Some are stern disciplinarians, while others guide with a looser reign. Most fall in between. They direct groups as large as a 60-or-so-member football team to an eight-member tennis team or a small track squad.
So, what makes a coach effective?
We asked several lake-area coaches, athletics directors, administrators, players and parents. One main theme stood out – a coach’s role extends well beyond the playing field and often long after the game ends.
Many folks we surveyed emphasized that a coach doesn’t just teach the intricacies of a backhand shot, a zone defense or blocking techniques.
They’re teaching life lessons with sports as the backdrop. Those values and experiences often become ingrained in youngsters, can recall them when they’re adults – working as a team, overcoming adversity, being consistent and attaining success.
It could be a soft word of encouragement away from the field. Could be a fiery speech that sticks with a player. Or, sometimes it’s a coach just willing to listen to a player’s concerns about something that’s not related to sports.
Coaches often cited their proudest moments as when a student graduated or when a former player returned for a visit. Not one coach we talked to mentioned won-loss records. Sure, a few state championships stood out as highlights, but often the best coaching jobs aren’t always measured on a scoreboard.
– Cliff Mehrtens
Q & A with area coaches:
1. What Makes a good coach?
2.How’d you decide to go into coaching?
3. What’s your most-satisfying coaching moment, on or off the field?
4. What advice would you give to someone considering the coaching profession?