Pitchin with Pritch: Do I miss coaching? Yes!

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Every now and then someone will ask if I miss coaching. It is a pretty easy answer and it is always yes! 

I spent 38 years in education and 33 years coaching in some capacity. 

After answering “Yes,” I try to qualify the answer just a little. I miss a lot of what went on during those years.

But the longer you are away from it, the more a person sometimes forgets the times when you questioned why you ever got into the profession in the first place. 

There were times when the phone would ring and when you looked at the caller ID and the clock, you just had the feeling that alcohol was calling—usually it was and usually it was a very short phone call. 

I also got somewhat adept at looking at an envelope and just knowing that it was an unsigned letter questioning decisions that were made during games etc. 

Most of the time you could figure out where the letters came from just because of the content of the letter. Thank goodness that those situations were limited. 

My family had a lot of coaches in it. In addition to me, my sister was a coach in Kentucky at the college level for a number of years. 

One of my brothers was a basketball coach in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and my youngest brother was a football coach in Texas for 25 years.

My son Troy coached basketball for a number of years here in Nebraska, and my youngest son Travis helped as an assistant to his brother in Malcom for a number of years.

That actually helped a lot in all our careers because we could call and visit with each other and hear some other ideas on what we could do to make our teams better.

I think there are a number of things that I got out of coaching and made it fun for me and hopefully for our players. 

One of the biggest things was watching a player develop over the years and go from being a questionable, good players to becoming an outstanding player.  

Right along with that, another thing that I got to do is improve my own coaching skills by going to clinics, reading, calling other coaches and visiting with them about different aspects of coaching. 

That’s one thing I really miss—not going to clinics, and getting in touch with coaches across the state or college coaches across the USA.

I was glad that I didn’t fear calling college coaches because there were very few times I ever was turned down or treated rudely when called. Those calls usually resulted in getting some really good information and advice.

I think coaching also gives you a better chance to improve your communication skills. That helps you with your team and with parents, the press and everyone else that you have contact with during your career.

If there is one thing that coaches have to deal with—and it’s sometimes a real problem that might make a coach hang up his whistle— and that would be parents. 

Coaches have to remember that you are working with people’s children and parents usually want the best for their kids that is possible. 

In sports, that always appeared to be playing time. More conflict arises from playing time than any other topic. 

I just read an article where a high school coach at the start of a game put all 10 of his varsity players on the floor for the opening jump.

 The officials told him to remove five players, but he said “NO.” So, the officials gave the team a technical. With that, the coach turned around to his crowd and shouted, “I told you I couldn’t start all of them.” 

Not sure that really happened but it made me smile.

All in all, I do miss coaching but I also know how much time and work it takes for coaches to get everything done and know that the coaching profession is a younger man’s job. 


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