Should I volunteer to coach a team?
This is a loaded question if I have ever typed one! My first thought is, am I really volunteering because I’m interested in helping out a team that could use my knowledge and expertise. Or am I “volunteering” under some sort of duress that removes my ability to actually make the decision.
I’m going to tackle this one from the more positive outlook first. Why? I’m a sucker for a happy ending and this one has every opportunity to end up with a happy ending.
If you are in a position to volunteer to coach a team or, help coach a team, I think it can be a very rewarding experience. You clearly have some knowledge and expertise that you would like to share with a team and we all know there’s usually a lack of people fitting that description. When a team has the opportunity to be coached by someone that is passionate about the game, its members are always going to gain more from the experience.
Whether you want to be a head coach or assistant coach might be found in the amount of time and energy you have to dedicate to a team. Remember, being the head coach certainly involves more “stuff” than being the assistant. After spending a lifetime as a head coach, I’m really enjoying the chance to be a volunteer assistant coach with a very talented travel ball team. I get to share what I know, spend time at the ball park with a bunch of great kids and, when we finish up, I get to get in my car and head home. Now we all know the head coach probably has a slightly more complicated day.
If you are in the second category where you are being railroaded in some form into coaching a team, LOOK OUT!
Being volunteered into doing something you are not really enthusiastic about doing is a recipe for disaster. You may have the knowledge, but if you don’t have a passion to be there, then I think it is a mistake to allow yourself to be “volunteered” into coaching.
Just so you don’t think I’ve lost my mind, I did recently write about the situation where you get asked to coach your daughter’s team out of desperation. The only way the team will survive is if you agree to coach, but that is more of a labor of love than blackmail! Any time you get to spend with your kid at the ballfields should be a highlight anyway.
If you love the game, and have a little extra time, get involved! You will help grow the game and give a bunch of young players the benefit of your knowledge and experience. They will keep you young and, usually, appreciate the time you spend with them.
Volunteer — as long as you are really volunteering!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.