Mock Trial Coach Looks Back at Great Year

Matthew Yan, Moscone Emblidge & Otis

Balboa Team with Matt Yan

Balboa Team with Matt Yan

Coaching high schoolers feels a lot like making popcorn: you add heat and agitation, then pray that everything “pops” in the end.

Despite months of editing scripts, running objection drills, and repeating “slow down and speak up” like a shamanistic mantra, it was never obvious that this bag would pop. But through commitment, perseverance, and old-fashioned good luck, our students surprised us once again, sending Balboa to its third County and second State finals in three years.

I look back after seven years of coaching in awe of what our coaches and students have built. Balboa’s team has always been a motley assortment–debaters and cheerleaders, jocks and honors students–united under the principle that hard work and an uncompromising devotion to excellence is the surest path to victory.

Nearly two dozen attorneys have volunteered thousands of hours teaching public speaking, effective argument, textual analysis, and improvisation, lessons our students will draw on for the rest of their lives. And the students have fostered a unique culture that has come to define Balboa’s team: focused and fierce inside the courtroom, and friendly, goofy, and welcoming outside of it. Balboa put on a strong showing at State and made a stronger run at the Congeniality prize. We could not be more proud.

Learn more about the Mock Trial program at or watch the brief video below: