For many years I had this expectation of winning every game we played. If we won the game, all I felt was relief. No feeling of happiness or joy, just relief. If we lost, I was crushed and felt awful for a few days afterward. I put that much pressure on myself. I noticed the boys didn’t have this problem. They might cry about it right after the game but in a few hours they were completely over it. Why can’t I be like that is what I thought?
I think I was not making the outcome of the game the main thing, I was making it the only thing. It left me feeling empty. OK, we won. That’s what I expected because I worked my tail off to make it happen. Now what? There has to be more to it than that or you won’t do this for very long. I probably would have quit coaching if I hadn’t figured out that it’s more important to do it in such a way as to benefit the kids beyond just wins and losses.
Once I decided I was doing it for them and not for me it changed my outlook. Now the most enjoyable time for me is practice. When I get to spend time with the boys, interact with them and teach them about the wonderful sport of football and lessons that go far beyond the football field. This has allowed me to create relationships with them for life. That is way more rewarding than any win can be. I also love when I get to share memories of battles won and lost on the football field with them. I have heard from many former players that the time spent with me was the best time of their lives (so far). I am encouraged and saddened by this. Encouraged because I helped to provide them with some of the best memories of their young life. Saddened because nothing else in their life has been better. It gives me incentive to keep going and doing what I’m doing. Also to keep learning and improving the process. I want the next generation to get even more out of the experience than my past players did.
So I implore you, find out ways to make it about them. You will still win ball games. We still do but we’re winning at much more than that now.