Pay it forward
I love seeing all of the tributes to coaches out this week for National Coaches Week. Thinking about coaches and the impact that they have on the lives of young people brings a tear to my eye and I know I am not alone. Scrolling through Facebook is certainly a tear-jerker hazard right now with all of the images and stories of coaches who have made a difference.
Coaches have had an enormous impact on myself and my children. Working with sports associations, further allows me to witness the hard work that happens behind the scenes leading to outcomes that ultimately impacts the lives of team members.
“A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life” – John Wooden.
This may sound dramatic. Change a life. Who has that kind of power?
In March 2015, Harvard's Centre on the Developing Child released a study saying,
“Every child who winds up doing well has had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult.”
Often that adult is a coach. My hunch is that for each coach out there who is having an impact on a child’s life, they had their own coach who influenced them. Pay it forward.
As a parent, I have watched my own kids influenced by coaches in different ways at different times. What stands out for me is that, from the time they first played on a soccer pitch at the age of 4, coaches have role-modelled the value that as adults we spend time helping. That’s just what adults do. One of the ways that we do that is by investing in children because they are important and the way that this is done is through sport which provides skills such as leadership, team-work and fitness.
My daughters moved through soccer, volleyball, softball, hockey, track, swimming and basketball over the years. It didn’t change from one sport to the next, individual or team. There were coaches along the way who provided the same message. Give back. Help out. Pay it forward.
The result has been that my daughters naturally take on leadership and coaching roles even at young ages. This is a part of their identity. I don’t think they could even articulate that somewhere along the way, they made a choice to do this. It has become engrained in them as young athletes. Something instilled in them from that first time they hit the soccer pitch before they could even read. Pay it forward.
As a parent I didn’t think of this as the end result on the day that I signed them up for soccer but I will be forever happy that it has turned out this way.
And this brings me to the moral of the story. The reason that I am so eternally grateful to all those amazing coaches who I have known. You have inspired so many to be better humans. To become leaders. And for this, on National Coaches Week, I thank you.