Starting something new and unknown in life can be extremely daunting, but often, just as rewarding.
In the world of youth sports I would watch from the sidelines when my oldest son first started playing organized soccer and think to myself, “I can coach this.”
After that the only question was, “Do I want to coach this?”
Family, work, home. Most of us have them all and most of us struggle on a daily basis to find the balance between them. I’ve gone straight to soccer after work because of a time crunch and have skipped soccer to stay home with our little guy when he was feeling sick. If I was to be a coach, such speed bumps and stutter steps with regards to my attendance would be much less acceptable, if at all. So, at first, I hesitated and decided to prioritize family/work/home over heading the call of volunteering to be a youth sports coach.
A call that currently is loud and nearing the point of desperation.
If you’re not seeing this need for volunteer coaches in your city or town then kudos to you guys, for most everyone I talk to or everything I read references this shortage. To be honest, this lack of youth activity volunteers isn’t just in coaching. The classroom, town holiday events, youth activities at church, etc… Everybody needs help. Help that, to be blunt, comes from you and I.
So here one stands. Faced with the challenge of adding to your already full plate and entering a world completely unfamiliar and unknown, one of responsibility and accountability, or standing pat so as not to upset the tenuous balance you may currently have. Rinse and repeat? Or time to rock the boat?
Only you know the answer to that, but here is what I’ve learned from my decision to enter the world of coaching and maybe information that will help you make yours:
Turnover — The nature of the beast in youth sports is that coaches coach their kid’s teams and move up the ladder as their kid moves up. This basically means there is constant turnover at each level. There will always be a gap to be filled, and behind that gap, eager and bright-eyed kids who just want to have fun and learn. Fun and learning that can’t be had without the presence of an authority figure.
Personal growth — There is simply something about watching these kids “get it” after weeks of not “getting it” that does something good for the inside of your body. I honestly get choked up watching how far my kids have come. They actually now understand that all of those boring drills and practice sessions are leading to results in games. I’m watching practice sessions that used to be dominated by line cutting and gossiping turn into sessions with purpose; with drive and understanding.
Growing children — Like gardening, the growth of our children needs constant attention and care. If they are participating in an activity with minimal authority and instruction, kids will be kids and they will make their own rules and set their own standards. A soccer league with 5 coaches is going to have larger teams where each coach has less control over the group. A soccer league with 7 coaches yields that “smaller classroom” environment in which learning and instruction can be bestowed with greater effectivness. Whenever our kids are in an environment where they are following instructions in a group setting, they are growing.
Satisfaction — For me, this is the best part. I can’t even tell you how I felt the other day after my hockey team played their first real game. Their play embodied everything the other coaches and I worked on in practices and then some. They were passing, staying in position, and playing as a team. They were respectful of the other team and nobody was rubbing it in after our win and every single kid stood in that line and shook the hands of the other team and said “good game” and meant it. That’s my team, those are my kids, and I couldn’t be more proud.
Pardon me, I’ll be the coach over here in the corner wiping my eyes, it’s kind of dusty in here. Right?
I’m not saying you should coach your son’s or daughter’s youth sports team, I’m simply saying that they most likely could use you (in sports and beyond) and that if you end up taking on this challenge, you will surely be rewarded with this incredible feeling inside yourself that can’t even come close to being described in words.