Recently a very humbling thing happened to me that reminded me of the role coaches can play in young people’s lives.
If you didn’t know, earlier in my ‘professional life’ I was a Head Baseball Coach and Strength & Conditioning Coach at a small state University in Ohio.
A few days ago I was speaking with one of my former players (Ted) who is now the Head Coach at the University I coached at and he told me that in the Spring they would be hosting the Pat Rigsby Invitational Tournament – something that he and another player I coached (Brian) who is also a Collegiate Head Coach dreamed up and will have their teams participating in.
Needless to say – I was very humbled and very honored.
But it also reminded me once again of the impact that a coach can have on a young person. I think back to several of my coaches and the experience they helped me have and how it instilled a lifelong love of sports in me.
In fact, about a decade later I look back to my baseball coaching days and the things that I’m most proud of are the successes that my former players have achieved and how many of them have gone into coaching – hopefully, in part, a testament to them having a good experience while they were under my care.
I do some coaching again, and these days it’s with 9 yr. olds instead of college athletes. A decade ago my objectives revolved around winning Championships, beating rivals and graduating players. Now my goal is pretty simple – I want the kids to have a good enough experience that they are excited to play again next season.
If that happens I feel like I’ve done my job as a coach.
My logic is simple: if they’re excited about playing again next season then they’ve obviously improved over the course of this season. They’ve had their share of successes. They had fun. They weren’t bored. It was a positive enough experience that they’re excited to do it again.
I truly believe that, outside of a parent, a coach can have as much or more impact than anyone on a young person. And (to quote either Voltaire or Spider Man) ‘with this great power comes great responsibility.’
It’s our responsibility as a coach to not only teach the fundamentals and mechanics of sport and fitness. It’s our responsibilities to help instill values. It’s also our responsibility to provide an experience for the young people we serve that ignites a passion for sport and fitness. All things that carry on once your time with them comes to an end.
There were a handful of coaches that did this for me. They taught. They inspired. They instilled a passion that continues to this day. That’s the power of a coach.
Dedicated to your success,