Have you ever stopped and thought about how much impact you have as a coach? I’m not talking about your players, think about all the others. We forget that people look at us in a different light. From the enthusiastic elementary school player, parents, teachers, business owners, church crowd, checkout clerk and yes even that player that didn’t have the skill to make your team. They all know who you are and hold you in high esteem, until you give them a reason to look at you differently. It’s at that moment you have the opportunity to do something special, whether it’s helping someone with their groceries, asking about their family, encouraging them to keep playing and one day they’ll grow up to be a star, or in the case below to look someone in the eye and change their life.
Before I entertained the idea of coaching I was a player just like so many of you. I played my first two years at a small college, and it was a comfortable setting, but it was time to continue my education at a larger school. The school I chose was a strong NAIA school with outstanding sports programs. I was familiar with their team having competed against their freshman team, and the fever was still there to play so I ended up trying out for the team. It was clear that I didn’t have the skill level to compete, but I wouldn’t go away and kept working hard and counting players. There were two of us left and I liked my chances. Finally during the preseason coach called me into his office. In the most heartfelt manner, he let me know that there just wasn’t room for me on the team. He spent fifteen minutes highlighting all the attributes I had shown that would make me a success in any career I chose. As I left I wanted to cry, but couldn’t because of all the great things he had said. Ironically, twenty years later I would end up coaching, and pattern that same style of talking with players that didn’t make our team after this wonderful man. I am still so appreciative for the gift he gave me.
Remember it only takes a few minutes from your schedule to meet with each player, and who knows, you may change a life.
I wish you and your team the best!