The Weight of Coaching

We all coach for various reasons, each as personal and distinct as those coaching. The challenges and struggles of coaching are very rewarding but I wonder if we fully recognize the “other”side of our duties? Do we fully understand what it means to “coach”, to guide, encourage and motivate those that we work with?

I had this other side come home quite literally tonight with my son. He is really struggling to make a decision on if he will continue to play soccer or not. His high school season is about to get underway and he is just not sure if he wants to be a part of it. Don’t get me wrong, he is very capable of committment once he puts his mind to something. He has played soccer in one fashion or another each season for the past 12 years and has loved it, till now.

Why the change? In a word, his coach from his past season. My son is a middle skill set player with a high work rate but unfortunately, his club coach utilized a style of play that was not cohesive with the composition of his players. His coach focused on everything that was done wrong and did very little to correct the methods of play that his team used. Training was almost non-existent and when they did drills, it was typically the same 4 drills day in and day out, none of which addressed the areas of play that the team struggled with.

Now, we are trying to move forward and find take away moments in spite of having a lousy season but my son feels his confidence not only as a player but as a person has been shaken to the core. I can only encourage my son and reassure him that his coach does not define who he is, that one coach does not create nor end years of training and skills. Time will tell if we are able to move in a positive direction or not as far as soccer is concerned.

So, the other side of coaching- words. Our words carry so much weight and power. We can provide the building blocks to build a player’s future or we can become that which undoes all that has brought a player to us in the 1st place. How we present our ideas, our vision of play, has the weight of all the power those that we work with perceive us to have.

This, for me is a huge responsibility and one that I think about often. It is a very humbling experience for me and one that motivates me daily. May my words and my actions reflect my genuine desire to help players reach their fullest potential and become everything that they can possibly be.

till I see you on the pitch


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