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Learning First-Hand What it’s Like to Coach

By Randy Gardner

As I embark on a new adventure in life called true Head Coaching, I was quit amazed at how much I thought I knew compared to reality.

I have decided to step away from my original thoughts of not coaching little kids in soccer until they are older and go ahead and coach both my younger boys, pre-k and 2nd grade. The reason “not to” is one that I hear many coaches talk about and that is the parents. After a few years of assistant coaching and helping out, I found that most parents are great and play along. It is only the unruly few that cause problems.

I have gone over this whole scenario a thousand times in my mind about how I would handle a team and a program.

Earlier this week, I was forced to take a coaching class that is mandated by the CYC before coaching a team. In my mind, I thought, what a joke. I have played at every level and I know the game inside and out, so I went with a negative attitude from the start— mind you, the class was 2 hours long.

After about 10 minutes or so, I figured out that the class was more about the theory of handling yourself as a coach, the players as players, and the parents as supporters. What a great two hours of my life! I learned a lot from someone, Bill Bommarito, who has been there and done that for many years. I absorbed what he said and I am already implementing it with my teams.

As you know from my many years of this column, I always try to excel in everything I embark on. I want to leave a mark on the world in a positive way. After hearing how coaches can made a positive difference in a child’s life forever, I am even more pumped up about the opportunity I am about to face.

It’s a great responsibility being a coach at any level; it takes patience and understanding and a willingness to teach. Many of you might be asking, “why are you writing this column and what is the point of it?”

Here you go. Many parents see practice and games for their children as a hassle and something they have to do. Take a second and look at it from a coach’s standpoint. Rarely do any amateur coaches get paid any money, but they donate a ton of time to your child. They often only hear negative comments, and for what?

The satisfaction of knowing they affected some child’s life.

My point is that parents should take a second or two and say thanks to their child’s coach for what they are doing. It will go a long way in the coach’s mindset. They want to know that they are appreciated for what they are doing. They are giving so much of themselves, so please show a bit of respect to every coach out there. Also, don’t forget the officials. Respect, respect, respect!


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