By Olivia Wilson
I’ve always wanted to enjoy sport, but I’ve never been particularly good at it! I took part because I had to, or because someone else dropped out! I had an awful sports teacher (think Mrs Trunchball) who had exceptionally hairy legs, enormous hands and used to threaten to hang us from the ceiling by our toenails! (True story!) Safe to say she never filled me with enthusiasm! I was always too terrified of letting her down, or worse, making her cross, that I don’t think I ever chose to join a team.
Thankfully this hasn’t been the same for my daughter! She is sport mad, and for good reason too!
I am thrilled that she has taken to sport, and not just because I was terrible at everything! Mainly it’s because this is the first time I have understood what team sport can do for a child’s confidence, self-esteem and general wellbeing. Poppy doesn’t like to be away from my side and suffers with PTSD. It’s been a tough few years for her, for us, for school, for everyone in our lives! However, since joining her first netball team she has crept out of her shell, little by little, and her confidence has blossomed.
As clichéd as it sounds, sport has literally changed my girl’s life, and truthfully, that’s due to her coaches. They have loved her, taught her, encouraged her, been patient with her, corrected her, believed in her, supported her, praised her, put her in her place, and given her the confidence I think she needs to move further in her life. They have been like another mother, only better!
I underestimated what committing to sport could do: I never considered I would stand, teary on the side-lines as my painfully anxious child elbowed her opponents out of the way so that she could slam the ball toward the goal. I never knew just what an incredible impact the love and dedication of a coach could have on a child’s outlook on life.
When we send our children out to play sport, I think we dismiss just what goes into coaching the team. We brush over the fact that these people are volunteers, working to build up our children to be happy, confident, team players. Coaches are so much more than just a coach; they are positive role models for our children.
We need to celebrate all team coaches, for taking our children on this magical journey. We need to thank them for getting out there every week in their free time. It’s not about the game, it’s so much more than that. It’s about all the other wonderful things our children gain from playing sport. The friendships that are made in a team will be lifelong, just as the skills they learn will see them through life’s journey.
We may struggle to get the children to training after work, we may find it bitterly cold on a Saturday morning, but the coach is always there, ready and waiting!! She plans the games, leads the girls, and guides them for no reward other than awesome results and a huge amount of respect from us all. Thanks to coaches, thousands of children will have a brighter future.
So next time you’re cheering from the side-lines, remember all the little things the coach is adding to your child’s life. All the things that maybe we miss whilst we’re chatting amongst ourselves.
Those precious skills that only a coach can teach, all those great life skills our children will rely on forever, and the lessons they will turn to over and over again.
As Magic Johnson once said “All kids need is a little help, a little hope and someone who believes in them”; and boy I am one happy Mumma that my girl gets this and more from her coach!