So this past Thursday marked the end of my very first coaching season as a head coach. I coached the F.P. Walshe Junior “A” Flyers, which means I coached 11 grade 8/9 boys. I coached with the Lethbridge Volleyball Club last season (January – May) as the assistant coach of the U14 (grade 8) boys, so this was something I’m used to. What’s more, I was lucky enough to have two players from my LVC team at Walshe, so they were lucky enough to have me for an entire year straight. Lucky boys!
I love coaching. I would recommend it to anyone – except for the massive time commitment. I already have five classes and a job where I worked between 2-3 shifts/week (usually graveyard) – now that volleyball is over I work 5 shifts/week – and to add on the extra responsibility of driving the 30 minutes to and from Fort MacLeod every day was a lot. We had practices or games, Monday – Thursday, and we had tournaments every single weekend except Thanksgiving. This means I was with these guys 6 days a week. That’s a huge time commitment for a University student not doing her PSIII at Walshe.
That being said, I adore coaching, I loved my team, and we had a wonderful, wonderful season. I was lucky enough to have some talented athletes try out, which means we started the season strong. We improved and ended strong as well, and have the records to prove it. We brought home 5 gold medals (one of which was a consolation gold from the weekend my starting setter broke his foot… so sad), 1 silver medal and 2 bronze medals. We also went undefeated in league play and won the league championship, meaning we have a beautiful banner to be hung in the gym with my signature to stay for the future generations. Some days I was so happy I felt like dancing, some days I was so mad I thought I would break down and scream (not at my team… usually), some days I was so disappointed I wanted to cry. But overall, it was amazing and I loved every minute of it. As stressful as being the head coach is, it also meant everything was my way, and I do mean everything. I chose the line-ups, the players, their positions, the drills for practice, conduct on the bus, the way they spoke to one another, the terms they used, the way they interacted with other teams, coaches, refs and parents… coaching, especially coaching boys this young, means you are not just a coach. You are a coach-parent-teacher-babysitter, all wrapped into one person. This means I pushed my athletes to play to their maximum potential, as well as stood just outside the bus and to make sure each and every one of my players thanked the bus driver. This means we had team talks about the appropriateness of certain (derogatory) terms they called each other in jest, as well as cleaned up all the empty water bottles and food wrappers from under both benches after every match. (The exchange went: “Pick that up, please.” “But Coach, it’s not mine.” “I didn’t ask you whose it was, I asked you to pick it up.” and was heard at every game and tournament for 9 long weeks.)
In short, I had the time of my life coaching these guys. They are so funny, and they kept me laughing all season, even when I thought I might lose my head. If you’re into sports or enjoy working with kids, I encourage you to get involved with some schools in Lethbridge – it looks great on a resume and you will have an absolute blast working with Lethbridge’s talented young athletes. Trust me, we can never have enough talented, enthusiastic coaches!