Coaching, you must be mad.
Having just returned from the Queensland Hockey Masters, I reflect on the role of a coach in sport.
It was my first hockey tournament as a player, the first time I have been coached as an adult for five years and the highest level I have competed at.
My team was a bunch of men aged between 34 and 49, generally experienced players who had trialled and put into a team.
DC was the coach, he was the oldest, but fittest and most skilled player in the side.
I asked how he got the job, “they ambushed me Lloydy!”.
Not an uncommon reason.
You would think coaching this group would be easy, but it was like herding cats.
Players missed flights, late to warm up, forgot uniforms, published wrong information about game times (not deliberately, but unhelpfully), and of course at this age, we socialised very well after the games.
But in the wash-up, DC had a game plan, he had roles for all the players, and we linked really well on and off the pitch, getting some good results and with no arguments.
A great result.
Now most coaches around the Central West will be reading that and thinking what an easy gig!
Most coaches out here are doing it because their kids/wife/husband/family member are competing, but some do it for the love of the sport or sometimes their kids have grown up and they just cant find anyone to replace them.
Whatever the reason, they do it with gusto, under increasing government rules, requirements for qualifications, and changing parenting philosophies.
Sometimes travelling hundreds of kilometres, getting to the grounds hours before others, preparing for weeks, and sitting with kids after a session is finished waiting for them to be picked up.
It’s a thankless job, but it shouldn’t be.
These community members are providing entertainment, fitness, skills, team dynamics and discipline for our kids and us, and while they do not want payment or gratuities, I think the least we can do is be on time, follow the rules set down, say thank you and offer a hand if you can.
As I sat recovering from the first tennis coaching sessions of the season, hoarse from talking and sore from head to toe, I got a message from a parent to say thanks and how much their kids enjoyed it, this did more for me than an ice pack and pain killers could ever achieve.