The Joy of Coaching

Last month I wrote about my hobbies.  In the process I made a quick reference to coaching baseball, today I want to give you a little more about that story.

It started out like most youth sports coaching stories: I took my son to sign up for his first baseball team and offered to help as an assistant coach. The next I knew they drafted me to be a head coach. I hadn’t played baseball since I was a child myself, and didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but it was for the kids, so I decided to give it a try.  For the next ten years I coached baseball and football with kids ranging from four to fourteen years old. These years turned out to be some of the best times in my life!

The character Kris was born through this experience. She is inspired by one of the players that I had.  The first year that I coached “Kris”, she was five years old and played on the Parkton Reds t-ball team. I remember one day she hit a home run! She ran around the bases, but halfway from third base to home plate she stopped.  She looked at the cheering crowd in the stands, smiled, fluffed her curly hair, posed for the cameras, then gave a flourish with a picture-perfect slide into home plate.

In my years coaching youth sports I learned several important lessons.

One – It’s all about the Kids.

Too many youth sports coaches focus on wins and losses.  They give the playing time to their “best” players and ignore the rest. I learned that it is all about KIDS that happen to be athletes, and not athletes that happen to be kids.  Any kid can learn to play well if they are given the time and encouragement.

Two – It’s a team sport.

The best players I had were the ones that enjoyed playing with the other kids. They liked playing with and helping the kids on their team, and the kids on the other teams. Face it, most of these kids will never make a career in sports, but the lessons they learn in teamwork and cooperation will serve them well wherever the future takes them.

Three – Sometimes you just have to laugh!

Even professional athletes suffer from bad plays and embarrassing mistakes. That’s true of coaches too! Often the best way to learn from these mistakes is to step back and laugh at ourselves. We don’t have to be perfect, which is good because none of us will ever be.  Enjoy the game, learn from our errors, and enjoy a hot-dog with the rest after the game is over.

I’d love to hear from you, maybe just to share stories and laugh at ourselves a bit!  Have a great month.

Art Blegen

Art Blegen: author

Imaginative Adventures for Young Readers

(c) 2024, Art Blegen, USA, All rights reserved.