Pains and Rewards of Coaching Youth Softball

By Marc Dagenais

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Pains and Rewards of Coaching Youth Softball by Marc Dagenais

Alright, summer season is over. It’s time to ask ourselves – youth softball coaches – this question again: “Why do we coach?”

Somehow, I think we must be crazy or nuts. Think about all the things we have to deal with for a second: Meddlesome parents, Misbehaving kids, Organizational politics, Team conflicts, Little princesses (The “Y” Generation), Negative people, Lack of resources, High Expectations, Confusing rules, And I could go on and on.

What sacrifices are we making to coach? Family life, Friendships, Hundreds and hundreds of hours, Career or business (such a commitment will inevitably impact it!), Money – How much do you spend out of your own pocket every year? Probably a few hundreds if not a few thousands of dollars!

And What do we often get out of it? A lot of Critics (parents, players, etc.), Problems, Headaches, Conflicts, Fatigue, Etc. Are we paid to deal with all this? Most likely, like me, you do it for FREE! Actually, we don’t do it for free, we spend lots of money to do it!

How many people would jump on a job offer with this task description salary and benefits? I don't know too many.

Yet, what’s surprising is that there are thousands of us that do it every year dealing with all the B.S., sacrificing so much and getting a lot of negative stuff in return.

So, either we are plain crazy or just nuts.

In life, all of our decisions and choices are made based on one of those two reasons whether consciously or unconsciously:
1) Avoid pain (the most powerful of the 2)
2) Seek pleasure

Yes, it’s that simple. As described, coaching youth softball can be a real pain in the a** and yet thousands of people doing every year, for free.

Why do we do it then? We are certainly not trying to avoid pain. And pain is a very powerful motivator NOT to do stuff. And yet, we go through a lot of painful stuff to coach.

My answer to this: because we are after that ever elusive thrill and rewarding experience that coaching can bring. Yes, coaching “can be” thrilling, rewarding and extremely pleasant.

For us coaches, there is nothing like seeing a kid “get it”, succeed on the field and have fun. It makes us feel like we contribute to something great. The smiles on their faces and the few thanks we get along the way are worth gold!

That’s our pay! And it’s thrilling, pleasant and extremely rewarding! Just like a drug, it’s highly addictive! So, we are willing to put ourselves through a lot of pain just to have the chance to experience and live those few (too rare) moments of pure joy and thrill that coaching youth softball can bring.

It’s the same as an athlete who suffers through years and years of training just to have a chance to be in the Olympics, win that medal or championship. Coaching is challenging but can be highly rewarding at the same time. It's incredible the positive influence you can have on young ladies in only just a couple of months.

As a coach, you can definitely have a strong positive influence on the live of your young athletes.

It's definitely not easy every day but at the end, I think it’s worth it. I have learned over the years that as a coach, you give a lot early but you receive a lot more much later. Either months later or even years later. Athletes end up recognizing all you did for them but unfortunately, not right away!

However, they eventually do and that’s gold for any coach who coaches for the right reasons. In sum, the pleasure of coaching “can be” a lot greater than the pains of it. That’s what keeps us going. Think about it.

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Marc Dagenais Marc Dagenais was born in Mirabel, Quebec, a primary French-speaking province of Canada. Completed a Masters Degree in Coaching Sciences at the University of British Columbia. Completed a Diploma in High Performance Coaching with the National Coaching Institute. Founded www.softballperformance.com (August 2000). Marc currently works with the Canadian Women’s Softball Olympic Team, the Canadian Men’s National Team, several Canada Games Teams, numerous college, high school and travel ball programs as well as many elite male and female players all over the world helping them become dominant and perform at their best.

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