Yester is master of motivation

ITS CERTAINLY IS INTERESTING what coaches will use for motivation when it comes to this time of year, when championships are won and lost.
For some, it’s an extra five minutes off of practice. For others, it’s less running at the end of practice. At Morgantown High School, it’s a refrigerator and a nice cold Gatorade.
Of course, leave it to Tom Yester to come up with the latest motivation for a group of players who rarely see their names or pictures in print.
Then again, this is why Yester is heading to his 14th state tournament on Thursday with his Morgantown High School boys’ basketball team. At the beginning of the season, Yester bought an old refrigerator and had it moved to the basement of MHS so his players could have a cold drink of water at the end of practice. Seemed like a simple idea. A logical one. But here’s where Yester, a veteran coach, turns a simple idea into a brilliant one. As the season progressed, he needed a way to help his team continue to improve, and designated one team as the scout team. The team that would help the Mohigans prepare for each upcoming opponent. They are the blue group.
“We’re the blue squad,” Michael Caridi, a junior for MHS, said to correct his coach. “We try to take pride in helping our teammates out. We know this isn’t our year to shine but we try to do the little things to help our teammates out in the game.”
With Yester’s team pushing its way deep into the playoffs, he wanted to show just how important this blue squad was to the success of the entire team.
So, he started to buy bottles of Gatorade just for the blue squad.
He wanted to single them out for their hard work that wasn’t noticed by those who weren’t at MHS practice.
“They seem to like that lemonlime stuff but they’ll take whatever,” Yester said. “They have to play more defense than anyone else and we try to give them a few perks to show them how important they are.”
In fact, Caridi said there was one practice when the blue squad didn’t play a lick of offense. They played defense for hours and enjoyed every minute of it.
And at the end of it all — a cold Gatorade awaited.
That’s it. A bottle of Gatorade and a refrigerator and Yester gets a trip to the state tournament.
Coaches of the world take note.
In all seriousness, it goes to show just how much this group of players respects Yester and each other.
Members of the blue squad are willing to sit on their egos for a season, to help out the rest of the team. While the rest of the team is willing to let the blue squad get a few perks as a way of thanking them for a job well done.
“Obviously, it’s good to be appreciated,” Caridi said. “It’s good for people to realize what you’ve done. But the rest of the team isn’t completely oblivious. They know what we are doing - they know that we help get them ready for each game.”
And the Gatorade?
That’s Yester’s way of saying “Nice job.”
Which, according to Caridi is better than any flavor he’s ever had.
“The thing I like about coach Yester is that he’s going to give it to you the way it is,” Caridi said. “Whenever you can get a compliment out of coach Yester, I guess you are doing something right.”
ERIC HERTER is the sports editor of The Dominion Post. Write to him at