When a player gets it is a coach’s re­ward

The Compass - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Mercer Ni­cholas Mercer is a re­porter/pho­tog­ra­pher with The Com­pass. The late Pat Quinn is his favourite coach of all time. Ni­cholas can be reached at nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca.

Coach­ing a team in any sport is not as easy as it looks. It is not just show­ing up for games and prac­tices, and it cer­tainly isn’t just stand­ing on the bench shout­ing in­struc­tions or mak­ing player changes.

You need to brush up on how to de­velop play­ers, prac­tices and an over­all team con­cept. If you didn’t know that be­fore, you need to know it from the point you first say yes to the po­si­tion.

You need to rec­og­nize when what you’re teach­ing isn’t trans­lat­ing to team suc­cess and then find some­thing that will.

There are times you have to change strat­egy mid game or find a new player to plug in with team­mates in an at­tempt to spark the team.

To put it sim­ply, coach­ing is hard. There are big de­ci­sions to make and egos to man­age.

And, that is at all lev­els of sport. Ev­ery player, no mat­ter the age, has an ego. They have a pre­de­ter­mined idea of their self- worth — par­ents too for that mat­ter.

At times, coach­ing is about keep­ing that in mind, while mak­ing de­ci­sions that might not be in their favour. You learn very quickly how play­ers re­spond to this and then you can ad­just ac­cord­ingly.

It is not about tear­ing a player down in favour of re­build­ing him or her in your im­age. That’s play­ing sports god, and you don’t want that.

You have to find ways of mak­ing play­ers work in your frame­work and not just push­ing them to fit in.

Doesn’t sound like much fun does it?

Well it isn’t, if you don’t want to put the work in. If you just like be­ing in con­trol and have no real tech­ni­cal acu­men to bring to the ta­ble, stop coach­ing now. Just stop. Let some­one more qual­i­fied do the job.

That’s my rant for this week. Let’s move on to the real sub­ject for this lit­tle piece of the sports sec­tion.

For as much as coach­ing is hard, it is equally as re­ward­ing. It al­lows you to give back to your com­mu­nity and is an ed­u­ca­tion unto it­self. Where does it re­ally count? Coach­ing is at its best when you see a player ‘ get it.’

I don’t mean see­ing a player start to come around in your cho­sen sys­tem. I mean a player you’ve taken a chance on sud­denly play­ing the game in a way he shouldn’t be.

That player who started out as an ath­letic neo­phyte start­ing to ex­hibit qual­i­ties he shouldn’t. Maybe it is mak­ing a cer­tain cut into open space or per­form­ing a move they have been work­ing on the bet­ter part of two years.

That is the re­ward­ing part of coach­ing. See­ing play­ers get bet­ter at the sport they love is ev­ery­thing in the world.

Win­ning games will al­ways be No. 1. But, in cer­tain in­stances it takes a back seat.

For as much as coach­ing is hard, it is equally as re­ward­ing.

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