Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Respect the Coach

Athletics have been an integral part of my life as far back as I can remember. My dad started coaching high school basketball in the MAC when I was just 3 or so, and there have only been a handful of seasons since that he hasn't done so. Growing up I watched he and my uncles coach my brother and cousins through youth baseball, soccer, basketball. This summer is my second year starring in the new role of baseball widow. I absolutely love it all, but you get the drift... I'm seasoned. My dad logged a LOT of hours in the gym when we were growing up (sometimes with us in tow) and for the past two summers I have watched Todd do the same thing, but the frustrating part isn't the time devoted to coaching and subsequent added responsibility for me at home.

No, believe it or not the really irksome thing about the job isn't having 20some baseball games in 30 days or the time and energy and money spent attending; it isn't the nail-biters lost in overtime or the crappy officials that you inevitable run across from time to time. Let me tell you the most embittering thing I've seen from my years in the business: coaching takes an infinite supply of passion, and it can be a really thankless fucking job. Countless hours are devoted to teaching and encouraging, talking to players and parent and other coaches. "In season" doesn't mean a anything, the truth is the season never ends. Open gyms, batting practice, scouting other teams, learning new methods. Finding out who your athletes are and how they respond and the best way to handle 20+ different personalities. And still people bitch and moan, blame the coach for their poor performance, complain about playing time, or talk about what a better job they could do. To say that this makes me salty would be a gross understatement.

This summer I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend a couple days a week helping with a beginners class at the gym, comprised mostly of teachers who are looking to join the Crossfit community. I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I have been over the past several weeks. They ask questions, they have a real desire to be there and to improve every day, they appreciate the directives we give them and want honest feedback on their technique. Teachers have a unique understanding of the plight of the coach because what they do every day is essentially the same thing. I've learned some new things that have made me (I think) a more coachable cf'er since I've been helping--like how it's hard to watch someone make the same mistake over and over, especially after you feel that you've cued them a handful of times (sooo guilty), that you can't let the fear of failure/novelty keep you from trying, and that you don't have to be the best at something to have a good attitude about it. The feeling of investment as a coach is incredibly high, but the payoff is huge if the people you're teaching care even half as much as you do.

Coaches put so much of themselves into their athletes. Please respect their time, their passion, and the fact that they care enough to devote such energy into YOU--energy that they are diverting away from their own families and interests to make your life better.

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