Tag Archives: players

Coaching IS Worth It

My team and the people I'm most proud of.

A few months back, I wrote an article detailing all the reasons why people shouldn’t go into coaching.  You can read here about all the stresses and frustrations coaches have to put up with.  The pressure to win is overwhelming, rarely is anyone satisfied, and at almost every level of coaching you have someone telling you how to do your job.

Well, call me a flip-flopper if you want, but I have to disagree with my past self.  I think I was letting off some steam when I wrote that piece.  In fact, I know that was the case.  Truth is coaching has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life.

Why the sudden change of heart? Our high school tennis team had its year end banquet the other night and I always give a little speech about each one of my players.  As I was writing my remarks, I found myself smiling at all the stories, the inside jokes, and the closeness of our team.  I’m not going to remember our record, or where we finished in the conference standings.   Laughing with those guys on the bus rides and poking fun at each other on the practice court, those are the irreplaceable memories that take the work right out of the job.

How can I forget one of my sophomores asking, “Coach, will you take us to eat at Hooters? I promise we won’t tell anyone.”  How can I possibly describe the satisfaction of talking to one of my volatile freshman about maturity and character, then having him be the one to ask if he can stay after practice and if he could organize off-season workouts?  Of course, parents complained and sometimes the effort level in our practices wasn’t what it should have been.  There were several difficult days.  The kind of days when I lost my cool and I wondered if I was really having any kind of impact at all. Then there was the day when my lone senior told me how he hated tennis his first two years, how he thought about quitting because the team had no chemistry.  He said, “I’m so glad I didn’t Coach Loeber.  In these last two seasons, I’ve had more fun than at any other time in school.  I love this team, and I’m gonna miss you guys.”

And that’s when it hit me.  This is all worth it. Who cares about backhand technique or doubles strategy? In the end what matters are the friendships, and that’s why being a coach is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done.  I have a connection with a group of guys that will last forever, and they’ve made me a better man along the way.  The best part for me is watching them become young men with drive, passion, and integrity.

So I guess I get it now.  I understand why coaches go gray and lose their hair, Continue reading Coaching IS Worth It

Want To Be A Coach? No You Don’t.

Scott Brooks' job only looks glamorous, there's many more moments full of frustration. (courtesy aolnews.com, nba/getty images)

The coach is always an easy target.  If your team looks bad, the knee-jerk reaction is always to blame the coach.  If players aren’t living up to their potential, must be the coach’s fault.  If there’s a key breakdown at a crucial moment in the game, the coach is clearly an idiot.  If your team’s fortunes don’t turn around immediately, this coach must not be the right man for the job.  If your kid isn’t getting enough playing time, the coach must have no idea what he’s doing.

Professional and collegiate coaches get paid big bucks, and I’m sure many of you would trade places with them in a heartbeat.  Not me.  No thank you.  I’m not sure the paycheck is worth the constant pressure, scrutiny, hatred, name-calling and second-guessing that coaches put up with from fans, players, and media.  Even if you can handle it, what about the toll it takes on your family?  Every day, your kids get to hear about why you stink at your job.   Entire websites are created just to promote and encourage your firing.  Your demise is almost imminent from the moment you take the job, because there is no sympathy, no grace, and zero tolerance in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of sports.  These days, owners fire coaches like it’s a bodily function.

Let’s say you’ve got thick skin, and can get past all the material pointing out every reason why you’re an imbecile.  Good for you.  Now all you’ve got to do is take a group of men, women, or children and turn them into winners.  Do that by managing several different personalities, varying backgrounds, an assortment of skill levels, and a dizzying array of attitudes.  You have to know who to coddle and who to criticize.  Who gets treated tenderly and who gets a dose of tough love?  Make sure you earn your players respect, but don’t be too hard on them.  Keep things fun and entertaining, but not too fun, because then you’ll lose that respect.  Keep players happy with minutes and playing time, and you better know how to massage the ego of your stars and high draft picks.  And if you happen to be a high school coach, good luck explaining to parents why Timmy didn’t make varsity.  That’s a fun conversation.

Continue reading Want To Be A Coach? No You Don’t.