Coach­ing is a lot like life

The Compass - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Mercer

Coach­ing a team in any sport is a lot like mov­ing through life.

You have to make de­ci­sions that will im­pact the fu­ture of the team re­gard­less of how oth­ers feel about them.

In turn, each de­ci­sion you make will teach you some­thing you did not know be­fore mak­ing that move.

Just as you grow as a per­son, you grow as a coach.

There are go­ing to be as­pects of life you know noth­ing about, just as there are when run­ning a team.

There are times you have to rely on other people for guid­ance and help along the way.

It makes sense life and coach­ing are mir­rors of each other. In sports, games are just mi­cro­cosm of the world.

There is con­flict on nu­mer­ous lev­els, some big­ger than oth­ers, and how you deal with those con­flicts will de­fine you as a per­son and a coach.

Just like life, as you move through coach­ing you will meet an ever-evolv­ing cast of char­ac­ters.

It’s sim­ple re­ally. Just like life, as you move through coach­ing you will meet an ever-evolv­ing cast of char­ac­ters.

Some will stay with you for­ever, while oth­ers will flash through dur­ing cer­tain mo­ments in time.

Maybe it’s that player who only chews dill pickle sun­flower seeds, or Big League Chew.

Or, it’s the player who tapes his hockey stick a cer­tain way. It takes all kinds, it re­ally does.

You’ll un­doubt­edly meet the player who must un­der­take a cer­tain num­ber of steps be­fore en­ter­ing the play­ing space. You will marvel at the fact that if they do not per­form each step ex­actly right, their head might ex­plode.

As a coach, there is the added pres­sure of deal­ing with a per­son at their emo­tional low­est, while at the same time man­ag­ing their high­est point.

Over the weekend, I was a part of a coach­ing staff that took a group of midget-aged base­ball play­ers to the cham­pi­onship game of the AA provin­cial tour­na­ment July 4-6 in Con­cep­tion Bay South and Mount Pearl.

While I didn’t make any life al­ter­ing de­ci­sions, when on the bench you’re re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing sure ev­ery­one knows their roles, amongst other du­ties.

Those roles in­cluded mak­ing sure play­ers who didn’t play a whole lot stayed ready in case they had to go in.

Ob­vi­ously, those play­ers are down be­cause they aren’t play­ing. Keep­ing them en­gaged can be a chal­lenge.

Do you joke around with them or chide them to keep sup­port­ing their team­mates?

Luck­ily, these play­ers were more than ac­cept­ing of their roles mak­ing things a lot eas­ier.

It is a bal­anc­ing act, re­ally.

All you can hope is the de­ci­sion you make does not have an ad­verse ef­fect on the play­ers un­der your charge.

That’s where the two realms re­ally con­verge. That point where the de­ci­sions you make cre­ate a rip­ple through the rest of the uni­verse.

Like a boat skim­ming across the sur­face of a pond, a coaches’ de­ci­sion can cre­ate a wake that will be felt through the team.

You never know how these wakes will af­fect ev­ery­thing you are try­ing to do.

It is what makes it fun and com­pletely ter­ri­fy­ing at the same time.

Just like life.

From the notepad:

• Con­grat­u­la­tions are in or­der to young base­ballers Stephanie Crane, Vic­to­ria Rear­don and Noelle Drover. The trio of fe­male play­ers were named to the provini­cal un­der-16 ban­tam girls team. It should be an ex­cit­ing sum­mer for the three ... A be­lated con­grats to Kelly’s Land­ing in the Bay Roberts 19-and-over Slo-Pitch League, who took the provin­cial qual­i­fier tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship late last month ... I’m hear­ing the Hit­men and the Out­siders are among two of the teams tak­ing part in Su­per Sports Weekend in Bay Roberts. Should make for an ex­cit­ing tour­na­ment ... River­head’s Dan Cleary signed for an­other year with the Detroit Red Wings for $1.5 mil­lion ... No­body asked me, but I have a feel­ing LeBron James is head­ing back to Cleve­land.

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