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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Coach a Kid

Theme:     Coach a Kid



They came with eager hearts
to play a game they love,
Brandishing their uniforms,
baseball bats, and gloves.
Eager to learn, they had no skills,
they could not hit or run.
Until with patience and some care
you taught them to have fun.

At times they lacked attention,
they giggled, or they cried.
At times you watched in marvel
as they hit, or caught pop flies.
At times you had to holler,
"Drop the flowers and the dirt!"
At times you lent a hand
to wipe a tear if they got hurt.

The score it never mattered
as long as they played their best.
Giving their all and having fun
would pass the "winners" test.
Through faded years and grayer hair
a champion you may not boast.
But deep in the hearts of all the kids
you'll forever be their



Whether a grin when you win,
Or a frown when you're down,
Nothing can replace
how loud I am proud!


"Helping Hand"

When you lend a hand,
you also lend a heart and
miracles follow.


I was recruited into coaching in the year 1995 B.C. (before children).  I helped a dad coach a 4th grade basketball team, because the dad never played basketball in his life, and he thought having an "expert" on his staff would help.  If he only knew how little he needed to know to really succeed, perhaps he would have had more confidence.  From then on I was considered "The Go-To-Guy" that the town could count on to always step up and coach, regardless of the sport.  I've been having a ball ever since.

Here are some classic coaching tips and memories:

Provide Direction:  I coached a 4th grade boy in basketball who would accidentally grapple people to the floor.  We would jokingly tell him that he should be a wrestler instead of a basketball player.  He went on to win a state championship in wrestling in the 215 lb. weight class.  Great directional coaching, no doubt.

Teach Fundamentals:  We taught our 3rd grade girls basketball players how to "switch" players on defense if they get stuck behind a pick.  One game they executed a "triple switch" among three of the girls, and as coaches we all looked at each other and said, "Did we teach them that?"

Be A Fan:  My son as a five year old soccer player scored his first two goals ever.  I proudly cheered him on as the rest of the fans remained perplexed. Being a believer in positive reinforcement, I wanted to recognize his efforts, even though he accidentally scored both goals for the OTHER team.

Incentive:  After several games of watching my five year old son run away from the soccer ball when it came near him, we began "bribing" him with Star Wars figurines if he would simply just touch the ball.  The first Star Wars character he received wasn't when he first touched the ball, but when the ball touched HIM.  He got the point quickly, and soon thereafter amassed quite a collection of figurines, and went on to become a high school soccer player (but not that same year!)

Instill Confidence: As softball coaches we always rotated players into every position, regardless of their talents.  We were the only team to continue that practice, even in the playoffs when we weren't required to do so, but it was more important to us that the girls knew we had confidence in them.  In our final game of the season the "Ballerina" on our team, who was not the strongest of talents except when wearing a tutu, caught a running fly ball in the last inning of the game sealing the victory.  Did I mention that it was the CHAMPIONSHIP game?  The entire team ran out to left field to hug her for making the greatest catch ever, and the greatest memory ever.  Our confidence in her, led to her confidence in herself, which led to a team championship!
Losing:  My son's first year of kid pitch baseball was a rough one.  The team wasn't that good, and we never won a game.  He really didn't want to continue to play on the team until he and I sat down and wrote a list of the "Top Ten Reasons Why It's Fun to Play on a Losing Team".  The laughter soon followed, and a great lesson was learned, and great memories of the season too.

Cradle of Coaches:  They use to call me the "Cradle of Coaches" for youth soccer.  We really had a fun, and successful program for the tiny tots, and the most rewarding part was when the moms & dads whose kids were on our team went on to be successful coaches themselves.  Scary when you would hear the phrase "Speed & Power" yelled from multiple coaches on the soccer fields Saturday mornings.

Recruiting:  I always thought I was a great soccer coach after winning year after year. Then a few years later I noticed that the kids that played on our team ended up being the big time athletes of their high school: two football running backs, a wide receiver, a basketball star, a baseball pitcher, and a soccer captain.  Perhaps it wasn't my superb coaching after all.

Guidance:  I'd like to think that I was a positive role model laying the foundation for the kid's to make good decisions in the future. And then one day at a high school varsity soccer game a young man gets dropped off at the north end of the stadium, drops his clothes and streaks 100 yards across the field in nothing but his tennis shoes and a mask, and then is picked up in a get-a-way car at the south end of the stadium.  All three of the kids were kids I coached the summer before in high school baseball summer league.  I have to admit I chuckled at the news of "The Winning Streak" as it was referred to in the local newspaper headline. 

Coaching has always been a wonderful experience.  The memories, and friendships I made were priceless.  I encourage everyone to try it at some point.  It will make you a better parent if you do.

Coach a kid.



  1. It helps to have a good coaches wife too!!!! : )

  2. Your blog is like Christmas morning. I can't wait to open it up to see what's inside. :-)

  3. Nice!! Found this on another blog! Good stuff. I'll be back!!