Author: Elianne Douglas-Miron
Being a college coach is everything and nothing all at once. You are held to the highest standard. You are responsible for young adult athletes, all transitioning into the real world. You can have the utmost impact on their lives. Four years. It’s all you get. Everything you do in those four years can impact them positively or negatively. The way you lead, the way you communicate, the examples you set, the time you spend with them. You are the parent, the caretaker, the psychologist, the doctor, the tax expert, the academic adviser, the roommate conflict counselor, the nutritionist and finally the coach. You answer their phone calls, ensure for their physical well-being, console their tears after a breakup or a loss on the court. And just like that, in the blink of an eye, they move on. Being a coach isn’t ONE thing. It’s everything and nothing all at once.
You cannot directly control the outcome of the match. In those moments you are powerless. You put your trust in them, as they have put their trust in you all those times before. You can advise and discuss strategy, but in the end, that is all that you are; a moment in time.
So, make it count. Instill as many lessons as you can. Put your ego aside because none of it is about you. The best coaches aren’t seeking notoriety. The best coaches want their athletes to be successful. They wait their athletes to win. They want their athletes to get the best grades. They want their athletes to learn that making mistakes is OK if you get back up and love to fight for another day.
You cannot directly control the outcome of their lives. After graduation, you are powerless. You put your trust in them, hope and pray they make good decisions. Hope and pray they impact others as they have impacted you. Hope and pray you made a difference. You will always have their back, but in the end, they become a distant memory, moving on to the next class of young athletes. Because that is all you are; a moment in time.
So, make that time count. Teach them that there are three things they can control: their attitude, their energy and their focus. Teach them that they cannot control others; they must let others live their own life and not be bothered by their decisions. Teach them they must always set the highest standards for themselves. Teach them that nobody knows everything but if you give time for information to turn into knowledge, knowledge into wisdom and wisdom into awareness, they will live a rich life. Teach them that teamwork is important and more can be achieved when you work with others. Teach them that self-respect, self-awareness and self-confidence is everything. Teach them how to form their own opinions and be their own person. Teach them that everyone CAN be a leader, but not everyone IS a great leader. Teach them that failure does not define them, but their reaction to failure does. Teach them to create their own opportunities and that nothing will ever be handed to them. Teach them to not accept mediocrity.
Equip your player with as many tools as you possibly can, as fast as you can. Because remember; a coach is everything and soon to be nothing. All at once.