When I first agreed to write for this site I distinctively remember a conversation I had with my wife. In this discussion I remember telling her since I agreed to write for this site I was going to need thick skin. I realized I needed thick skin because I was putting myself out there in front of the world and would be open for criticism. Many of you might not know that I have dysgraphia which makes it very difficult to write. As a coach and a contributor to this site my goal has always been to help people deal with real world issues we face daily in practice. Numerous people have warmed my heart by contacting me through this site. I have enjoyed my friendships I have develop from my work here. I continue to learn a lot from the interactions with follow positive coaches. I am always humbled by the many coaches who desire to make people around them better. Since I share my thoughts and coaching I understand some people will be hateful. Unfortunately, those people are very sad souls. Overtime as a coach you will get better and become more well known. As you become more well know the number of people who are willing to make personal attacks will also increase. I realized unfair judgement was the nature of the beast many years ago when I inherited the national high school record holder in the 5000meters. I could not believe the way the media handled things and how message board experts thought they knew everything. As a teacher/coach your goal should always be the building of positive relationships with people you work with daily. These close relationships are what makes us uniquely human and are the most important.
Recently, my family has gone through serious struggles as my wife had the most difficult pregnancy one person could endure. However, I truly believe that my wife, family, and friends have become close through the entire process. Understandably, things have not been easy and many other people would have just given up. But, this is not how my wife or family works. See we have always been fighters. Spiritually, emotionally, politically, and socially. In addition to the difficult year my wife has had my father has also been hit hard by life. My fathers has worked hard his entire career to do the right thing and battle through tough times. At this very moment life is testing us, its testing you, and there people out there who would take great pleasure in your failure.
How are these troubling times dealt with you might ask? First, recognize true friendship is special. People who have your back even when its not popular to do so are a rare commodity.. Second, do not let hateful people deter you from the good you want to give the world. Third, remember all jobs are about relationships. Coaching and teaching is fundamentally a human endeavor. Forth, remember everything happens for a reason. Even when its seems as if life wants to crush you. Its important to not forget that diamonds are also created under great pressure. Many months ago my wife was told by our doctors that our little girl’s chances were not good and it would be a miracle if she made it to 32 weeks. Well as you can tell by her flexing her guns in the picture she is a fighter just like her mamma, daddy, and grandparents. 32 weeks is next week.
Every new season provides the coach with challenges and opportunities. It is important to faces these challenges bravely and make the most of opportunities. When a new athlete enters your program be kind and gently. Let them know what your goals are and how everyone is important from the fastest to the slowest athlete. Make sure your athletes know that championships are about teamwork and personal improvement. I believe if everyone on the team buys into those two factors you can give your opponents hell week in and week out. Be a living an example of those expectations and never allow the coaching to about you. Instead let the kids know the greatness of your program comes from the living, breathing examples you have on your team. Look around, I guarantee you have athletes that display teamwork and personal drive everyday. Those are the kids you should be most proud of because they are the true measure of great programs. When you get a group of kids who come prepared to fight for one another, the program, and their coach you will be unstoppable.