End of Coaching

I have seen the end of coaching coming for a very long time. It’s great to be able to be a part of young men’s lives the way that I was, but with my new and growing family I simply don’t have time to be the coach that they need me to be.

Coaching lacrosse is something that I have done with my free time for much of my adult life. When I moved to Tennessee, I got in touch with a local organization to see how I could help out. The organization found out about my background, that I had played lacrosse in college and high school, and they decided right then and there that I would be the new varsity head coach. It was an exciting opportunity to be sure, especially considering that most things I had done up to that point have been with individuals. A chance to mentor more than one person at a time? Sign me up.

What followed was a journey that I could not have possibly imagined rolling into this opportunity. I definitely have more respect now for the coaches that I have had in the past. A lot of work and effort goes into the role, and many feel that they know what is best. Everyone has an opinion on how a team should be run. Most though are unwilling to actually join and help out, and simply want to give suggestions without putting time in. I wonder honestly if that’s a human impulse, to always have opinions but never put the time in.

Anyway, the lessons that I learned over the years really centered around empathy and feeling things centered on others that are just not possible in technical roles. You don’t learn as much about yourself in a technical role as you do coaching. You especially aren’t going to learn a lot about human beings without spending time with what I would call Jr. Human Beings, a lot like Junior Developers. These Junior Humans are almost there, almost well versed in what it means to be a human, but require a ton of guidance. The role is not unlike parenting. These junior people go through the same struggles, trials, and tribulations that adults do but are not equipped to succeed in the world. They lack the pre-frontal cortex necessary to truly deal with their opinions. So as their coaches, your job is to act as a surrogate part of their brains. They might lack the facilities to see the consequences of their actions, so you get to be a “Jiminy Cricket” for them, their shoulder angel letting them know what is and isn’t an appropriate response to external stimuli.

Many have not had that kind of guidance throughout their lives. In the book 3D Coaching their are a great many callouts to the fact that kids these days do not get a lot of the same spiritual and emotional development that they used to. What does that mean? A lot more work on the coaches' shoulders trying to guide these young kids through their day-to-day lives in normal social situations, giving these kids the tools that they require to become functioning members of today’s society.

“A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.”

This is the quote that I tried to live my life by while taking the field every day with a whistle in my hand. You never know as a coach what drama, what players could step onto your field every day. It is a profession where the fruits of your labor may not be known for a very long time. Things have to be thought of in terms of 10 year timeframes or more. Youth programs have to be started thinking about when these youth players eventually make it to the high school level and beyond. Coaches do the best when they prepare future generations for their sport, their game without needing the validation of current success. That mentality is hard to sustain, especially with a new daugher.

I tried my hardest to keep motivation, especially with my new daughter demanding a great amount of my attention. She is the light of my life, and ever since she came into the world 2 months early she has demanded tons of emotion and willpower for myself and my wife. This willpower that was required of my wife and I has kept me from being the coach that I can be with the kids, and is the main reason that I am leaving coaching for now.

I love every second of it when I was in it. Will I be back eventually? Absolutely, but for now I need to focus on my career and my job prospects. There are some big things on the horizon for me, and it is my hope that I can blog about them to keep everyone engaged as I go!


I run WindleWare! Feel free to reach out!

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