What my college coach meant to me.
A coach is someone who is there for you, no matter what. A coach is there not to be your best friend, but to hold you accountable when you cannot do it on your own.
My college coach used to tell our team that his job was to bring us down, and that our job as athletes was to bring each other up.
I never understood just how important that was until I became a coach and I started to lead others in my career.
See, I assumed he meant, “I’m the bad guy who makes you run drills and makes you practice, while yall can bond together in hate for me and overcome and grow as a team”.
But that’s not what he meant. He meant that it was his job to be tough on us, because he knew at the end of practice, at the end of the day, after a game…we were all friends on that team. Friends that let things slip, friends that see the best in you. However a coach…sees the real you.
So when our coach said it was his job to bring us down, what he meant was it was his job to truly see us for the players we were. His job was to hold us accountable, to guide us, and to lead us in a way that 21 friends couldn’t or wouldn’t do for each other because of our bond as friends and teammates.
Coach would be real for us… Not because we wanted that. But because we needed that.
And 4 years of playing under that coach led us all to respect him, listen to him, and love him for what he did for us.