So, why do I coach? That's a good question with a lot of answers. I could go on and on about why I coach, but if I had to pick one reason, it would be because of the positive impact I get to have on so many children's lives. It's actually kind of funny. Years ago when my son started playing soccer his very first soccer coach "conned" me into coaching. What the heck?! I played baseball, not soccer! Never did I think that here I would be 11 years later, still coaching him and now coaching my daughter.
Like all new coaches, when I started I was scared to death. I knew nothing about soccer, nothing about coaching, and nothing about how to manage a team. Even if it was team of 6 year olds. Luckily, I had the pleasure of having a lot of people around me that were willing to help me and encouraged me to keep going. I was also lucky that my son loved the game which made me want to keep going.
Everyone has that one reason why they coach. As I said earlier, mine is because of the kids; I think for most coaches of youth sports, that would be the main reason. I have been coaching for 11 years now and have coached U6 to U19, both recreational and competitive soccer. I even have the pleasure of being one of the coaches for my son's high school soccer team. The best part is that I have got to watch these kids grow up. That coach that "conned" me into coaching eleven years ago, well I continued to coach her son all the way until high school and watched him graduate and go off to the military. I'm proud to have been a part of his life and hope that in some small way I had a positive impact. I love walking through a store and having players that I have coached come up and say "hey coach!" In my opinion, coaching is the most rewarding experience anyone can have.
Anyone that may be scared to take that step and jump into coaching, I was right there with you and completely understand, but I can only say one thing..... "Don't be!!" It is the best thing you will ever do. I was that beginner coach, but there are so many resources for learning the game and becoming a great coach that it's easy to get better. The other thing is, it is more about the relationships with the kids and having fun than it is about the game. Sure, you want your players to learn and get better so you will need to at least understand the mechanics of it all. But, at the end of the season, did the kids have fun? I talked about this in an earlier blog. Ninety-eight percent of kids will not play soccer beyond the age of 14. If, as a coach, I have done nothing beyond making sure that they have enjoyed their time as a youth soccer player then I have succeeded.
So, the next time a board member, another coach, or a parent tries to "con" you into coaching.... do it! At least give it a try. I promise it will be fun. Do not ever feel like you will be alone. The community of coaches in the Anderson Youth Soccer League and throughout District IX and CalNorth is phenominal. There is always someone to help and the resources are endless. I am by no means a pro coach and I learn something new every time I step on the field. I surround myself with other coaches and we all bring something special to the table and we all learn from each other. There are coaching classes and clinics that we can attend. It truly is an awesome community. Just tonight I went and coached a U14 team for a coach that could not be there. Rather than her cancelling practice, why not go and work with this group of kids. It was a blast and was another reminder of why I do what I do.
Was I "conned" into coaching? You bet I was. Do I regret letting myself get "conned" into this crazy life of coaching? Heck No!! I wouldn't trade a minute of the last eleven years and I hope that I get the privilege of working with these kids for many years to come.
By the way..... Thank you Michelle!