Monday, September 17, 2007

Hey Coach...

Did I mention I coach a 13-15yr soccer team?

This morning, one of my players was in the clinic for a checkup.  As we passed each other in the hallway, she greeted me with a quick "Hey Coach".

The group I was walking with looked at me strangely, as if to say, "When do you have time to coach?"  Which lead to a volley of questions.

What do you coach? Soccer.

How long have you been coaching? Eight Years.

Are you any good? Well...

Actual, I'm not a very good soccer coach. Sure, I've been coaching soccer long enough to be able to teach the basics, run drills, get players to play their position and develop basic field sense, but not much more. I like to think I'm a minimal-essential-requirements type soccer coach.

Also, I'm not like a lot of the other soccer coaches.

While the "much more" aspects of soccer don't interest me, not even a little, other coaches are consumed by the “much more” aspects...and winning.

Don’t get me wrong. I like it when my team wins but it's not the reason I coach. I coach because I like the challenge of getting my players to see that what they are doing is bigger than the actual task at hand, bigger than playing soccer.

Coaching reminds me of the tale of the three brick masons building Notre Dame de Paris.

A new foreman was touring the grounds and came across three brick masons building a wall. The foreman asked the first brick mason what he was doing. The first brick mason replied, "What does it look like I'm doing? I'm laying bricks." Then the foreman walked over to the second brick mason and asked him what he was doing. The second brick mason replied, "Can't you see? I am building a wall." Finally, the foreman walked over to the third brick mason and asked him what he was doing. The third brick mason replied, "I am building the perfect cathedral as a testament to my faith."

Every day, my goal is to be that someone who helps people to recognize that they can be the third brick mason; that what they do is bigger than the task at hand. That's why I coach.

Are you a coach?  Post a comment and let's talk about it.

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Take care and enjoy...



Lawrence Cheok said...


Great analogy on laying bricks; about maintaining perspective of something bigger than the task at hand.

I've also started a blog on self development recently; like you, I aspire to help others develop a perspective of something better than their current challenges.

I dare not call myself a coach (yet); but I'm on the road towards it.

Nonetheless, what drives me on this endeavors is that warm feeling inside when someone dejected, trapped and down can walk away from our conversation, feeling a sense of direction and hope. That makes my day.

The challenge I see is, how do we develop the skills necessary to help other see this perspective. What's your thoughts on this?

John W. McKenna said...


That is an excellent question and it warrants a full post to answer. Let me chew on it a bit and I'll get back to you.

Take care...


Mark said...

Great story, it does an excellent job of illustrating how people see what they are doing and how that perspective relates to the quality of their life and the task they are performing. Thanks for sharing.I have been a coach in the past and I did so with a similar attitude as you. You will be forever remembered by your team members.

Taylor McKenna said...

You forgot to mention that I am the reason you coach, and that if it weren't for me you would have no clue what soccer is even about :) I love you dad. Good blog.