I am sure we all, at times question ourselves, this comes from the heart of one of our members.
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I enter the season 2018 with high hopes and confidence of another great season. Although, this confidence quickly disappears as the pressure builds as both my teams have played 3 games and all without a win. Further reflection shows that both my sides have lost with margins in excess of 60 points further compounding the pressure to perform. What going on, what’s happened since last season?
The clouds start to set in and I start to question myself as a coach? Each session, each game I feel the eyes and ears of parents listening and watching everything I do, is this what it feels like to be on trial? I look deeper into myself and start to scrutinise everything I do over and over. My mind jumps to solution mode and I think the key is watch more videos, develop more technical plays, train them harder, be tougher, transfer the pressure to the players…..WE MUST WIN. Still no change and I fall deeper inside myself thinking what am I doing? Now my head is overrun with negative thoughts as I stand on the boundary line with a knot in my stomach, the feeling of isolation covers me from head to toe……….I’ve failed!!! The voice in my head say “Give up”, let someone that knows what to do coach.
Now I stand on the oval alone watching the players and parents leaving the ground, I kick myself for not getting the win and I come up with excuses in my head for the loss. Then my team manager comes out and say “gee the boys did well!” I look up at her and think yep another kick in the guts and I mumble, “yes but another huge loss”. Her son then comes up with a big smile on his face and says “thanks Baz that was great”! I look at him all confused and then BANG I realised at that moment the scoreboard didn’t mean as much to him as it meant to me. He tells me that he loved the game even though we didn’t win, he then goes on and says “did I see the goal that he kicked in the last quarter?”. I smile and say of course and give him a high five as he runs off the field. The next training I called all the players in and posed the question “what was the score of your first game last year?” Of course there is one or two that throws out a number but it’s only a guess, the rest didn’t remember and didn’t care......
I know I’m only really new to this coaching role but I now realise that coaching top players and top preforming teams is good but you will find your truth strength when times are the toughest. Coaching can be one of the most exciting when the team is doing well on the scoreboard but can also be extremely lonely when going through a winless period. As coaches we are all human and of course we will make some mistakes but it’s the love of the game that we are driven to coach. Bringing out in the best in our playing group and setting them up for success even if it’s not in this season the future will be brighter for the players. For me it is staying true to myself and remembering that it is the players that I’m here for! Ensuring they enjoy the game and enjoy the training should ultimately lead to success on the scoreboard.
I write and share this reflection as a powerful reminder to me of why I want to coach! With that said I’m also hopeful that others may read this and reflect on the words and appreciate that they may also feel like me and reaching out and supporting one another is true success.