The Value of Coaching

by

By: Megan Moore
Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach

I heard from a lot of people about how valuable a coaching background is when I decided to take on the job. Although I’m not quite weathered enough from my three years to call myself wise, I now understand the advice. I had hoped they were right but was a skeptic, finding it difficult to believe that tracking down 20-some orders for Panera Bread and putting together parent handbooks was going to teach me much more than how to talk my way into a group discount and patience. While both important, I was looking for a few more life-lessons to send me off to wherever I was headed and to figure out where exactly that might be. Like all good things, they haven’t happened quickly, been obvious or easy, but I’m happy to be taking away the value of a few things that will serve me well in the future.

1. Humility. There are many answers I don’t know and admitting so is far better than dodging a question or even worse, making one up. Despite the difficulty of mouthing those three painful words, the aftermath is not nearly the catastrophe I’d imagined it to be. It’s often freeing, because who says you’re supposed to know all the answers? I’ve found my best teaching moments have come from throwing schemes at players with only “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but let’s try it and see,” as a guideline. Those times were often followed by crossing my fingers, holding my breath and praying that my karma had been good enough to let something worthwhile happen.  When things have fallen into place,  I’ve felt pretty good about myself.

2. Perspective.  If you drop a pass, lose a game or even lose a receipt, the sun will still rise tomorrow.  Yesterday’s mishaps and blunders become quite fixable in the morning. No matter the outcome of a contest, there are far more important things in life to be thankful for. And as much as you think about lacrosse, basketball or soccer, your players do not. Take the amount of time you spend in a day analyzing defenses and breaking down film, subtract that by about 12 hours, and you’ll arrive at the measly one hour combined time that their sport dances across their brains. So when a Saturday game gets moved to a Sunday, they will feel that some awful injustice has been done and that the world is ending, but it doesn’t mean they don’t care. It just means they have a lot going on. So hopefully they’ll grumble a bit, decide to put their resentment to good use, get a W and gain a little perspective of their own.

3. Confidence.  You’re only as great as you believe you are. As intimidating as a group of some of the country’s brightest young men and women can be, they expect you to teach them something. While that might make the task that much more intimidating, it means they have some faith that you know what you’re talking about, and you should have a little too.  As previously mentioned, you don’t need all the answers, just the ability to improvise and the resolve to figure it out.

4. Patience. It is, in fact, a virtue. There hasn’t been a time when I’ve snapped about a forced shot or a twice (or thrice) answered question that I haven’t felt silly for, regretful of and ineffective about.  Irritating and disappointing things are going to happen, and while sometimes you need a little tough love, it doesn’t serve its purpose in the form of off the cuff aggravation. If anything, it only alienates its recipient. Sometimes such problems are results of communication breakdowns, the root of which stem from my own hotheaded behavior on the sideline or rushed, nervous explanation of a drill.  This of course has only happened sometimes.

For someone who’s been at it for much longer than I have, these realizations probably come as no-brainers.  But I hope they are relatable. Though I’ve learned a thing or two about each of these, I still have to work at them, and imagine that I will for quite awhile. And while coaching may not be in my immediate future, I find it hard to believe that it won’t sneak it’s way back in sometime.

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