hopes to find time to coach at another level, either college or club, perhaps as soon as 2015. She has no particular team in mind, but said that she wants to work with one in her area that is “ready to take it to the next level.”
Booth’s focus has long been on fundamentals: both on-field skills and mental preparation. She takes a keen interest in sports psychology and believes that most teams (even those at the elite level) have no idea how to train the mental aspect of their game. It’s one of the wild cards that has kept Amherst at the very top of the youth game for decades.
As for her successor at ARHS, a new candidate will be selected by a committee of faculty members, students, ultimate coaches, and parents. She will have no input into the decision, but did say that she will do everything she can to make the transition as smooth as possible.
She will also no longer be involved with the Amherst Invitational tournament.
For Booth, the decision to leave ARHS, where she retired from teaching four years ago, marks more of an evolution than a full-on retirement. It could mean that her influence on the higher levels of the sport, including the club division (where she currently coaches Amherst Dark or Light, the top Select team in the Northeast and a contender for a bid to the Club Championships this season), will begin to increase.
If you are an Amherst alumnus and Tiina Booth made you a better player or coach, we would love to hear your stories. Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.