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For me, coaching is a passion. I’ve been an athletic coach for 18 years. My job description is to teach basketball and baseball, schedule, write game plans, attend clinics, hold camps, and general duties. To have success according to my contract, I have to get my teams to win games. When people criticize coaches saying that we only care about winning, they need to understand that we have to win in order to keep our contract. If we don’t win, our administration and our fans want us fired.
I rate my job satisfaction as a coach at 9. I have to deduct a point from a full 10 because of the outside pressure, which comes mostly from parents. Years back, I allowed myself to be concerned with their noise. Now I know everyday that I walked into the gym or onto the field and impacted my players, in a way, that doesn’t matter to their parents. I know that I put my team together in the best way possible to win games. I know that I improved every athlete some way.
What I can do with these kids is awesome. I teach them plays and fundamentals but I use athletic discipline to instill life lessons in them. First I teach kids to love the sport, then I take kids who are below average students and require them to better themselves academically to play the sport. When they want to quit, I ask them for more. I challenge them to work as team with people that they don’t like in the hall at school. I require them to think smart in an intense situation.
I do enjoy working with more mature teams, to an extent. The challenges are that bad habits have already been formed and I have to coach to win. I spend a tremendous amount of time with my line-up so that everyone that works hard gets to play, regardless of skill. It’s important to me that I reward every athlete with decent game time.
Middle school teams give me opportunity to work on solid skills and good habits. I can teach more and I have leeway to make certain that I develop every athlete by giving them game time. The pressure to win is not as intense as at the High School level.
When I entered into coaching as a volunteer in a recreation center for at-risk kids, I became hooked. I’m glad that I started the way I did. I see the big picture of what I can actually do for kids other than teach them to hit a ball. I still volunteer with young kids who eventually play for me on a school team. Sometimes I have to buy their shoes or pay for their fees. I always have to tutor them, but as I do so I see the High School Diploma that they might not have gotten otherwise.
When I first became a paid coach I was miserable. I had parents screaming at me. For a while, I tried to keep everyone happy. I wasn’t having the impact on my kids that I wanted. I eventually got to the place that I am now. I know that I am here for these kids and no one else.
Without a doubt, parental interference is the most frustrating thing about coaching. Parents believe their kid is the star. I’m fortunate to coach team sports so that I can hide weaker players and get every kid in the game for a decent amount of time. It helps the athlete keep working and it keeps the parent quiet.
To me, coaching is not particularly stressful. There are definitely some intense moments, 11 seconds on the clock and we are two down, but it’s not real stress when you look at the big scheme of life. Job stress in coaching comes from outside the gym.
The money is a supplemental income unless you make it to a college or professional team. I make around 2k for a 6 week season in Middle School, 5k for a three month season High School. I only coach in small schools. Bigger suburban schools certainly pay more. I open the gym in the off-season two times a week and run two camps a year. Other than season play, my time off is up to me.
A degree in teaching or coaching is a standard requirement to coach at a school. I don’t have that, but I do have an ability to put a group of athletes that are very diverse in skill, talent, and attitude together and eventually win games and titles. I would like to become a coach in a juvenile detention center or somewhere like that. I want to bring kids back to the world and I think I can.
I’m not getting rich in this job, but I am certainly enriched because of it.
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