I’ve been busier than the men’s room at Golden Corral on chili-mac and cheese night, coaching two little league teams. After learning 23 names, managing 22 games, and having about 25 practices I’ve learned to leave the gear in my truck, don’t forget the water, and have everyone visit the bathroom before the first pitch.
I think we want all boys to lead active lives and build confidence in themselves through success after hard work.
In a sense, I am always coaching; be it lining their knuckles up in while holding the bat, keeping their feet floppy in the free style, reeling in a redfish, or saying the dinner prayer.
I’ve found my boys learn in waves. For instance, swimming the fly is a learning progression depending on timing and the kick. But if you tell them everything they must do before swimming it correctly, they will almost be paralyzed with information overload. Break it down into simple steps and after a few short sessions, they suddenly get it.
No sense trying to explain the intricacies of the infield fly rule to a 7 year old.
I get excited and have fun. Go ahead and smile, yell, and get fired up with the boys. The younger they are the more they love it and learn to feed off your energy. Encourage them to celebrate and be goofy when they succeed.
It’s all about the fun. When my wife grabbed a few tennis rackets at a thrift store, obligatory sweat bands were in order. Sadly, I couldn’t find any painfully short shorts to complete the 1980s look of these burgeoning McEnroe’s.
The other night we set up a practice elk camp in the back yard, building a fire, roasting some dogs, and breaking out our new backpacking stove from MSR. The boys spread the sleeping mats and bags out, and scattered army men over the floors of the tent. You know, the essential stuff for an elk hunt.
One of Davids song lyrics says “Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him,” and it’s true. If you have children in your life to mentor, train and coach don’t hesitate to do so. If sports aren’t your thing, coach them to do what you like. Whatever you enjoy, teaching a kid to do what you like and do it well creates a satisfaction way beyond your own accomplishments. I’ve been on some fine hunts, scored touchdowns and caught a bunch of fish but nothing is like seeing kids you’ve taught do the same. While it takes patience and time, the reward far outweighs the cost.