Want to be a better athlete? Try coaching


captured by James Gelhard

Coach Matthew Gelhard steps in as a umpire for a scrimmage.

by Matthew Gelhard, Editor

Behind anyone that has ever played a sport, there was a coach to build their fundamental skills. These coaches become mentors and are big parts of a player’s life, both during and after the season. They are with the players as they overcome devastating loss or enjoy the thrill of victory. High school students have the opportunity to mentor others, too.

Being involved with coaching youth sports as a high school student has many responsibilities. Coaches must arrive early to practices and games and communicate with players and other adults.  Coaches have to be role models at all times. They need to think about every action and how it will affect the players. A lot of patience is needed, especially when working with young players. The extra in depth research of rules and policies will help the team but can help the high school student in their own play as well.

I had the opportunity to be the assistant coach of 11 year old MAYAA basketball in the winter and Little League baseball in the spring. Coaching the sports made me study the rules and techniques extensively so that I could give accurate on field instruction. Throughout each game, I got to see every player grow and learn different skills that I wish I had learned when I was growing up.

Having high school coaches can form great bonds and life-long connections with their players. High school coaches can boost a player’s performance because they have the ability to give advice from both a player’s and coach’s point of view. It is easier to see the field as both a coach and a player.

Freshman Carolina Heister started coaching LOUYAA poms in summer 2017, to a group of 5 to 8 year old girls. She taught them the basics, from stretching and exercises to techniques they can use in performances. She choreographed this group of girls to perform at the halftime of LOUYAA basketball and football games.

Heister said, “I have learned to be way more patient and understanding. I also have realized that everything I do, they notice, so I have to be careful of what I say and do.”

The children look up to the high school coaches as role models and, not only do they want to imitate them, but also the high school students are under a magnifying glass with every move they make. This makes the coaches become better people while shaping the players of the future to be the same.

Most of these coaching opportunities aren’t for pay, but provide life experiences that are priceless. There are many opportunities through your local youth sports leagues, ask a high school coach, or ask other coaches outside of school for more information on coaching opportunities.

Being a high school student and a youth sports coach can be hard work. However, people can receive community service hours for the time with a team.

Junior Alexis Duda coaches young children for MAYAA soccer. After being involved in the program when she was younger, she was offered the opportunity to coach and couldn’t be happier.

“Seeing them fall in love with the game just like I did when I was their age is breath-taking, and creating connections with them is something I’ll never forget,” said Duda.