Coaching is more about personality than knowledge of the game

I recently read a blog that encouraged me to go ‘out of the box’ and write more on my personality, not on what is expected. I know more about coaching than I do about reviewing books or blogging so I shall begin my journey with what I know.

I have been a recreational basketball and softball coach since I was a teenager. I had to take a hiatus when I went to college because playing both sports and going to school was too much. I realized during my time as an athlete and an assistant coach that those with knowledge were not necessarily the best coaches. I also noticed moms and dads who had little to no knowledge of the game but were willing to learn and knew how to treat young ones succeeded.

It is very difficult to be a volunteer coach. Many parents believe their child is the best on the team. They think their kid should be playing the whole game with little regard to the others on the bench that paid the same registration fee. Other parents let their child miss practice or games without calling or bothering to text. There are times that leads to a forfeit which means the whole team loses out on the fun.

Knowledge of the game doesn’t train you on how to speak to the parents that are inconsiderate. Knowing how to teach a girl to slide into second base does not help you bite your tongue when a parent begins to scream about how her child should pitch today (even if she hasn’t practiced her form in weeks ).

My mom was my softball coach when I was in little league. She had less knowledge than many of us. She recruited a couple of boys that played baseball and a varsity high school softball player to help her. That was back when there was no YouTube or Google to research how to coach softball. After a few years of coaching, she became one of the most successful coaches in the league. She was asked to become an ADA (that is an authority on the rules during All-Star season) which she did for about ten years.

Personally, I would not volunteer as a hockey coach, I have never been on a pair of ice skates. Parents that were my assistants watched YouTube videos and asked questions which helped their coaching tremendously. They began as rookies and were aware they knew less than some of the players on the team, but they were willing to learn. They had the personalities that the kids needed. They were able to see which girls learned the skills easily and which girls needed extra help or other ways of learning the game.

Basically what this post is about…  only one thing is needed to be a great recreation coach is…


The little knowledge you have can always get better by learning the game through research. Watch college sports on ESPN, online, or YouTube videos on technique and practice skills. As a parent, you understand these kids will go through bumps and they don’t know much, so it’s okay. As a spectator, you think the coach has a magic pill; now that you’re the coach you’ll see it differently.

If you show you care, if you know how to handle parents and other spectators, you can definitely coach. Many coaches are parents so they know how to treat kids. They should understand they are not all athletes but want to have fun and be safe. Just being out there on the field, or on the court, with them is all the kids need. Learn the game as the season goes on, I bet you’ll have fun.

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