An Homage to Youth Coaches

We get up early.

We leave work early.

We watch video of past games and drills.

There are sometimes accidents on the field or on the ice. Sometimes between players, sometimes between coaches and players. No one means for them to happen. But they happen.

We pick players up.

We brush them off

We do what we think is right and get them back into the game they love.

We teach your kids, whether they are 8 or 28, how to win and, more importantly, how to lose. Because life is not just about winning. And no one wins every time anyway.

We teach them that being a super star today isn’t as important as being one tomorrow. We teach them that not all kids are superstars (or will ever be one). We teach them that hard work separates the real superstars from everyone else.

We pat heads, clap backs, smile, laugh, joke. We try to give them inspiration to give their all on the field or on the ice and the understanding that we can’t do it for them.

We help them understand that they are only as successful as the team, to pass when they can, not when they have to.

We sometimes fail. Sometimes badly. But we are only human and for every one coach that is being paid there are scores devoting thousands of hours because they love the sport they are trying to get your kids to love. Forever.

But where we fail most often is with parents. We fail to help them understand that sports are tough. That their kids may cry. That they may get hurt. And that they need to keep all of it, the success, the failure, and the pain, in perspective. Ultimately they have to learn that those three things will make their child into the person they will become.

We are the ones that tell you your kid isn’t going to play in college or in the NHL/NBA/MLB/NFL/ETC. Not when they are 8. Not tomorrow. Maybe never (because you can never know). And we are the ones that have to help you understand that you can’t make it happen no matter how hard you try or how many extra clinics you take them to. Or no matter what another coach says to you who has his own motivations. We are the ones to tell you that your kids have to do it themselves. Supported by you. In spite of you. You have to guide them to make the right decisions. To dust them off when they fail. To tell them it’s okay and to try harder.

And when the season is over? We sign up again.

Because it’s what we love. And we want your kids to love it too.

Image courtesy of espn.go.com.

Jason Thibeault is the senior director of marketing strategy for Limelight Networks. In this role he helps direct Limelight’s corporate messaging and positioning, develops whitepapers and e-books, blogs, and evangelizes the Limelight solution offering to audiences around the world. He holds a B.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine Honors Program and a M.A. in English, with distinction, from California State University, Northridge. Jason is the co-author of the marketing thought-leadership book Recommend This! Delivering Digital Experiences People Want to Share (Wiley), the middle-reader chapter series Marmalade (Dime Novel Books), and rethinkeverythingblog.com. He is an inventor on a number of technical patents with Limelight Networks. Follow him on twitter @_jasonthibeault.

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