An Open Letter To The Coach That Pushed Me

An Open Letter To The Coach That Pushed Me

There were days I thought you were going to kill me, but really you made me stronger.
720
views

The thing that separates a good coach from a great coach is knowing your team, and not just in the “she can knock down a three” kinda way but knowing each player as a person. At the time I played for you, I didn’t know that, but now I understand that the reason why you pushed us so hard was because you weren’t just out to make exceptional basketball players out of us but exceptional people too.

There were many days that I dreaded practice like the plague. We’d all already heard that one of us had gotten in trouble, and we knew that we were all about to die for their stupidity. We might as well just start running as soon as we were stretched. But as much as we complained to each other and cut our eyes at you, we were learning that in life, many times you suffer the consequences of the actions of others, and that’s just how it’s always gonna be. Who knew those sprints were more than cardio?

Some days you’d show up to practice, and I could have sworn that you hated me. It seemed like I couldn’t do anything right, regardless of how hard I tried. But no matter how terrible it was or I was, practice always ended just like the trials in your life are always going to come to an end too. Sometimes it feels like life has a great big ole target taped to your forehead, but those days don’t last forever, and I know that it’s going to be alright. And the next day at practice, I might even get hot, and shoot the lights out.

There was absolutely no being late or MIA on your team. If practice was at 4:30 that really meant that we should be there at 3:45 dressed and ready to go. If you showed up at 4:15, you were already late.

You simply did not miss practice. You just didn’t. I came to practice with strep throat on more than one occasion. It was that important that I be there. I can’t even tell you how many times that I’ve had a nightmare that my alarm didn’t go off, and I missed morning practice. It was a legitimate concern (even for months after I graduated). You taught me how important it is to fulfill a commitment in my life and to make it a top priority. I learned the importance of time management and sacrifice for sure.

Some days I knew that I didn’t have any more to give. I was exhausted physically and mentally. But you knew that I had more left, and you demanded that I give my all. And somewhere inside of me I found more energy and effort that I didn’t even know existed. I wanted to give up at times, but you refused to let me quit. You were teaching me that life’s not always easy, and a whole lot of times I’m going to think that I have nothing left. But because of you, I know that I do. It’s in there; I just need to push harder.

You demanded perfection, and we weren’t perfect (and neither were our skills). If we were up by 12 at half time, some coaches would have been overjoyed but not you. You wanted to know why weren’t up by 30 because the other team sucked, and we should be embarrassed that people paid money to watch this crap. Of course, you knew real perfection was out of the question, but you were teaching us how successful we could be if we set our expectations for ourselves that high. If you shoot for the moon, you might still land amongst the stars.

Thank you for pushing me. Thank you for pushing us.

Some say that you’re a successful coach because you practice your team so much and have so much natural talent to work with. But I know that it’s because you push your team and your players, and teach them lessons that go beyond the numbers on their backs. You see excellence in each and every one of them and make it your goal to pull that out (now matter how many 1:10’s in a row it takes). There were days I thought you were going to kill me, but really you made me stronger. Thank-you for pushing me.

Cover Image Credit: Shelbyville Times Gazette

Popular Right Now

To All Student-Athletes Beginning Their Respective Seasons, Remember Why You Play

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

5131
views

Dear athlete,

The season is by far the most exciting time of the year. Big plays, good memories, traveling new places, and winning championships... But yet another promise is that season is also exhausting.

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

But remember that this season of your life doesn't last forever. Remind yourself why you play.

You play this sport because you love the game. You love the competition, you love your teammates and the friendships that you've formed, you love the lessons you learn aside from the physical aspect.

So each day, continue to choose the game.

It's not easy. But if it was, everyone would do it. But discomfort is where progress happens.

Quit dreading practices, quit wishing for rain, quit complaining about conditioning, and quit taking for granted a busy schedule that is literally made just for you. Tens of thousands of young girls and boys would do anything to be in the position (literally) that you are in. Take advantage of being a role model to those young kids who think the world of you.

Freshmen, this is what you have wanted for so long. Take advantage of the newness, take advantage of the advice, encouragement, and constructive criticism that your older teammates give you. Soak it all in, four years goes by really quickly.

Sophomores, you now know how it works. Be confident in your abilities, yet continue to learn and grow mentally and in your position.

Juniors, prepare to take the lead. Use this season to, of course, continue to sharpen your skill, but also recognize that you're over halfway done, so mentally and physically ready yourself to take the seniors' lead next year.

Seniors, this is it. Your last year of playing the sport that you love. Be a good leader, motivate, and leave your mark on the program in which you have loved for so long. Encourage the athletes behind you to continue the traditions and standards set by the program. Lay it all on the field, leave it all on the court, and leave your program better than you found it.

Take the season one day at a time and, each day, make it your goal to get better. Get better for your team, for you pushing yourself makes everyone else work even harder. So even if you don't get a lot of playing time, make your teammates better by pushing yourself so hard that they have no other choice than to push themselves too. And when a team has every single player pushing themselves to the max, success happens.

Take advantage of this time with your teammates and coaches, for they won't be your teammates and coaches forever.

No matter what year you are and no matter what your role is this season... GROW. You are an integral part of your team and your program.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

5 Things To Take Away From The 2019 Sugar Bowl

The 2019 Sugar Bowl was a test of mental strength between the Texas Longhorns and the Georgia Bulldogs. In the end, the Longhorns held on to win 28-21, yet there aren't too many reasons to fret over this shocking upset.

59
views

.

1. Sidelined Defense 

Georgia struggled to run a pressure defense on Texas Quarterback Sam Ehlinger, but this was not unexpected. Georgia was missing star DB Deandre Baker, who sat out to preserve his stock in the 2019 NFL Draft, OLB D'Andre Walker who was tending a groin injury, and DL Jordan Davis who was fighting a back injury.

2. Offensive Fighters 

upload.wikimedia.org

While multiple injuries plagued the Bulldogs this season, many who had issues should be at full capacity by the start of the 2019 season. These include some current starters, such as brick wall Offensive Linemen Ben Cleveland and Cade Mays. There are also some who started the season hindered by an injury, such as 5-star RB Zamir White who suffered an ACL injury in the pre-season. Also missing from action was freshman all-purpose back James Cook, a large weapon in the slot and sideline sweep plays. This nearly made the Georgia run game one dimensional and leads to another large factor in the failure to launch in UGA's usual offensive prowess.

3. RUN THE BALL... or maybe not

upload.wikimedia.org

The Georgia running game has always been a staple of the team's offensive success. The Sugar Bowl was an opportunity to capitalize on a Texas defense who has been known to miss tackles. The Georgia run game was shut down, only amassing 72 yards total. Partially due to preparation by the Texas defense, this stoppage also had lots to do with a lack of confidence that may Georgia rushers usually come equipped with. D'Andre Swift fumbled twice in the game, and even one misstep such as a lost fumble can shoot a young back's confidence. Elijah Holyfield was also stuffed at the line through all but 5 rushes on the day. A player who has been very overlooked by the media and limelight alike has been Junior Brian Herrien, who, while only gaining 17 yards on the ground, scored Georgia's first touchdown of the night, and fought for yards on every carry he was afforded. With a healthy future for James Cook and Zamir White and both Herrien and Holyfield reportedly returning for their senior seasons, this team's rushing attack should only get better.

4. The Future

Giphy

Georgia has another top 5 projected recruiting class to add onto the already young roster. This includes five committed 5-star players such as 1st ranked recruit in the nation DE Nolan Smith, 1st ranked ILB Nakobe Dean, 1st ranked center Clay Webb who was flipped from his home state Alabama team, 2nd ranked DT Travon Walker, and top 10 WR Dominick Blaylock. This fills in gaps left by stars such as center Lamont Gaillard, DE Jonathan Ledbetter, WR Terry Godwin, and LB D'Andre Walker.

5. A Show of Class

Head Coach Kirby Smart made it very clear to the public this season that he was not satisfied with a game won with extraneous penalties, and this showed as the Bulldogs totaled 0 penalties through the first half, and only 3 for the game in total. Towards the end of the game during the Georgia offense's last drive, Texas had 2 different cornerbacks disqualified for obvious targeting calls, and though Georgia was visibly upset and stood up for one another, there was a show in class by the team that exemplified what Bulldawg Nation strives for: respect. They knew by that time that the more focused team came to play, and seemed to run more efficiently when this occurred, with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Related Content

Facebook Comments