Your Coach Is Not Your Friend

I did not grow up as much of sports person.  Anyone who knows me is now saying “MUCH of a sports person? You hated all sports except swimming. You shocked and dismayed your whole family by not caring one whit about the Redskins, OUR OFFICIAL FAMILY TEAM WHOSE EVERY GAME MUST BE WATCHED INTENTLY.”  So, yeah not much of a sports person, as in not a sports person at all.

My friend Heather is also not a sports person.  She does have a sporty husband and two sporty kids and the whole relationship between the kids and their coaches mystifies her.  She is one of the best moms I know–clear, loving, and supportive.  The coach of each son’s team is clear, all right,  but not in the way Heather is.  He yells stuff at them all the time and points out their mistakes.  He tells them what to do and they have to do it.  He doesn’t care if they are happy, just that they play their position. Heather wonders why this hectoring is fun for her kids.

Now that I have a coach, I understand what is going on.  I work with a coach because I want to get better. That’s what I want, to be a good skater.  That’s what my coach wants, too. I don’t need or want my coach, Big D, to make me happy.  Big D working on making me happy wastes time and just distracts from the main goal–better skating. Once I get better, that will make me happy–and that’s the true goal.  We are both working on getting to the same place and the orders and suggestions are all to help me get there.  I think Heather’s boys understand this without even being able to explain it.

Big D is funny and charming and a really great skater.  He also won’t put up with excuses or fear.  When I mention that I am afraid of trying something (Like, oh skating backwards), he says “Yeah, so?” and we go ahead and do it. He will point out when I do something correctly, but in the same tone as pointing out when I do something wrong.  Since he is always pushing me to learn new things, rather than just going over stuff I already know, I do a lot more wrong than right.  That’s cool. It’s all part of the process of getting better.

Big D will tell me I did a good job and say nice things, but not until the class is over and I am leaving. That is as it should be. He’s my coach and we have work to do.

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3 Responses to Your Coach Is Not Your Friend

  1. Paul Burneko says:

    Good coaches are a shining signs of grace. Bad coaches hurt. I always wonder why some coaches are able to push and demand in a way that feels tough but good and satisfying, while others seem to thrive on making you feel unequal to the challenge and unworthy of encouragement.

    • I think it has to do with whether they are really there to help the player and team improve. If they are, they will figure out how to motivate the player in the way which is most effective. Making a player feel “unequal” to the challenge” is not good coaching.

  2. L. Crampton says:

    Amen to that! There was a study last year or so that found that if children receive only positive feedback, they gradually stop believing it! Realism, apparently, rules.

    BTW, Robin, those stripey dresses from the previous post? Just occurred to me that a year after FUNNY GIRL came out, I decorated my dorm room in those exact shades of green and blue! Hmmm, influenced by pop culture much? Hope you soon have more skates in your favorite colors!

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