Pitchin With Pritch: Life lessons from the coach’s wife

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This is for all the coach’s wives out there past and present. It isn’t an original. It is something that a friend of mine sent me sometime in my coaching career and I happened to come across it as I was cleaning a desk out. 

If I remember correctly, I did add some stuff and rearrange a little bit, but it has a lot of truth in it.

A coach’s wife

I am a coach’s wife. My husband was coaching when we got married and I married him not knowing what the coaching life would bring me. 

I love sports—that is the beauty. I can follow my husband’s job and cheer on his team. I’m invested. 

Some of the disadvantages, however, are seeing the struggles of coaches these days from all levels,. But on the high school level, it can be brutal. We have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in the past 25-plus years.

Don’t get me wrong—there are many rewards, too. 

The student-athletes are the best reward. More often than not, there is a bond with them. Not their best friend—they have enough friends—but a mutual respect. 

There is also the friendship with other coaches and their wives and families. That is really rewarding aspect for me. Coaches and their wives that we have met over the years are some of the best people we know. Friends for life.

I see the dedication and hard work from my husband and other coaches, as well. The time commitment is daunting and tedious. Up at 5 a.m., to work by 7:15 a.m. (oh yes, because he teaches all day too). Practice until 6 p.m., then game film, game break downs, planning and prep work. Then wake up and do it over again. 

Don’t forget game nights and traveling to opponents that may be one, two or three hours away from home. Weeknights he is home at midnight or later, then he turns around to go back the next day. 

Exhausting. Rewarding. Exhausting.

No one really comprehends the time. A coach’s wife does.

I rarely hear him complain because of his love of the student-athlete relationship and his love of the sport. 

As parents, we all want the best for our kids. To be the absolute best. 

It is tough when they don’t get the playing time, or the position we think they should have. I have been there watching my kids—sometimes even knowing they may not be the most talented on the court. But darn it, they are working hard and have a good attitude. Shouldn’t that count for something? Sometimes not. Welcome to life.

Although we may think we know what is best for our athlete, we don’t. The coaches do. They are the ones, day in and day out in practice who know what is best for the team. Yes—I said team. Not your kid or two kids put together, but a team as a whole. Welcome to reality.

Although we may think we know what is best for our athlete, we don’t. The coaches do. They are the ones, day in and day out in practice, who know what is best for the team. Yes—I said team. Not your kid or two kids put together, but a team as a whole. Welcome to reality.

I think we have seen a break down in that trust of a coach in the last few years. That is my opinion. Coaches weren’t hired to make one individual kid shine like a diamond and get all the accolades. Their job is to build a team and a strong foundation for success.

To be clear, I don’t feel every parent that complains wants a coach fired. There are some supportive and awesome parents out there. I am just saying, from my perspective and living through certain coaching storms with my husband, the coaching culture has changed drastically. And, I don’t think it is getting better. 

I hear time and time again: “These kids are going to be so awesome when they are in high school. They will be state champions.” Or this one: “That kid is huge. He will be awesome in high school, Division I for sure.” 

Whoa people, let’s pump the breaks just a bit. I have been guilty of all of the above, but I have had to take a reality check and say, “Oh my goodness, really people? This kid is in 6th grade.” We are setting huge expectations for them already. Setting them up for failure.

I think it is good to have goals and dreams for your child, but I feel we must align those goals with what our child wants. Clear communication between parent and child are key. I have found that parents may be upset with a coach and in reality the athlete is perfectly happy with their role.

I also think the biggest mistake parents make when they think their kid is a superstar, is pumping their student athlete up early to be the star. 

Let’s focus on being a good person, too—a person a teacher would want to teach, and one a Sunday School teacher would want in their classroom. And, let’s not forget grades.

Maybe that Division I scholarship is not in the cards for your child. Let’s be darn sure our kids are focusing on school, good study habits and good grades. And did I mention, being a good person? As parents, we want our kids to be focused on being a good teammate and to be supportive, too.

The one thing I am most proud of with my husband as a coach is his integrity. He is a really good guy. A good husband, father and educator. And a good coach. I know my husband has the respect of his students. I am proud of that, too. Being a good person and a good family man goes a long way in this world. 

Well, it should. Sometimes it doesn’t. 

When it doesn’t, when we get lost in the wins and losses and stats and not the kind of person that is coaching your kid, then we are in trouble. That, sometimes sadly, is life.

Parents, let the coaches coach. Be positive, be encouraging. This is your kid’s experience not yours.

It is darn hard to watch your kid not get the accolades or playing time. But let’s be sure to set them up for a solid foundation in life and not fight their battles. Let’s focus on teaching them to be a good teammate of life.

Let the players play; the coaches coach; and parents, cheer for the team. It will make everyone’s lives a little better!


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