Volunteering to coach different youth sports throughout the year is a simple and fun way to impact the children in your community, and improve your coaching acumen when you hit the Little League® field next season.
It’s rare, if ever, when a youth sports coach joins a team and is considered an “expert.” Like everything in life, it takes time to learn, find your voice, develop a style, and earn the trust and respect of the parents and players.
Little League managers and coaches are no different. In fact, it can be even more of a challenge to become “established” because each season the local league’s Board of Directors vote on who will serve as team managers and coaches for that season, from a list of nominations put forth by the League President.
Still, it is common for volunteers to manage or coach for years past their “rookie” season. One thing that many veteran Little League coaches have in common is experience coaching children in different sports throughout the year.
Whether it’s the league’s fall ball season, or outside of Little League, on the basketball court, football, lacrosse, or soccer fields, or another organized youth sport, those who choose to volunteer their time in other arenas are effectively establishing their coaching demeanor, building a reputation based on commitment and loyalty to the children, while earning the respect and admiration of the families.
A Familiar Face
Familiarity and trust are valuable commodities for any coach, regardless of the sport. There is so much competition for a child’s time and attention, so for a volunteer coach to be seen as trustworthy, accountable, personable, and considerate of the child’s experience, parents are more willing to direct their children to play in a league where that type of person is present.
Coaching different sports throughout the year, helps both the adult and child, yet impacts each in separate ways. For the adult, serving as head coach or an assistant, teaching is always a constant, as is exercising effective communication and problem-solving skills. If the children have the opportunity to be associated with a coach who is familiar to them, then the learning curve is shortened, and the potential for emotional and athletic growth is expanded.
Perspective is a wonderful byproduct of coaching. Different sports often require different skill sets and points of view; and how a coach addresses a player is influenced by the sport, their role on the team, goals, expectations, and even their age. Put another way, even if a coach and player know each other, it does not mean that the same relationship they have during one sport season will necessarily carry over into another.
Variety Is a Good Thing
At present, there are so many organized youth sports available to children. Little League recognizes the value in all of them, and encourages as much diverse participation as any family feels is reasonable. Adults also have many opportunities to support the next generation of leaders, while making a social contribution where they live.
The Game of Life
By getting involved and staying engaged with the lives of the young people, and the community, you will not only help your local Little League thrive, but personally, you will be able to enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that coaching, and the life lessons you teach will far outreach the outcome of a game.