With all Kevin’s blogging about kids and sports, I felt it was my time to chime in. We have definitely entered a new era of child rearing – whether on the sidelines watching our kids play or coaching their team, we are fully consumed.
At 6 years old, our daughter, Davan, has finally jumped on board with playing a team sport. And yes, I did say “finally.” With Nolan playing soccer for so many seasons, we’ve been practically begging Davan to join a soccer team each season as well. However, she expressed absolutely no interest. We even tried bribing her to join with a friend…but that didn’t work either. Instead, she came to every one of Nolan’s games, sometimes cheering him on, more often glued to my iphone while I cheered for him.
If you have read Kevin’s Blog, you know that he played soccer and football. I was also very athletic as a youngster and played soccer, volleyball, and ran track and field all through elementary school up to my sophomore year in High School. Both Kevin and I believe in team sports and the values it instills in kids. As Debra Mitchell writes in her article Cultivate Team Sports And Sportsmanship,
“Play is a critical part of a child’s healthy development, and well-planned sports and team sport programs are a chance for children to learn valuable life lessons, including teamwork, discipline, leadership, conflict resolution, respect, integrity, self-confidence and effective communication — all while having fun. Team sports are also an opportunity for children from many different backgrounds, economic means, and social levels to come together and learn how to work toward a common goal. For some children, being part of a team is the only time they can meet and share with individuals who may have beliefs and values that differ from theirs. Participation in team sports also helps children establish friendships they may keep for the rest of their lives.”
Because Kevin and I strongly believe in these values, it was hard to say no when asked to coach when I was signing Davan up for softball—for those who have not yet entered the sports era with their children, parent volunteers generally coach in most sports leagues. The leagues are dependent on parents stepping up and helping the kids. And when no one volunteers, kids are turned away for the season. However, when initially asked to coach the team, my answer was no. Shortly after, my answer changed to, only if no one else steps up. Soon after that, I received a voicemail requesting me to be the coach. After receiving that voicemail, I had to stop and consider why I didn’t want to coach the team, and if I would be willing to take on such a big commitment.
When I stopped to think about it, the results surprised me: Time and ego where my two reasons for not wanting to step into the position. Ultimately though, it was my ego that was holding me back. As I wrote earlier in this post, softball was not one of the sports I played. So, how could I coach a softball team of 5 and 6 year olds? I thought about how strongly I wanted to be there for my daughter; if this were soccer, it would have been a no brainer. I then thought more about coaching and what makes a good coach. I believe that at this stage in a sport, building a cohesive team, making the kids feel good about themselves and one another, teaching them the importance of supporting one another and cheering for each other, helping them stay focused, and helping them develop the ability to loose and win with dignity are just as critical to successful coaching as being an expert in the sport. So, I figured maybe, just maybe I can take my coaching beliefs and share them with these little girls as they are introduced into the world of fast-pitch softball (The rest of the softball fundamentals I have decided to learn from experts around me).
After only two practices, I am feeling extremely excited. I may have even found a new passion in myself!
So, here I am and here we go…Wish me luck on this new endeavor and please let me know if you have any good coaching advice!!!