by Kimball Kjar
Being a coach here in America requires a multiplicity of hats being worn. Including being a coach, one often also has to be a team manager, match-day secretary, team therapist, jersey washer, equipment manager, public relations manager, parent relations manager, among others—the list could go on and on.
Despite all of the roles that are often required of coaches here in America there remains one role respected above all others: Mentor.
Within the American sports complex there are not very many other roles held in higher regard than that of a coach.
A coach, especially at the high school and youth levels, is one who inspires and leads with respect and certainty. Thus, the moniker “coach” is earned and not readily given to just anyone.
One of the coaches I looked up to the most was my high school football coach Larry Wall.
In modern terms, you would call Coach Wall “old school”—and that is a term I think is a complement, rather than one of disrespect.
After a successful Division I football career at the University of Utah Coach Wall found his way to Bountiful High School in 1985.
Since then he has garnered a 202-94 record as the head coach and won 4 states championships (1990, ’91, ’02, ’03) to become one of the top coaches in state of Utah. In fact, Bountiful High has named the football stadium after him.
With all of the success on the field, Coach Wall knew from the beginning that his program was never about just the wins and losses. He knew he was building men and his role of coach was about instilling the characteristics that it took to be a good husband, father, doctor, lawyer or what ever.
“When you've been in it this long,” Coach Wall told the Deseret News in an interview in 2009, “Some of my favorite memories are seeing kids after and what they shape up to be, what they accomplish, what kind of people they turn into. That's really satisfying for me as a coach…We've had a number of state championships and that's great, too, but I think when a kid comes back and hands you to an invite to his wedding or to a missionary farewell or graduation that's pretty cool. The kids have done a good job.”
It was the leadership and inspiration of Coach Wall that taught me that hard work pays off, determination is rewarded and that sports are about intelligent execution more than it is brute force.
Not ironically, just as Coach Wall inspired me and my desire to coach, it was coaches who similarly inspired him in his life and career as a football player (See more here).
Among all of the roles that coach carries in the game of rugby it’s worth remembering that the greatest role coaches all share is that of mentor. The many roles that tear you in different directions often distract you from the core role of a leader of young men or young women.
What ever your inspiration or what ever your coaching style might be the greatest good of any coach is that of being a mentor and role model.
Good luck leading and good luck mentoring.
Kimball Kjar established the Propel Rugby Academy in 2010 with the goal of helping players and coaches develop the skills necessary to play and coach at the highest levels possible. Kjar’s Propel Posts focus on a range of topics that cover player and coach development and other related areas.
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