There were great learnings over the many years I coached young men’s basketball.
Yes, hopefully by the young men I was blessed to lead, and yet even more so by me.
I came into coaching as perhaps many a father does … by simply wanting to support my son, The Big Kid.
And the journey was one of great mountains climbed and many valleys crossed.
There was blood, there was most assuredly sweat, and there were many a tear. And yet today I look back at amazing young men finding their path and I am ever so proud of each.
If you think coaching is just about X’s and O’s, you are either not fully engaged as a coach, or simply never had the opportunity to open your heart to the fullest.
Coaching allows you to impact a life in some of the most powerful and profound ways.
- A young man dealing with body image issues.
- A young man struggling as his parents divorce.
- A young man rejected by the many teams he approached.
- A young man neglected by his parents.
- A young man experimenting with drugs.
- Young men trying to prove themselves in a society that provides mixed messages as to what a young man should be.
- A young man bullied by adults (other coaches, teachers, neighbors).
- A young man learning about death and dying as his mother fights heroically her battle with cancer before succumbing to the disease.
- Young men wanting to feel wanted, wanting to find their place, their community, their home.
The X’s and O’s were the easy part.
Leading, mentoring, parenting, coaching these young men through these challenges when at times they love you and other times they hate you … all the while you loving them … now that is the Heart of Coaching.
Trying to live a life where you own your own frailty, your own mistakes, and each day, each game, still striving, still leading even when on occasion the face in the mirror wants to do something (anything) else because of the pain you yourself feel … now that is the Soul of Coaching.
- New substitution patterns to better position the team to win.
- Implementing new plays taking advantage of your team’s strengths.
- Creating a new style defense to leverage what your players do best.
- Modifying and then running skill development drills to ensure both learning and fun.
- Simplifying and then implementing new offensive plays based on the best of the best in college and pro ball to keep the kids interested.
- Teaching, supporting, cheering, coaching.
Again … the easy part.
Comforting two young men as their father passes … now that is the Engagement of Coaching.
And each day realizing you are on an island … simply a parent trying to help … making many mistakes … learning and growing … and hopefully serving and helping others … that is the Love of Coaching.
Who have you opened your heart to today?
Who has touched your soul?
Who have you engaged?
Who have you loved?
Who have you coached?