I have been a coach for over 20 years. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I often comment that I am lucky because my passion is my profession. I get paid to do what I love, and not many people can say that. Coaching is who I am and what I do. However, coaching never quits. People ask me if I am enjoying my time off, and the reality of my job is that there is no time off. There is always something to be done to prepare for the next group. Coaching is a 365 day job. So why do we do it? I got started, like many others, because I was not ready to let go of a sport to which I dedicated much of my life through college. I couldn’t play any longer, but I wanted to stay a part of the game. The second stage (if I’m truly honest with myself) came from ego. I wanted to win games and be successful. It was a lot about me. The team was a vehicle for my success. As we mature, we begin to think about our place in all of this. What is my purpose? Why do I do what I do, and what am I all about? Everyone needs purpose. Here are a four reasons why I love to coach teams.
Every year is a new year. No team is the same, and we only have 1 shot with that team. Although many of the pieces remain from year to year, we don’t get the same exact group. We will never face the same exact challenges. With the right perspective, we can find that drive to find success because when the season ends, we start all over again. Each season is a challenge to see how far we can push, pull, and finesse a group of people to achieve goals and reach heights beyond their expectation.
I embrace the grind of the season. Make no mistake, coaching, if done the right way is hard work. It is tedious work. Coaching is not just an hour or two each week at practice and then some games. There are countless hours of preparation and planning that take place, but without the work, would it be worth it? I sit here now in the off-season, and I am well into the planning for next year. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t work on something to prepare for the upcoming year. If we are not preparing, we are not setting ourself or our team up for success. The grind is where coaches can do their best work. If we don’t embrace the grind, can we expect it from our players?
Without the players, what is the point. They are the ones who get me excited to go to work every day. Teaching them, pushing them beyond their limits, watching them develop and figure things out. It never gets old. Every one of them is different, and that is what makes this profession fascinating. Let’s talk reality. If you are not in it for the players, you are in it for the wrong reasons.
Helping young people navigate the physical, emotional and social challenges they face outside the sport. I relish the fact that I can have an impact on the success of my players inside and outside of the rink. Getting to know each of my guys over their careers is the best part of the job. There is not much more gratifying for a coach than to get a text, an email or a visit from an ex-player. Not to be forgotten, but the late nights and the hard work spent with the other coaches. Without them, it would be a lonely road. I have been fortunate to coach with some of my best friends, or did they become my best friends through coaching? I’m sure it is a little of both.
In the end, I have come to realize that I love being a part of a team. The locker room, the friendships, the obstacles, the work, the joys, the disappointments. Not to be forgotten, but the late nights and the hard work spent with the other coaches. Without them, it would be a lonely road. Going through the ups and downs and going through them together is what this is all about. Every season has it’s obstacles, and learning how to climb past those obstacles is one of the great rewards of coaching. Some seasons are met with tremendous success, and others fall short of expectations. Every year I learn something new about my craft and myself. These moments are all part of the journey towards success, and it’s the journey that is the reward.
Use the comment section to provide feedback and tell me the reasons why you coach.