Friday, October 16, 2009

Learning through Coaching

I don't think too much about being a dad someday. I don't think too much about it because I have never thought I'd make much of a good one plus the fact that I am unmarried makes the concept so foreign. I think about parenthood as a way that God shows you all your flaws in one instance but yet at the same time he shows you all the grace he has towards you...that is of course, if you serve him.

I have spent the last 7 weeks helping coach a group of 15 6th graders...well, 14 6th graders, and a 4th grader. I accepted Joey's job offer as an assistant coach because I wanted to show up the other teams with my knowledge of football. Problem is that no one told me that to be able to coach 6th grade football, I would have to attempt to understand 6th graders. No one told me that to understand them, I would have to put aside my own selfishness and sense of self worth. Well, we have played five and won a total of zero.

Now we did have a tie and last week, the team we played billed as the best needed a safety to win. On that play, we played with one less player than they did. Okay...that's getting me away from the point I am trying to make which is, we haven't won a game yet as the season winds down, I realize just how much I have learned from trying to teach. So what have I learned.

1. To be a parent, coach, friend, leader...half the battle is showing up...over and over again regardless of the results. They know you care when you are there.

2. 6th graders have the attention span of well...6th graders and it's about 6 minutes long so be straight to be point and quick about it.

3. 6th graders care just as much as I do about winning but they move on from losses a lot quicker.

4. You can go a longer way with an encouraging word than you can with a critical one. "You are playing hard but I need more out of you" sounds better than, "why did you miss that blocking assignment"

5. Coaching to their strengths is beyond just a talent issue; sometimes, it's more of a mental issue.

6. 6th graders can also be on emotional roller-coasters and it is okay.

7. Most times kids act up just for attention but sometimes that's why they try hard too.

8. Kids want you to be interested in other parts of their lives...yes, the one that you don't care about.

9. This generation of kids will be the smartest of all generations to date but if you don't do them right, they will turn out to be the laziest. They need mentors and fathers like never before.

10. Perhaps most importantly, I learned that there are much better fathers out there...Bob Romine has a way with them like you won't believe. Basically, you are never alone as a parent unless you want to be.

11. I also learned that I have a lot to learn...yeah, that's shocking, right?

At the beginning, I thought to myself that this isn't something I'd ever want to do again but I think I want to do it again next year. It's a sacrifice of time and energy but it's rewarding for the kids who have turned into my teachers.