Kids Coaching teaches us
Blake came to me as a quiet, shy and terribly uncoordinated
13 years old and quite tall for his age, I knew the second I saw
him that I was going to like the kid.
He never said much and certainly had a great deal of difficulty
learning how to perform even the most basic of exercises, but
he was steadfast in his work ethic and always brought a good
energy to the training center.
I learned a lot over the years from kids coaching and from Blake.
Mostly, how to enjoy and appreciate the very small things in life.
His last training session with me was on a humid and sweaty
Chicago-style, August afternoon.
Walking into my facility, I noticed an unfamiliar bounce to his
stride and a larger than usual, ear-to-ear grin on his face.
"What’s goin’ on, my friend" I greeted him.
"Why such a perky smile?"
"Tomorrow, football tryouts start and I’m geared up!" he replied.
I tend to get tunnel vision as the summer months dwindle down.
I have dozens upon dozens of college athletes returning to play
fall sports and even more high school kids phasing up for
football and basketball.
"That’s right! What position you trying out for? You expecting
a ton of playing time, I assume?" I asked.
"Don’t care to be honest. Just looking forward to strapping on a
helmet and being part of a team"
His answer struck something in me that I didn’t quite understand at
the time, but would be overwhelmed with a few short months later.
Late September, same year.
Blake was attending the same high school that I served as Head
Strength Coach at.
Great bunch of kids all around.
Dedicated, hard working and a Coaching Staff that truly valued the
kid inside the athlete.
And I’ll be honest…
I ADORED Friday nights.
I got to patrol the sidelines.
Home games especially.
There is just something magical about high school football in the cool
So there I was.
Patrolling as usual.
Laid back as I am in my daily life, I get ultra-serious and intense when
it comes to competition.
My own or my athletes.
And "stalking" is something I’ve become known for by my athletes and
I pace. With purpose. Up and down the sidelines.
Into the game.
Watching every play.
Noticing who put out effort on that down and who didn’t.
Wishing I was playing myself.
As I walked by a group of team members, I noticed something
out of the corner of my eye that for some reason caught my
It seemed out of place on a football field.
Turning to look, there he was.
In full uniform – not a single mud stain on his jersey.
He hadn’t played a down that year and in fact, didn’t for the entire
But there he stood, that same perky grin going from ear-to-ear.
I stopped and looked at him for a second and just admired.
The consummate team player.
Worked hard everyday in practice and never complained about
And that night, his smile had a sort of "taking it all it"look about it.
I’ll never forget Blake.
Hard worker, quiet, shy, but most of all…
…Was more than happy with his place in the world.
Sometimes kids Coaching isn’t about pursuing excellence above and
beyond, it’s about helping young people succeed in the capacities
that THEY choose.
We spend so much time wanting for our young athletes and working
with Blake made me re-connect with the reality that what makes
them happy is most important.
Working with young people with fitness and sport as the vehicle has
been the most rewarding experience of my life.
And it’s why I started the IYCA.
To empower and support professionals who wanted to have the same
kind of experiences I was blessed to have.
Click on the link below and listen to some of the experiences current
IYCA professionals are having since joining our organization -
Tomorrow, I’m going to tell you about Robert.
Talk about a man amongst boys…