Youth sports coaches come from a variety of different sports backgrounds, with various levels of knowledge within their game of choice. When signing up for the role, all coaches are aware of the effect they may have on each individual child athlete’s development. From physical skill, to work ethic, to sportsmanship, many of these attributes fall into the hands of the coach. But what about the effect that coaching has on the adult coach themselves? The benefits of coaching youth sports go beyond getting involved within your community and enjoying consistent exercise. The benefits I received from coaching have forever changed my life, and how I live each day.
Here are five life lessons that I learned from being a youth sports coach:
Keep Life In Perspective
Coaching allows you the opportunity to work with children from a variety of different upbringings and backgrounds. Some of the players come from very low-income families, while others may live lavishly. Because of this, I am always grateful for all that I have and remind myself how fortunate I am every day. However, when the players run out to the field, all differences are thrown aside and they are there to play the game. It is important to remember that is just a game. It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose. What does matter is that you enjoy playing the sport and that you find a value in current experiences balanced with the value of future opportunities– even when that includes a loss. In life off the field, I’ve learned that you must maintain the same perspective of value from experience as well as keeping balance so you don’t get consumed by one thing.
The Value Of A Good Hustle And Hard Work
You know the saying, “Good things come to those who hustle,” I would like to revise it to say, “Good things come to those who hustle and work hard.” The two go together. If you hustle that means you are going 100% all the way through. Combine that with the attributes of hard work such as, time, discipline, and commitment and you will see achieve your goals or even surpass them. Take baseball for example, when at bat, you don’t want to just reach first base, you want to run with everything you’ve got and go through the base. Whether your goals are sports-related, personal, or professional, the same idea applies. I’ve also found that when faced with an obstacle, you must exhibit the same hard work and 100% effort, to push through the challenge and persevere in order continue moving forward.
Be Ready For Anything At Anytime
As a coach, you must be ready and able to quickly adapt to always changing situations. Say a player gets injured during the game or the opposing team is continuously beating your defensive scheme. Using quick, flexible thinking, you need to present a new idea or solution. Outside the sports arena, you will be presented with new opportunities at any time, in relation to work, personal, community-driven, or even faith-related possibilities. When one door opens you don’t want to be skipped over because you are not prepared. If you are open minded and ready to step up when called upon, then you will feel confident to jump at any chance that you are presented with.
Play with Character And Integrity
Being a good teammate means that you respect and support your fellow teammates, opponents, and coaches. A coach’s responsibility in promoting respect amongst players helps build each player’s overall character and helps them recognize to play with integrity. To do this, a coach must first and foremost be the example—exhibit sportsmanship, keep your emotions in check and display humility. Sportsmanship, composure and being humble all lay the foundation of a player’s character. Integrity goes beyond playing fairly regarding rules, it also includes playing honestly towards teammates. This is done by putting forth 100% in your play, support, and morale, not only for yourself but also for your fellow players. Playing with character and integrity spills over into your dynamic in relationships in general. You create relationships based on attractive qualities in someone’s character and maintain them with integrity between both people.
The Process And People Matter The Most
When you look back at your own experience in childhood sports, you most likely don’t remember the number of wins and losses you had, but you do remember the journey and the people that contributed along the way. As a coach, it’s your job to teach the fundamentals of the sport so that players understand fully how to play. You teach them how to overcome obstacles, how to dribble a ball, how to communicate, and how to hit a home run to achieve a common goal. It is important to recognize the moving pieces and people in other aspects of life; the lessons learned along the way and how they have contributed to where you are today. The act of serving others and its importance can be learned from this experience. Try to be a part of other’s processes and journeys and make a positive difference in who they are as a person.
Learning from life experiences is one of the best tools of education available to us. By coaching youth sports in the community, you are invested in making a difference in the lives of your young athletes. Little did I know, as a coach, that I would, in turn, see a difference in my life and learn so many positive life lessons.