Coaches Needed

I am a volunteer coach for our local youth soccer association. I had never coached a team before until three years ago, but I have been on team with coaches since I was in grade school. That didn't qualify me as a coach, but it did help me know what I like in a coach. Of course I'm trying to be that coach I always wanted.

How I got put in the "job" is a story in itself. My husband volunteered to coach my oldest son's team when he was only 6 (he is 14 now). I was in the middle of having babies so I couldn't do it physically, but I helped Steve in his coaching techniques and was a great cheerleader. I even started a few practices when he was late coming up the hill.

There was a year of bliss when neither of us were coaching, but I was often at the field the whole time and could of, should of done it, but I was having babies. When my third son's coach told us he was moving away, we didn't want to break up such a great group of kids so I offered to be the point person until a coach could be found. No other parent stepped forward and since my youngest was two and I had older children who could keep an eye out for her, I conducted my first solo practice.

I was so nervous. I had cue cards and everything. I didn't want to mess up anything, not even the stretches. It was a great season and the boys went undefeated. The next year we added a few more kids and we improved even more. That spring I coached in the spring program that our local association puts together. I coached not only "my" team, but I also coached my youngest son's team. That was a challenge, but I had a blast.

Last fall my youngest was finally old enough to play. She was just going to play in the U6 program that met every Friday for an hour to play. I signed up to coach her team, but with the idea that I would bring my 13 year old and he would do the coaching so when he had kids he would know how to run a practice. He did a great job. The girls loved him and he loved doing it. (BTW--my soccer team improved some more and we had a fabulous season.)

Now it is spring again and I'm coaching my daughter's team, a U7. They are wearing yellow t-shirts and we call them "Sunshine." The biggest surprise was that my daughter has improved so much! I also coach "my" team this spring. Not all the boys are on the team as some are playing baseball, but I have about five players from my fall team, and 10 or so great players. It has been a joy.

Kray, the one who helped me coach the U6 last fall, has been asked to help coach a U8 team because there aren't enough parents to coach. I am thankful that he has this opportunity to learn how to coach, and do it away from my sight as we are coaching at the same time, but it still irks me that my 14 year old son has to coach. Where are the parents? Do they just think that someone else will pick up the slack?

Now maybe I have an idealist view of the world, but I believe that if you want your children to participate in a great program then you need to roll up your sleeves and get to work, or in this case, put on your cleats, grab a whistle and kick a few balls.

When I was pregnant with child number 3 (the son that I coach now), my husband was asked to be the Scout Master in our ward. At that time my oldest was just barely three and the second was only 18 months. I had one young mother look at me and ask how I could let my husband be away so often helping kids that weren't even mine. Shocked, I closed my mouth then replied, "When my boys are scouts, someone's husband will be their Scout Master and I sure hope she doesn't complain."

Was it easy to have my husband away all that time? Not at all! I needed him home, but I also knew that he was "serving his fellow men." Now there is a wife who sits at home while her husband has two of my sons out in the wilds of Washington. I sure hope she has a happy attitude because I'm so thankful to her for giving up her busy husband so that my sons can spend some great "boy time" outside.

Now it is my turn to serve my fellow man and I'm paying for the years of service that others have in my behalf and the behalf of my children. I just hope others will pick up the slack and realize that when they sign their child up for sports (or anything) that some child's parent will be coaching their son or daughter and they just might want to take a turn.

I'm just glad I love coaching the kids and my oldest son is excited to coach. I hope that all those coaches out there on the pitch know how much we as parents appreciate them.