You would think that anyone could do it. I mean, you have big, physical and talented kids, winning should take care of itself right? If you listened to anyone who has never done it, you would think coaching is the easiest thing in the world.
The same can be said about a lot of things in life. Teaching, public safety, politics, every job seems really easy doesn’t it? I mean looking at it from an outside perspective, to coach, you show up to practice, run some drills, let the kids knock some pads, go home and do it all over again the next day. Game days are even easier, you show up an hour before the game, all the kids are already there ready to go, give them a good ole Vince Lombardi quote to fire them up a bit, get them yelling and screaming and they go out there and perform just like you draw it up. Seems almost like you are stealing money, right? Think again.
When I first started coaching three years ago, I would read the newspaper articles online and go straight down to the bottom of the page where the general public can comment and read those to see what everyone thought about the game. I took every critique, comment and concern to heart. I truly thought that I could take those comments and do something to change the minds of people. I didn’t want people dissatisfied with something that happened. I wanted every comment to be a positive comment and I wanted everyone to be proud of what goes on out on that field. That was three years ago.
It is easy to watch the game and call out plays that you think would go for big yards. It is easy to sit there and call out the defense that would stop the other team from gaining a single yard. It is easy to know when to use your timeouts, go for two, onside kick, throw the long pass, run the sweep to the outside, stop running up the middle, sit a kid because he threw three interceptions, it all seems really easy doesn’t it? I have been guilty of this as well, it is hard to watch a game when things just aren’t going right, it is hard to know that you have talented kids out there who aren’t performing like they should be. It is human nature to second guess, throw your hands up in the air in disgust when someone jumps off sides for the second time or gets called for holding that gets a huge gain called back.
I mean how hard can this really be? You have big talented athletes, just send them out there and let them eat right?
Just take a look at social media, you ever want to know how to do your job as a coach, there are millions of people on Twitter and Facebook who are begging to tell you how to do your job, it is amazing, you don’t even have to ask them!
When I played high school football fifteen years ago, it was in our blood. We lived and breathed football during the season and most of the off season. We were to practice thirty minutes early and stayed thirty minutes after. We wouldn’t dare skip a practice or film session, we didn’t even try to walk on the field, it was always a jog. It was always yes sir, no sir, and yes ma’am, no ma’am to everyone on and off the field. We respected our teachers, parents and referees. We didn’t have to be told something twice. We weren’t all big, we weren’t all talented, but we cared and what we lacked in size we made up for with dedication and commitment We put in more time and effort than you could ever imagine. We respected the program, those who came before us and those who will come behind us. Blood, sweat and tears were all shed in the hopes of winning just one more game and that final game, we can all remember like it was yesterday. If I had to choose, I would have preferred someone tell me I suck, rather than I was undisciplined, or lacked effort.
Something has changed in the past 15 years since I played. You didn’t have to motivate me to play the game I loved. You didn’t have to give me a new uniform to get me to play my best every night. You didn’t have to tell me to keep my jersey tucked in, that I should help my team mates up when they had been tackled, to give thanks to my offensive line for blocking when I kicked an extra point. Something has changed.
It seems easy to coach doesn’t it? To motivate kids, to get them to practice on time, to care about their team mates, to remind them to eat the day of a game, to hydrate, to not use profanities, to respect the game, the uniform, the program, the tradition.
It seems easy doesn’t it?
The next time you want to be critical of a coaching style or technique, the next time you are watching a game and you question what a coach was thinking, or the next time you want to yell something from the stands at a game about how #89 is wide open, please take a second and breathe. These are kids we are coaching. They aren’t perfect, and we aren’t either. This is a game we love and we are coaching your children because we love them and we love being a part of this tradition. We don’t want to lose just as much as you don’t want us to lose. We coach the kids to the best of our abilities and put in ample time to prepare these athletes to succeed.
Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don’t, sometimes we are the windshield and sometimes we are the bug, but we always care. We always want the best for your athletes. We strive to help them in every facet of life. Sometimes we have to be more father figures than we are coaches, but we always care. If the day comes, and you are the type of person that has to put the blame on something, blame us the coaches. That’s what we are there for; let the kids play the game. Give us the blame that is fine, but remember how much we care about what we are doing out there. We don’t give up as coaches, and neither should you as fans.
It seems easy doesn’t it?