What a whimper!
Did anybody else know it was National Coaches Day on 8 October?
Nah, apart from seeing one hashtag and posting a quote from legendary NFL coach Tom Landry I all but missed it myself.There seems to be a day for everything these days.World Spider Appreciation Day, National Pencil Case Day and Devonport Show Day are all seeming Clayton’s days compared to World Mental Health Day, National Day of Reconciliation and Royal Hobart Show Day and National Coaches Day has the chance to fall into the first category if we don’t get around and support it by celebrating the success, failures and good news stories of coaches at all level, but particularly grass roots.
In all sport we celebrate the individuals and teams that have medals hung at the end of events and seasons and the coaches rarely rate a mention other than in acceptance speeches.
I recently attended a sporting club annual dinner where coaches were rewarded by the club with flowers, chocolates, vouchers, photos and kind words. This kind of recognition for a job well done goes a long way to retaining coaches who at community level are generally volunteers or making enough money to cover their subs and travel.This club, known as the family club, celebrated its successes and also spoke about the future of its coaches and players as each award winner paid tribute to the coaches who helped them succeed, even if that coach was unable to attend the dinner.On that dinner, coaches awards are one of the hardest trophies to present as in my case I had a squad of 20 or more. The young man who I awarded mine to is an example of why we play community sport. For fun. We play, coach and umpire community sports for the princely sum on $1m space bucks a year and this young fella, Jackson, is the kind of kid who will always make you smile, makes coaching on the horrid, rainy and cold days. He is a 13-year-old role model for anybody who pays sub to play sport.
We need to be sure to celebrate our coaches, not just on an arbitrary day but each training. A quick, “thanks coach” on the way off the park or after a run, swim or gym session goes a long way to restoring the confidence of a coach who may have had a poor week at work, a blue with their partner or ran out of fuel on the way to training. The coach who has run out of ideas after a string of losses who wakes up at 2am thinking of a new drill or session plan or pondering about how to best motivate their athletes.Finally, the coach who has and seven wins on the bounce, an athlete with PBs or is preparing for a Grand Final when everything is going well knowing each success is one step closer to the inevitable loss. The pressure to continue to motivate, inspire and develop is immense.
So, despite National Coaches Day being as well known as the new book Murray and the Seagull at the moment, we hope both blossom and both can be appreciated and celebrated.
After all, gratitude is an important part of the athletes psyche and the coach is the driver of success who does it out of service, not expecting accolades but enables others to do what they want/need to do.
What a whimper!