Coaching Young Athletes
It truly is sad that my full-time coaching young athletes days are behind me.
I love to Coach.
I love it from every aspect and angle.
The relationships you build with your athletes.
The friendships you develop with their families.
The sense of pride you get from watching your athletes succeed.
The feelings of intense dedication you get from working "over-time"
trying to figure out how to communicate better with some of the
kids in your care.
I’ve been blessed to an extraordinary level and will always wear the
brand of "Coach" with great pride and distinction.
But the IYCA has taken my career a different direction.
No less exciting.
No less fulfilling.
And certainly no less challenging.
But I admit to longing for the days of waking up at the crack of dawn
and meeting my sleepy-eyed, yet eager athletes at the gym for a
spirited morning session.
I miss everything about being a full-time Coach.
And that’s why I’m going to indulge you (or perhaps it’s you indulging
me!) over the next few days with stories and recounts of some of the
most memorable days I spent when my name wasn’t "Brian Grasso"
"CEO" or "Founder".
I was known simply by one word…
It’s going to be a bittersweet stroll down memory lane for me, to be sure,
but one that;
I guarantee will entertain and be laced with lessons that you
can use in your own coaching young athletes practice.
In the meantime, indulge me with a quick story about your coaching life.
A funny tale.
Serious lesson you learned.
Anything you choose to share.
I will be reading with great enthusiasm and a touch of envy.
Tell me a quick story about your coaching days below –
13-years of in the trenches are over, but the culmination of the
lessons I learned and information I’ve gathered is alive and well.
Click here to understand more about what I’ve learned from my
"in the trenches" training and coaching experience
I have one moment in my 10 years of coaching that stands out more than any other and one I won’t ever forget. First let me say I love teaching kids, I believe it is more to teach them about real life than it is to teach them on the field. If you do it right you can teach the kid both about life and about themselves and about the sport that you are teaching.
This event happened 5 years ago on the baseball field. I had this kid that was a great kid, and also a very good player. His only problem was at times he lacked confidence. He is also a really good friend now and when ever I see him he always calls me coach even though I haven’t coached him in 4 years, which I don’t care who you are makes you feel good.
We were up by two runs and it was getting later in the game, my pitcher (son) was getting tired and I new he would have to come out. He was able to get one out and then he walked the next two. So I brought in THE KID. The first pitch they got a hit and scored a run, we were up by one and they had runners at second and third. His next pitch he hit the batter and loaded the bases, at that point is where his confidence went down and I knew we were in trouble. He was the best option I had so I had to think of something fast.
In the fall of the previous year my younger brother was killed while serving in Afgan. At that point I always carried around a coin from his squadron, so I called time and went out to talk to my pitcher. I told him to calm down relax and everything would be fine. When I talking to a player on a personal level I like to get down on my knees so we can look into each others eyes. He knew the story about my brother so I gave the coin to him and told him, just believe in yourself and good things would happen. I told him a quick story about the coin and he put it in his back pocket, got a big smile on his face and said, “okay coach.”
The next 6 pitches were all strikes and we won the game. Afterwards I pulled him to the side and told him he could keep the coin and no matter at what point in life, he was feeling down or anything he would have it to remember. I also told him that the game didn’t mean near as much to me as it did to see him succeed.
The next year I got an invitation from him to his grade school graduation, he had gotten all top honors and when he got up to speak he mentioned the story about the coin, and he still had it in his pocket. To this day he carries it with him.
I have really been blessed to work with some great kids, and look forward to many more years of working with them.
Thanks for letting me share my story.
I have so many great memories it’s hard to pick one. Being able to help teach and mentor kids is truly an awesome experience. As Ken said in the previous blog, it’s more about teaching and preparing kids for their life experiences than the nuances of any particular sport. I truly love it!
I was supervising an old fashioned game of Kickball outdoors with 3rd and 4th grade students at a private K-12 academy on the campus of the college where I work in the PE department. A timid, 3rd grade girl kept moving back into line trying to avoid being up to kick the ball(this particular student had lost her mother, lupus complications, on the first day she attended Kindergarten.
I went to her and asked why she wasn’t taking her turn, and she responded: “I always get out” I told her that if she did her best job then what’s important . . . everyone will see that she perservered (I explained to her that God will never give her anything to do that she couldn’t handle). Then I patted her on the shoulder and said, “now go get a homerun.” She did! 🙂 From that day forward I always greeted her with, “Here comes Homerun!” Last year she reminded of that day when I had a pic nic with the 9th and 10th grade PEshe will be applying to Medical School at U of M this year.
Back in the early ’90’s I had the opportunity to instruct pre-season aerobic fitness to our college’s Mens’ Basketball Athletes. We did everthing from slide training, step, kickboxing, ladder/cone drills, and dance. Just when I thought about ending the session I decided to go with my second wind. I told the team that I would attend all of their games and that I believed in them. I sat with the team and cheered thru their entire season (kind of like their Mom away from home). They ended up with a championship title and a senior athlete landed a spot on the “Survivor Show” (the 2nd season) in Africa.
Although I competed in athletics, track, football, and many other sports as a young man, I took up my wife’s sport of horse trials (eventing) when we married. In eventing the score for dressage, showjumping and cross country is totalled to achieve a result. From time to time I found errors in the official’s additions, and so learnt to always check.
Years later I coached a young lady in an under age multi-event. This was the national championship and it took place in Darwin, whilst I remained back home in Melbourne, awaiting news. About 8pm the event concluded and the young lady’s father rang excitedly to say she had secured the silver medal, a mere 60 points adrift of the winner. I asked the father to check the totals before the 15 minutes protest lodgement time expired, just to be sure. The next phone call I got was 20 minutes later to tell me that the girl was the national champion and had won by ONE POINT!!!
My paranoia, or just making sure everything was on the level? A lesson to be learnt, I think.
Between all coaches, I think we could write a couple of volumes of vignettes, thanks for letting me share this moment with all of you. Bye.
Who could beat the story Ken told? All these stories are amazing and unique. Just like every day I get to coach kids. Here is a moment I shared with a parent the other day. A parent dropping her son off to me for a training session called me over and asked if I had a moment. At first I was thinking uh oh? She teaches at a local high school and began telling me that the staff had a guest speaker to kick off the school year. The bulk of his speech was about all kids need someone outside the family that loves them unconditionally. Cares for them. Serves as a role model, a friend. This mom went home told her boys about the speech and asked them if there was someone in their lives that did this for them. With tears of joy in her eyes she said her oldest boy without hesitation said ” that’s an easy one, Coach Speckman”. She hugged me and thanked me for being that person for her Sam. That was truly a special moment for me and more importantly her. There are many more stories I could tell which is the beauty of coaching. EVERY DAY I GET TO COACH IS MY BEST DAY!!!!!
What differences and similarities do you see between Asian (India), US and European ideas on coaching training?…