Tonight I’ve found myself with a rare quiet evening out on the deck, by the pool, by myself. The weather is beautiful, the birds are chirping and everyone is inside. The family is tired from a long week of softball, birthday parties, school and well, just life in general. In other words, life has slowed down enough tonight for me to think. And by thinking I mean reflect. I’m reflecting on last night’s softball practice, on our practice last week and our softball games. The practices and games I coached.
When I signed up to be an assistant coach for my 9 (now 10 yr old) daughter’s softball this year I was incredibly nervous. Public speaking is not my thing. I’m not “bossy” and have been criticised for being too easy going. But I know softball. I played on every team I ever tried out for. I played house league, select, all 5 years on my high school team, on a traveling team that played in tournaments in the US, a ladies tournament team etc. I never played on the Provincial team, but I did play in a high level ladies league with ex-Provincial players when I was only 18. I was an outfielder and a starting catcher. I played until I was 35, not that slo-pitch or co-ed three-pitch crap, but real ladies fast pitch. So I figured that I could do this coaching thing, that my fear of public speaking and my shyness would fade away around a sport that I love and know well enough that I couldn’t hold my tongue watching girls “do it wrong”.
The first coaches night came along and I found out that I was the HEAD coach of my oldest daughter’s team (and an assistant on my middle daughter’s team but because they play and practice at the same time I needed to find a replacement coach – thanks Chris!). My fear grew even more when I found out I was the HEAD coach but I had to swallow my fear, contact all of the players parents and greet them proudly on “Meet the Coach” night. I am SO glad I swallowed that fear, although I was petrified that I would let the parents and the kids run the show, but try as one kid does, it doesn’t happen…
Here are the 5 reasons I love being my daughter’s softball coach:
- Time with my daughter. It gives me an opportunity twice a week to spend special time with her away from her sisters. I love the alone time in the van driving to her games, discussing who should play where, and what positions her team mates want to play. We also get a chance for 1 on 1 time to talk about all the other things going on in her life.
- Having me as her coach makes my daughter feel special and loved. It makes her feel important, and making her feel important makes me feel good.
- It gives me a chance to get to know my daughter’s peers. I definitely get to see my daughter and her team mates in a whole new light. For the most part the players on my team are eager to please. They WANT to improve and get better. This really changes my perspective of the world and restores my views of humanity.
- I get to be the team’s head cheerleader.> In addition to passing on my love of softball to the next generation, I get to be the team’s head cheerleader. It feels really good to be saying positive and encouraging things to the players. There is no greater reward than being flashed a bright smile of pride by the players.
- I get to play softball! I don’t get to PLAY but I do get to throw, catch, teach my team how to swing a bat etc. Next to running, softball is my favourite thing to do. Our family is too busy for me to play softball in a ladies league so coaching, being on the field and being part of the team is the next best thing.
With how much I enjoy being the team coach I’m left wondering if I should have tried harder to get into Teacher’s College to earn a Bachelor of Education to make better use my Bachelor of Kinesiology degree? I bet I would have enjoyed being in a gym all day or passing on my health knowledge as much as I’ve come to love coaching. As much as we hear about the bad side of coaching kids sports, the pros of coaching definitely outweigh those cons. This has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life and I’m so happy that I gave coaching a chance!
What fears are you happy that you have overcome?
Have you ever coached a sport? Did you enjoy it?