If you work in sports, surely you’ve heard people say they have “caught the coaching bug.” What is the coaching bug you might ask? Great question! It’s people helping people. It’s being a mentor. It’s being a respected leader, appreciating the influence you have over other people, especially young people, and not taking advantage of it either.
That’s the bug, but it’s really not a bug at all – it’s something we all possess and can have in our lives, if we choose to do so. Let me repeat that last point – you have to choose to let others into your life. You have to choose to be a leader, to be a person of integrity who willing gives of himself with the intention of making other people better. Those are the people we think of and remember as being the most influential in our life.
Think about your favorite teachers and coaches from childhood. Who were they? What were their names? Now think about what you admired about those people. What was it about those people that caused you to be drawn to them? Why did you like them so much? I’d be willing to bet that these people caught the “coaching bug” at some point in their lives too. They live their lives with the intention of making other people better. The ones that you don’t remember are probably the ones who weren’t conscious of their influence over your life as a person or maybe perhaps you were not in a condition to allow them to help YOU. I also hope that the ones you remember are for good reasons rather than bad; it is very unfortunate that there are some people who take advantage of this trust given to them and destroy the eager spirits of other people.
Not all of the people we knew to be influential as youngsters were perfect and neither are we, so keep that in mind as you envision yourself as someone with a coaching bug. As I mentioned above, this is something we can all possess, regardless of your role or position in sports. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to possess a genuine interest in helping people become better, more informed, or more skillful in certain tasks. All of us can be a coach to others, so take this as a challenge to develop the people around you, to be a team player and to know your role. With that said, you have to also take responsibility for your actions and show up everyday, really to take care of business. It isn’t easy, but that is why coaches have coaches too. None of us lives in a world of isolation and we all need inspiration and motivation to become better versions of ourselves, to be more of that which you already are. Be that for others and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. This is what’s great about sports – teamwork and discipline, the pursuit of excellence.