The Value of a Good Coach
I’ve written before about my experiences playing sports. I spent many years on a court and running on a track. During that time, I had many coaches. It’s amazing to me to look back now and see what a difference a good coach make.
Encouragement and Potential
Some coaches, and people, only see weakness. It’s hard to take repeated criticism as an adult, let alone as a child. That’s when it becomes difficult to give your best effort. The coaches that helped me the most could see my potential and encouraged me to do better.
In my experience, good coaches weren’t focused on winning. The best coaches wanted their players to learn to be good people. Of course, they wanted us to win, but even when we lost they pointed out the things that we did well. Whether it was running our full-court press or getting our serves in, they always had positive points for us to focus on.
As a parent, I could take a few lessons from those coaches. I could criticize the state of my children’s rooms a little bit less, and praise them when they pick up their dirty clothes off the bathroom floor a little bit more. I can thank them when they remember to get a snack for one of their other siblings, instead of getting irritated that they’re eating Oreos after school. Praise goes a lot farther than criticism.
Run Fast, Work Hard
My oldest is finishing up her track season in the next few weeks. She has a track coach who has increased her self-esteem and, consequently, her motivation to work hard. He’s recognized her potential and expects her to make her best effort in practice and at meets.
I have watched her self-esteem blossom as she comes home and tells me how he put her with the fastest kids to run at practice. She’s not beating them, but she is keeping up. He believes in her, which makes her believe in herself. The support of her coach and teammates has led her to see the value in encouraging others on her team.
There is something to be said about a coach that believes in an athlete. I can tell my daughter for hours that she could be a good runner, but it doesn’t mean nearly as much as when her coach tells her. It means more coming from someone that isn’t her mom.
Kids need that extra encouragement from someone other than their parents. It doesn’t have to come from a coach either. It could be a teacher, a friend, or someone else your child sees as a role model or mentor. It just makes me realize how important it is to find opportunities for my kids to do things that build their confidence. I also realize that if I’m ever in a position to encourage another child, I should do it. It could mean all the difference.
It’s opportunities, like participating on a track team, that have helped my daughter see results when she works hard. That’s a lesson that can be learned in the classroom, academic team, learning an instrument, or in a 4-H club. They begin to make a connection between their efforts and the results.
Adults can facilitate that developing work ethic by encouraging their own children and other children if the opportunity arises. When we see the effort put forth, it’s important to acknowledge it so that kids want to keep trying.
Sometimes I hold back with compliments and encouragement whether the praise is for adults or children. I want to be more generous with my praise of others, especially my own family. I hope that by doing so I can be more supportive and encouraging as I look for the best in them and the people around me.