A coach is someone who takes a child and teaches them something. For me, it’s not as much about what they teach them about the sport as it is about how they teach them to be a good sport.
Tonight something became very,very clear to me. I would rather lose under a good coach then to win under the wrong one.
A coach takes a child teaches them the fundamentals, builds their understanding of the sport and thru repetition gives the young athlete confidence to do their job. A good coach teaches fundamentals, uses every opportunity to teach the mechanics of the sports and gives the athlete enough practice and encouragement to do their job when they take the court of the field. A GREAT coach does all this but they don’t stop there. A GREAT coach sees potential. A GREAT coach teaches athletes how to win but they also teach them how to lose. A GREAT coach puts every player in during the semi-championship game even when the score is tight. They do so without hesitation, without a moment of doubt.
A good coach rallies their team and keeps them fighting even when their fighting spirit is waning. A good coach isn’t the loudest on the court…in fact sometimes the best coach is the one that crouches quietly beside a young girl as she gets ready to go to bat and whispers words of encouragement. A GREAT coach has something positive to say to every single player that comes off the field or the court. GREAT coaches inspire trust. They inspire their players to give more than they think they can, to run faster then they have ever done before and to take the ball and lob it high into the air…even when they think they will never score.
A GREAT coach sees a young girl that isn’t the most talented or athletic but who has the ability to lead. He sees rough, raw potential and he works it and molds it and polishes those skills until they shine! A great coach knows that sometimes it’s not about the girl that can throw the fastest, dribble the best or hit the hardest. Sometimes it’s the size of the young athletes heart that makes them a star. A GREAT coach works to make sure that each girl shines in whatever way they can. A good coach wins but a GREAT coach makes sure every girl feels like a winner.
A GREAT coach has that winning, competitive drive. They do. But a GREAT coach won’t sacrifice grace or class for a point. They lead by example and remain calm no matter what chaos and drama swirls around them. A GREAT coach is upset by a BAD coach but they handle themselves with decorum—2 wrongs will never make a right. A GREAT coach tells their players, “We play our game! We don’t play theirs,” when the sportsmanship becomes questionable.
My daughter has been lucky enough to have GREAT coaches. I’ve watched her learn and grow and shine. I’ve seen her smile with pride and collapse in tears. Our GREAT coaches have dried more then a few tears from her face. They’ve found more than one reason to boost her morale, to make her believe and have said more then one thing to ignite her fighting spirit. I can’t nurture her athletes heart. I am not an athlete. I am her mom. Some of the best moments of my life have been watching her blossom under coaches who have believed in her and have worked to make sure she believes in herself.
Young sports are not about the trophies for me. They are about the moments–those moments that happen between the anthem but before the final score flashes. The moments that show character, that build character–those are the moments our young athletes will remember. In 10 years my daughter won’t remember the score of tonights game. What she WILL remember is that she got to play. She’ll remember an awesome pass she made under the basket. She’ll remember getting her hands on the ball and throwing it up in the air. She will also remember that she didn’t make the basket…and that is okay. She’s already asked to get up early tomorrow to practice. Those 2 points wouldn’t have won the game but the lesson she won by missing…that will last a lifetime. Coaches teach our daughters to go for the basket, swing for the fences and slide for that stolen base. GREAT coaches teach them that when they miss that basket, fall short of the fence or get called out that they have to work a little harder-a little longer so that next time the outcome is a bit different. Those lessons…well those lessons are life lessons and are far more important than the final score. To me anyway.