Coaches make up a pretty big part of our child's developing years. Not only do they teach them about rugby, but life lessons like leadership, teamwork, accountability, and punctuality. These lessons stay with them for life, even after their time in the sport is over.
We are quick to say he is a bad coach when he does not recognise my child's talent and only pick him for the "B" side. When my boy's team is losing he is to blame. School boy rugby coaches even carry the blame for the failure of our Super Rugby teams if we are to believe the professionals.
We as parents, together with our children only recognises the role a coach played in the life of a child long after they left school, too late to say thank you. At senior level coaches may be recognized for their contribution but in other forms of the game they often go unnoticed on the sidelines. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to say thank you to your coach for the endless hours of encouragement, guidance, inspiration and motivation.
This is a letter a boy wrote to his coach years after leaving school.
"Thank you for pushing me to be the best person I could be. Not only did you want me to succeed on the field, but in life as well. There were countless times when I just wasn't giving it everything I had. You recognized that and pushed me to give it my all. If it was a sprint or a shooting drill you always encouraged me to put everything I had into it. This is a lesson I will carry with me forever. It's helped me in the classroom and in everyday life. I now know not to settle and not to slack off, no matter what the task is.
Thank you for believing in me even when I didn't. There were so many days that I wanted to quit and give up, but you didn't let me. I'm not sure what would have happened if you let me walk away from the sport when I felt like I couldn't do it anymore. Your encouragement and support meant so much to me then and even more to me now.
Thank you for teaching me more about than just the sport. You taught me how to be a leader, how to be organized, and to be on time. Not only did these lessons help me in the season, but have effected my life. These qualities are all things that I pride myself on and I trace my learning back to the sport.
Thank you for all of the sacrifices you made for the team. It always amazed me how you could handle working and coaching at the same time. There was no way it could have been easy, but you always knew how to take care of everything and never seemed stressed out. You gave up time with your family so the team could practice.
Thank you for being a role model for me. Not only during the season, but everyday. Even now I still think about advice you have given me in the past, and what you would say to me now.