Ever since I was a sophomore in high school, I knew I wanted to be a coach. My coaching experience began with the Park and Recreation field hockey team for my town. There I helped my dad with the Third, Fourth, and Fifth grade teams. As I continued to play and volunteer with the team, my goal was still set on becoming a coach.
After deciding to not play in college, I honestly thought my chances of achieving this dream were gone. For some reason I had it engraved in my head that in order to be a good coach I had to have collegiate experience. I learned that collegiate experience did not make or break your coaching abilities.Throughout the season I learned many lessons about coaching ... here are a few.
1. Your players reflect your attitude.
If you come to practice every day excited, focused, and energetic, your players will feel the same. As a coach, you are one of the most influential leaders of the team. Your athletes look up to you and will pick up on your attitude and behaviors. Make sure you're setting a good example for them.
2. Be prepared, but flexible.
Being prepared for anything was one of the most important lessons I learned this season. Expecting the unexpected was something I grew accustomed to throughout the season. Buses run late, people get sick, and sometimes things just happen. Having a written plan of what I wanted to work on and accomplish at practice helped keep me organized, but sometimes things don't work out like they do on paper. Being able to adjust and modify helped keep the team positive and still improving.
3. There is a lot of work behind the scenes.
After my first season, I can compare coaching to being a part of a play. There are countless rehearsals, costume fittings, before the opening night. Before each game coaches analyze, plan, reflect, and correct things that need improvement to better their teams for the next game.
4. You make a difference.
As a former athlete, I had a coach who made a huge impact on me. In fact, she was the head coach that I coached under for my first season. I knew what it felt like to have a role model like her in my life and it wasn't until I coached that I realized how much of an impact you can have. After hearing some of the seniors for my program talk about what my presence had meant to me did I realize how important my role was.
At the end of the season, I was incredibly sad. Every day I had looked forward to going to practice, seeing my girls, and working with them. It was an adjustment to going right home after class instead of to the field or a game.
I'm incredibly lucky to have been a part of such an amazing program. The girls, parents, administrative staff, helped make my first season so enjoyable. I'm so thankful for the experience I had and I cannot wait for next season.