Being a hockey and soccer mom over the last few years has definitely given me some insight into what it takes to be a great (and not-so-great) coach. I’ve seen my two boys thrive under the leadership of a coach who really understood how to get the best from them and encouraged them to take chances, try hard and have fun. I’ve also comforted my youngest son after several practices where his coach continued to yell to the point that my son shut down and didn’t want to try at all. It was truly heartbreaking.
As a soccer and hockey coach’s wife, I’ve also seen the other side of it. I’ve been so proud of my husband’s passion and dedication to the teams that he has volunteered to coach. He loves all sports and has taken numerous training courses online and in person to make sure he develops his own skills. I’ve beamed with pride listening to my husband lift his team’s spirit after a tough loss. I’ve heard the excited kids on the phone when Coach Paul calls them to say, ‘Great game today, buddy! You sure skated fast!’ I’ve even woken up to the sound of my sometimes ‘obsessed’ husband at the computer in the middle of the night making sure his practice plan is ready for the next day’s practice.
Just because you’ve played a sport all of your life, doesn’t mean that you are ready to coach that sport. Coaching kids of any age requires specific training to ensure that you are prepared, organized and able to develop the players to reach their potential. Or if your child wants you to coach their team but you just don’t know everything about their favourite sport, that’s ok, you can still join in. Becoming a leader and taking the appropriate courses to strengthen your coaching skills far outweigh the technical skills that you can always learn along the way.
Some leagues and organizations may have training of their own, but you should also visit the Coaching Association of Canada and take their Get Coaching! online training courses to develop your coaching skills for free. With four easy-to-follow training modules: Plan (including downloadable practice plans), Prepare, Deliver and Conclude, this online tool will help make you a successful, organized and effective coach. Whether you’re a seasoned coach or a newbie, you can learn more about the fundamentals of coaching or take this free training course to take your coaching experience to a new level.
Being a coach can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but also one that does come with responsibilities, added time commitments and the need for training. Coaches are problem solvers, teachers, mentors, friends and role models. They can leave a lasting impression on children and impact their lives in ways that help prepare them for their future.