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BIG C vs little c

Little c. I’m a coach.

I’m a coach. I played this sport growing up, I think I was pretty good at it. I know how to win, even without the best players by planning out great plays. I have a team.  I bring drills, teach plays, teach them how to score and how to shut down the other team. I expect them to bring dedication and work ethic if they want to play.  I show up and do my job, and then I leave and go on with the rest of my day. I know the names of the kids on my team. I know what position I want them to play in. I give them a set of rules. I expect parents to stay out of the way. Coaching is something I do on the side because..( they asked me, my kids on the team, I needed volunteer hours, the other parent is not athletic enough, there was no one else.

BIG C. I’m a Coach.

I’m a Coach.  I maybe played this sport growing up, I may have been great at it, I may have been awful but I study the game so I can teach it.  I lead young people. A team has me.  I create a practice plan that helps them learn skills while also growing life skills such as getting along with others, love of activity, healthy competition, making the process fun and exciting, and relieving stress while handling tough issues. I show up and am fully present at practice, but often leave thinking about certain players and what they may need from me to have a better experience. I consider often how they perceive teams, sports and authority based on my leadership. I know the desires and struggles of the kids on my team. I give them an opportunity to help me build our expectations and our mission. I encourage parents to help create our mission and to be a part of it in a way that compliments our journey without conflicting our roles. Coaching is something I do because… (it gives me fulfillment, I understand the importance of this experience for kids, my kid is on the team and I want them to love sports, there was no one else)

I’m not an English major (clearly), so what’s the difference here with the little c vs the BIG C?  Proper name, right? A coach is a general term to describe someone who is in charge.  But if you’re the Coach, with a big old capital C, it’s a nickname that describes who you are as a person. A nickname that says you’re a person who’s actions scream “I COACH PEOPLE, this means something to me, and you can tell when you watch me live my life!”

I used to be a coach. I thought I was getting it done. It was a thankless job and often I felt resentment at the common struggles like parent conflict, entitled athletes, lack of focus, losses that should have been wins, lack of hustle. More x’s and O’s, conditioning, and drilling never cured them.   One day I realized that my very approach to coaching, as a small c coach, was feeding the behaviors and road blocks I wanted to go away.

Then I became a Coach. Maybe I even became a COACH!!!!!!!!!!!!  I’m not building wins, seasons, titles or records by focusing on drills and skills. I’m not consumed by that last game, because I’m more focused on building people, perseverance, love, connection, confidence through teaching skills in a way that connects with growing souls. Maybe both are seeking great seasons and performance, but those really aren’t even the same job description. Turns out that little c, BIG C is quite different.

So are you a coach? or a Coach?!

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