This year I'm trying something new: coaching cross country. I've never coached a sport before, and I am relatively new to running distances. But--when the head coach approached me last May about helping him this year, I was pumped. Since I started teaching two years ago I've wanted to coach a sport but have never had the chance. Though its an added responsibility and busies my schedule even more, I am so thankful for the opportunity.
It's definitely been a humbling experience, I am a natural go-getter and like to be in control. But I don't know much about coaching, running, or coaching running! So here is what I've learned so far:
1. Running takes just as much mental stamina as physical stamina. This is something that I've come to learn from running, but as I've watched kids train over the past several weeks, I am seeing more of how much a mental activity running is--it sounds cliche, but those who think they can't, who are defeated before they begin, will have a hard time finishing a longer run than those who approach it with even a shred of confidence.
2. A little encouragement goes a long way--a simple fist bump after a good workout could be what boosts a kids confidence enough to come back for the next practice.
3. People will work harder when who they're working for, trusts and respects them. The head coach of our team is fantastic--he has worked hard to create a great program here in Ogallala. One thing I noticed right away was that his kids are willing to work for him and typically don't cause problems. As the season has gone on, I've figured out that one of the reasons why the kids are so compliant with him is because he truly trusts and demonstrates respect towards them. He also holds them to high standards--which I think motivates them to work hard.
4. I've learned the importance of giving God your best (the head coach is also a strong Christian who has created a great ministry out of cross country and FCA). This isn't a revolutionary concept. But, as I've heard our coach say over and over again "God only cares that you give Him your best," I've started to examine my own life. There are so many areas where I don't give God my best...often He gets what's leftover at the end of a long day of teaching, coaching, and being a wife.
I know that I still have a lot to learn, but I'm looking forward to it all. We have our first meet tomorrow in Goodland, Kansas--so if you're a praying person, say a few for safe travels, health and strength of our team, and that the kids would run their best.