My best life choice
JESSICA NICO is a reporter by day and a volunteer basketball coach by night. As she explains, sports volunteers aren’t really in it for the accolades – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recognise them.
I AM often shot a look of incredulity when I tell people I volunteer as a junior basketball coach.
Most times that shock deepens when I tell them I coach not one but two teams, juggling almost 20 young teenage boys between them.
Taking up coaching is the best decision I have made.
It can be stressful, players can be irritating in typical teenage fashion, but the benefits far outweigh the few little irks.
I have seen the boys grow in more than just basketball skill and ability – they have become more confident, more respectful and more aware of how their actions impact others.
They are friendlier, better communicators, better leaders, better followers, better team players – all traits that will serve them well as they start to make their way in the world.
For myself, there are the benefits to mental health, a greater sense of community and the feeling of being part of something, of knowing you are making a difference, however small, in the life of a young person.
I see first-hand the struggles my club and others like it have in enticing parents or the wider community to volunteer an hour or two a week, but grassroots sporting clubs can only survive through the generosity of their volunteers and the positives of being involved, of making a difference, are well worth a few hours a week.
If in 10 or 20 years “my boys” don’t remember anything that happened on the court, but remember they had a coach that they respected and had fun with, then it will all have been worth it. That’s why I coach. Ask the coach of any local team and I truly hope their answer and joy would be something similar to mine.
Do you know a coach or another passionate volunteer who has served their sport well? We are on the hunt for Local Sports Stars and the people who make it happen. Nominations close this month, so head to www.localsportsstars.com.au to recommend your outstanding coach or volunteer.