“Coach” Is A Huge Powerful Word
We wrote a blog a few years back about the responsibility you have as a coach to teach life lessons as you teach football. It was primarily written for youth football coaches. We started it out with this…
1. Football is not as important as life.
2. Being a good player or coach is not as important as being a good person.
3. The most important things you teach as a coach will be useful to your players in life.
Every so often, the world of sports, and in particular, the world of football, gets a jolt. We have had one this week. When this happens everyone seems to have an opinion. Perhaps we do too and that is why we are writing this. It’s pretty easy to look outward and talk about it. There will be plenty of that. Let’s take a moment to look inward.
One of the proudest things about my life is that I became a “coach”. I became a coach because I admired the men who coached me. I looked up to them. They helped me grow as I learned about what I consider to be the greatest game on earth. They also taught me about competing in the game of life.
Years later as I began to climb the coaching ranks, I realized just how much of an impact I was having on the players that I worked with. Yes, I was hard on them and they played better as they learned from me. However, it was later that I realized that more important lessons had been taught.
These players who I had coached very hard and who I had been very demanding of were coming back to say “thanks”. Some played on very good teams and some had played on very bad teams. That didn’t matter. All had been impacted by the life lessons they had received from football.
It’s interesting looking back on what you learn over the years as a coach. One of my biggest lessons was just how different, but the same, we all are. I learned that, not only from working with the players, but also from working with the coaches who were from vastly different backgrounds than I was.
As a farm kid from Virginia, I would have not had a chance to learn this if not for football. There are so many stories just like mine. That’s one of the reasons that the past week has been frustrating. In my opinion, the game of football has done much more to tear down those barriers than it has to build them.
So like so many things, let’s take the events of this week as a chance to look in the mirror as opposed to watching ESPN. If they put “Coach” in front of your name, that’s a big deal. It does not matter if you are coaching the Waynesboro Mighty Tykes or the New England Patriots.
When you go to practice this week, take some time to teach your youth football team life lessons in addition to football. Talk about words like:
HARD WORK SACRIFICE TEAMWORK DISCIPLINE CHOICES ATTITUDE
This will help your team play better this week and it might also end up getting you a “thank you” phone call or visit many years from now. This video is a few years old but it will give you some ideas on how to incorporate life lessons into your youth football practices