Hollywood sells the image. TV perpetuates it.
Coach cam. Sideline theatrics.
A flamboyant coach gesturing down the sidelines. Heck, NFL coaches even hire an assistant to keep them off the field. Literally, professional coaches have men behind them pulling them back to the sidelines.
You know who belongs on the field? The athletes. You know who deserves our attention? The athletes. You know who should be the protagonist of all sport? The athletes.
Our job is not to be the protagonist of a youth match. Our role is to honor the children who are giving it a go. So hard at times. I know; I have been there. It is not about fault, blame, or guilt. It is not about beating ourselves up when we err. All coaches have their moments. It is about a young player given the confidence to perform at her best. It is about training her to be on that field, in that moment.
A match is a celebration.
A game is a gift to a player. It should be the prize for training to compete at one’s best, whatever that best may or may not be. Some team will win. Some team will lose. The Monday school bus comes regardless.
I think we have gone so far as to misguide our parents. We have conditioned them to equate theatrics with passion. When parents see a calm, pensive, and poised coach, they see apathy not intelligence. That’s on us. That’s how far we have strayed.
We babble our nerves. We bark our vulnerabilities. Athletes do not need us as much as we believe they do come match day. They tend to be just fine with more silence and a few halftime tips, in fact.
There is a clear division of roles. Athletes play sport. Coaches train athletes to play sport.
Let’s let children do what they do best: PLAY.