TERRANCE GAVAN – WEB GUY AND FORMER COACH
It’s go time. The Haliburton Soccer Club needs coaches, and as a member of the executive who has done his share of coaching on his own dime, I feel the need to commiserate about what coaching has meant to me.
I’ve coached soccer, but my go to sport is basketball and I began coaching that sport back in Ottawa, when I was just out of high school and wondering what to do with my life. So, I went back to high school and sat in with Pat Jennings, who was then just learning the ropes as head coach of the St Pius X junior varsity team.
He asked me to help and I did. Stepped in and stepped up at a time when I was also working at a Beer Store and reffing basketball. The coaching gig I did not need. But Patty was a new coach and he felt he needed someone just to be there. He was also a hothead and since I, by dint of my special relationship with the Ottawa Officiating staff (I could not yell, scream, or move from my seat, no matter how much I wanted to because we have a code of ethics… as members of the fraternity) was a gentleman, we were able to develop a bit of a yin and yang as benchmates.
We went on to win the Carleton and Ottawa board championships that year. By mid-season, Patty Jennings was ripping it up. I was stressing fundamentals, but we had a team that contained four starters that went on to careers in the Canadian college ranks. Several are coaching today.
I was busy, maintaining a full arts program at St Pats College and Carleton University, working at the Beer Store, and reffing, but some friends and I took over a kids basketball league in Nepean. We ran that for two years. We played a schedule, but one hour of our two hours on court was spent on teaching fundamentals.
I remember the smiles.
Here’s the thing. We had coaches who knew nothing about coaching. Parents who got involved. Who patted kids on the back. Who chased down balls for kids working on free throws. We had young assistant coaches who were still in high school. They loved it.
Here’s what I said to the young coaches, because it was said to me. “This will give you perspective, maturity and it will also serve you well as you move forward in life…”
There’s nothing too complicated about coaching in the Haliburton Soccer Club.
Showing up and making sure kids are smiling is at the centre of the philosophy. You don’t have to know what offside is. It’s complicated. You don’t have to be able to dribble a soccer ball. Trust me. You don’t even need to be able to run fast.
You just need to be there. No technical questions will be asked. Kids will mostly ask: “Is it almost over?” “Can we go for ice cream after?”
If it’s not your kid asking about the ice cream? Do not say yes. That’s as tough as it gets. The younger kids just want to go out and freestyle. Which means? Kicking the ball and running after it.
If you can smile. Offer two words, “Nice play!”
The rewards are not esoteric. They are visceral.
Join us. Join the coaching fraternity. Join this community.
You will be better for it. I can promise that.
Because I always did.