One of the most powerful elements of being a coach is that the young person is choosing to be with you, choosing to learn from you.
In many instances, especially with boys and young men, they identify themselves with the sport they play. They see themselves as a football player, as a baseball player.
This has good and bad in it.
We should identify with who we ARE not what we DO.
The bad side of this can be seen by the many professional athletes who no longer see a purpose to their lives once they retire because they have identified themselves TOO MUCH with what they did. They never truly found out who they were.
The good side of it - from the the point of view of a coach-mentor is that you have a tremendous platform to impact the young people you coach, because they identify with you very easily and very quickly.
Many coaches I have spoken with though, feel unworthy or incapable of being this mentor because they feel like they do not have their life in order.
In short, "I'm not perfect so I can't be good mentor."
Well the exact opposite is true. We might think that "only the perfect" are good mentors but how many of your athletes are lining up to talk with "the so called perfect"? Not many, if any.
As a coaching staff, as a coaching community, let's remind and encourage one another to take this seriously and make a greater effort to really breathe purpose, direction and strength into the lives of our young people.
Let's help them focus on who they are and who they can become, not just on what they do.
The better job WE do with this - the better husbands, wives, fathers, mothers ... families we will have in the future.
We will be STRONGER!