STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE
Craig Hendrick | E-Marketing Assistant | Confidence Starts Within
I never intended to coach youth sports.
I started playing sports in elementary school and played into college. As a rite of passage, when my son turned 4, I signed him up for the first sport I could. It just so happened to be tee ball. However, our local league soon informed the parents that there was a shortage of coaches and that team sizes would be affected if someone didn’t step up. So, I did what I thought most parents would do, I volunteered.
I thought, this is only tee ball, how hard could this really be? I mean, I did win a 4th-grade baseball offensive MVP trophy. My major award had to mean something, right?
I quickly learned that first season that there would be little “coaching” involved. The funny thing about tee ball is that it’s often compared to herding cats. Instead of teaching the kids elaborate plays, I helped wrangle them into the dugout, directed them to run the bases in the correct direction and encouraged them to cheer their teammates on.
Reflecting on that time, watching my son connect with other players was the foundation to build his confidence and help him grow socially and emotionally. My four-year-old was not the only one who grew from the experience. I grew that first year too. I connected with the players who were having dance-offs in the outfield and building castles in the dirt. That spring, I learned something to live by – to always lead with connection. That self-assurance builds the foundation for trust.
Over the last eight years, I have coached multiple sports teams for both my son and daughter. Watching my children and their teammates grow and become confident in their abilities has brought me joy and made me proud. I feel that I have learned more from them than I ever imagined I would. Coaching my children and their teammates has also taught me to be proud of myself and my abilities.
I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy this game of life than to help my children and others grow. It’s also always rewarding to randomly get called “coach” in public.
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