A coach’s influence

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Being an athlete can be tough. On one hand it may seem glorious to be idolized by fans or respected by peers, but on the other it can be difficult to deal with the pressure to please people. For many athletes, as was the case for me, how we cope with these pressures has a lot to do with how we are coached. Coaching is a much more important commitment, job or hobby than most people realize. It is much more than simply teaching kids how to play a game.

Coaching is an obligation not only to teach the athletic side of sports but to place equal importance on being a mentor — teaching athletes how to effectively live life outside of sports. In our college years how we have been coached has a big influence on how we treat people outside of the game. Look at the athletes around you; see how they act. Maybe they walk around with their chest out and chin up; maybe they enjoy meeting people around them and being friendly with everyone. Or maybe they treat people like dirt. It is usually simple to decipher who has been simply coached for the sport and who has been mentored for life. I hope that when we coach, or are coached, we can have the perspective that life outside the game has importance too.

Jason Udall
Pinetop, Arizona

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