Monday, August 6, 2012

The Coach

I'm a coach. NCCP Trained in Instructional Sport Karate and Community Sport Baseball. Here is proof.

I love to coach. Not because I think I'm good and I want to pass on my skills, but because I want to see kids excel in a sport that we all love. We may not always win, but as long as the athlete is improving, overcoming obstacles and enjoying themselves, then they will never lose.

I started this article because eight of my students participated in the recent (June 2012) New Brunswick Chinto-Ryu Tournament, and I was very proud of their accomplishments. They took home eight medals, and it was the first tournament for seven of those students. I wanted this article to focus on the importance of the coach in a young athlete's life and how enjoyable it is to be the person who helps a young athlete excel. A few things have happened this summer that have changed the original tone and intention of this article.

All of my kids play ball (and hockey, and karate).  My oldest plays Little League at the Mosquito level (9 - 11). I have ALWAYS been involved with coaching him, but this year I was unable to due to commitments with another age group for which I am the head coach.

My son's head coach is very intense. I have no doubt that his heart is in the right place, but I have personally witnessed him using intimidation and ridicule as a coaching tactic, and I have trouble expressing just how disgusted I am with him for that. It was not my son that was involved, but the kids who were targeted absolutely love to play baseball, and now, they have to be coerced by their parents to come out and play with the team. I feel horrible that this has happened, not just because there are kids who don't like to play ball anymore, and not just because kids are witnessing a person of authority bullying their teammates, but because I stood by and let it happen. I feel like I have let those kids down; those kids that I coached last year and had so much fun playing ball; those kids that still turn to me and ask "Hey Terry! Did you see that hit I made?" even though it has been two or more years since I coached them; those kids who I encouraged to work hard and celebrate their accomplishments. I have let them all down.

I won't let them down again. I won't let ANY of them down. Not the ball players, and not the karateka. Kids not only deserve a good coach, but they need one as well. Someone to teach them that just because they didn't win the match doesn't mean that they lost, and if they work hard towards a goal and be honest with themselves, nothing can keep them from achieving it. So far, the only thing my son's team is learning is that if they don't screw up, then they won't get hollered at on the field in front of the other team.

People won't remember what you did. People won't remember what you said. But people will always remember the way you made them feel.  - Unknown