Cross country coach emphasizes focus on individuals, not just team

Prior to coming to CBU in 2012, Dr. Ben Gall, head coach for the cross country team at California Baptist University, spent 10 years as the assistant head coach of the cross country and track teams at Northwest Nazarene University.

After moving into the head coaching position at CBU, Gall took the time to get to know each of the cross country athletes so he could better coach them as individuals, not just as a team.

Gall, a runner himself, found his love for the sport during a physical education class during his sophomore year in high school. He said he ran better than most of his classmates, and he was convinced that he should join the cross country team.

Running played an important role in the continuation of Gall’s education when he earned a scholarship to Eastern Oregon University during his senior year. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2002, and began coaching a couple months later.

The CBU runners said they are fond of Gall and his coaching style that puts an emphasis on the individual.

Taylor Guske, senior exercise science major and cross country runner, said he appreciates that Gall keeps an open mind about what each team member needs.

“With my training specifically, he knows that a larger amount of running benefits me,” Guske said. “He takes elements from each runner and knows what each of them needs and he is willing to listen.”

Guske also said he is appreciative of the way Gall adapts his coaching to each athlete.

“Reminding them of their goals is one thing, both individually and collectively,” Gall said. “We stress that it is God’s desire for them to fulfill their potential as a runner.”

Gall said he and his wife were not sure what they were going to encounter when they came to CBU. However, they fell in love with the campus the first time they visited.

“There’s a lot of support here,” Gall said. “God really led us here.”

About Hannah Tamimi

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