A year ago or so the following image circulated around the athletics community on twitter:
“Imagine this. You are standing outside in the winter cold for three to four days of your week. It is your free time youre giving up, you don’t get these hours back. The bitter cold is making it difficult to hold and press down on a stopwatch. You watch people circle laps for 2 hours. You hear complains all the time. You struggle to talk over the voices of young gossiping teenagers. They ask you the same, repetitive questions, day after day. You should over and over again. You go home late in the evening, tired, hungry. And after all this, you get no payments in return. The medals which the athletes earn go to them, not you. Their bonus money is earned by them, not you. But you keep going, because despite how horrible it sounds, you’re strangely in love with it all. The happiness of the athletes is enough to keep you going. To be this kind of person requires superhuman will. It requires someone who is one of a kind”
It spurred on for many a renewed appreciation for our coaches, whom we often possibly take for granted as we see them on a day-to-day basis. It allowed us (or certainly me) to reflect on how much our coaches mean to us and how much they sacrifice and endure in order to help us achieve my dreams. Recently, having moved to university and added to my already great support network it made me refelct on this post. I felt even more greatful for the people I have around me, supporting me. So, I decided I’d try and encapsulate a coaches ‘super powers’ again, with the aid of this succinct depiction which was tweeted. As afterall a coach really cannot get too much appreication.
In any sport a coach is an integral part in order to achieve success. Whether that be your school teac
her or a technical coach on the national board. The relationship you have with them will ultimately help to decide your success, as if you understand one another you are far more likely to achieve more.
They spend hours on end with you in the miserable cold, wet and early mornings. A coach becomes an extension of yourself, the better version, which encourages you to keep on going, to drive through the pain.. although in the moment you may feel as though they are the cruelest person on earth. Yet, they have unwavering faith in you despite your continuous complaining – “How many reps?”, “It’s so cold”, “That’s SO far”, “You’re joking?” any of these sound familiar?
A coach not only encourages you to be the best version of yourself in training, by pushing that bit harder or going that bit faster, but this also translates into everyday life. They develop discipline in you which no-one else would be able to achieve, through their own hard work and dedication day in, day out.
Despite giving up hours of their time they more often than not expect nothing at all in return. I know this isn’t true in all sports, but in athletics it certainly is. Coaches will bellow throughout the cold winter months, holding their stopwatch listening to our incessant complaints, for what? One can only assume the achievements we ultimately gain from our hard work together.
This by no means does coaches any justice for what they do, especially not for mine, however I really believe more awareness should be brought to these people who sacrifice their time, warmth and perhaps often psychological stability in order to help others attempt to achieve their dreams.