Why we drag ourselves up every cold Saturday morning
There are so many things associated with coaching that bring you stress and frustration that sometimes its easy to forget all the great things that you get from being involved in youth football.
1) Helping the kids make friends - We live in a time and world where children are a lot more insular and cocooned in their homes with the rise in online gaming and social media. Where face to face social interaction is massively reduced, with a massive rise in depression and feeling of isolation in the youth of today. Being able to help children build friendships that will sometimes last for life, and interact with their fellow children on such a basic physical level is amazing to watch.
2) Watching players grow - This can be in 2 forms either as actual football players or people. Seeing your and their work actually pay off and produce fantastic football players is wonderfully rewarding. However seeing them grow in confidence, turn from quiet introverted characters into loud, funny, bubbly children in your training is just as good. Knowing that some of the character changes will probably improve their life forever is probably one of my favourite things about coaching.
3) Playing football manager for real - We spend our lives criticising and debating the decisions of those managers of the teams we support. Whether we need that extra defensive midfielder, a 4 3 3, or if so and so is best in behind the striker. Now we have the opportunity to taste that responsibility and try things out. Show our tactical nous in developing different game plans and our coaching ability to get our teams to pull off the master plan.
4) Being able to share experiences with your child - Often if you are choosing to coach its with your child being a player for the team. Some of the moments they have at football will never be forgotten and will become treasured memories for the rest of their lives. You can be there with them making memories and also just spending time with them every week. Often you will live busy lives where you struggle to get enough time at home but if you help out at your team you will have at least 2 times a week where you can guarantee time alone with your kids. This can go both ways but if you take it in the right way is one of the best ways of maintaining relationships with your children as they get older and drift away from needing their parents. Things like that first goal or the pride you feel as they put in a performance of their lives share these moments, their defining football moments, and their ups and downs its an opportunity they can be too good to miss.
5) Its fun - Lastly and although I know there are probably many other reasons I haven't mentioned I feel its good to end on this. It is often forgotten that coaching can actually be really fun. When it goes well you can get a real buzz out of it, a spring in your step and a smile. Knowing you feel happier you have improved the days of the children in your team by passing a little happiness onto them. I haven't always coached full time and I know when I was working and coaching either voluntarily or part time when it was good it gave me a level of personal fulfilment that I found it really hard to replicate at work.
I will probably add stuff to this list but these are a number of the reasons that youth football can be such a wonderful area to move into. Beware though there are challenges which I will come into on my next blog post and if there is anything else you want to add please comment below.