It’s no secret everyone loves a winner, wants to be a winner or have a direct affiliation with… you guessed it… a winner. As a coach, hoisting up the championship trophy at the end of the season is usually the main goal. But how do we get there and remain consistent is the million-dollar question. No, I’m not talking NFL, MLB or NBA level success but you might think that if you take part in the drafting process at the recreational level. Yes, I said rec not competitive, where late-night wrangling and strategizing to form the best team is the norm. The word “intense” is not sufficient for an adjective to describe drafting but you must stay the course. Consistent winning can attain a coach royalty status before their wins are only remembered through dusty team photos. The real answer to the big money question lies within yet another basic inquiry—why do we coach? Besides pure necessity, quality time spent with our kids outside the home ranks high. No one gets paid in rec (except for friendly bets between rival managers) so financial gain wouldn’t be a factor. I believe the fundamental purpose should be the enjoyment in helping kids learn.
Most children, at any age starting out have limited to no skill and coaches need a lot of patience. We are often teaching kids athletic exercises that are foreign and the fear of failure lingers in the air. So it is imperative to give balanced instruction to make the activity interesting and fun. This can be both challenging and intimidating for most first time coaches and I would be lying if I said coaching is for everyone. However, once you accept the challenge quitting is usually not an option. I’ve seen coaches who I thought had the temperament crumble at the sound of screaming first graders. A positive attitude and upbeat personality are essential attributes in grasping the attention span of adolescents. We throw around the term ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) onto our kids for fun not realizing that many kids are affected by this condition and should not be taken lightly. As adults, we often wear the same designation as an escape mechanism as to why we forget when the real reason is usually lack of interest. As players get older their ability to retain information often gets better, allowing a coach to broaden the scope of instruction.
The very definition of a coach is one who teaches; possessing the ability to prepare individuals on how to perform at their best. As coaches, we must be cognizant of why we do this and the responsibilities that come with it. Depending on the sport, kids vary in skill and with that the amount of instruction needed a good coach can sense. I believe the best coaches are ones who can multitask, on a level that if dissected would be hard-pressed to ever say the words “I CAN’T”. These mere mortals are superwomen and men who sacrifice, in some instances time with their own families, to support the community. They give kids reasons to feel confident in themselves which more often than not translates to becoming a better person. Statistics show social skills, schoolwork, and a positive outlook can be attributed to the values coaches instill in their players. Let’s be honest, parents, grandparents, teachers, clergy and mentors often do the same without kicking, shooting or hitting a ball. However, coaches carry the same responsibilities usually without financial compensation for their time. Coaching has been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done because I’ve personally seen a positive difference in kids who will be the leaders of tomorrow and for me, that is the secret to winning!