Best Day of Coaching...Ever?

I rolled into the house at 6:30am from a quick run, everyone is still sleeping.  By 6:45am we were in full mayhem trying to get everyone dressed, fed and out the door by 7:15 for an 8am soccer game.  At 6:50am someone is texting me.  Really?  It's Saturday and not even 7am.  It's Lee's coach, "do you or your husband want to coach the two games today?  I..."  that's all I read.  If you've ever heard me rant about FC Boulder you'll understand how this set me off, if you haven't don't ask it's long and unpleasant.  "Tom, check this out."  I read him the text and we both, in unison, say no.  Then we stop to think.  "We could do it together, " I suggest.  Lee is not at all happy about her parents coaching until I remind her its us or no soccer.  Soccer won.

By 7am the mayhem has just about hit panic level because the coaches can't be late and we almost forgot the soccer ball.

The girls are thoroughly confused.  Where's coach Ryan?  Why are you guys coaching?  What color jerseys are we supposed to wear?  Which bench are we on?  Lots of questions so early on a Saturday.  But we settle in and start Game 1.  The girls fought hard but are playing up a level and once again get beat, pretty bad.  But nothing new.  This U10 team has been playing U11s all winter and haven't won a game yet nor have they even come close.  But there was something different in their play this time.  Tough to put a finger on it at first but it would soon all play out. 

Onto Game 2. Fortunately they take all these losses well and are ready to press on and take on the next U11 team.  I put the A team out to start the game, cause why not, let's see what the other team has and adjust from there.  Score.  Wait, what? We just scored in the first 2 minutes. Then another right away.  It keeps going.  By the half we are up 5-0.  I am beyond excited.  Tom is beyond excited.  The girls are on fire.  Everyone wants to play.   They have been running for almost 75 minutes straight and no wants to come out.  And its hard to take them out because for one moment in one game they could no wrong.  Today they were winners.  And Tom and I were their coaches.

They won.  8-2.  They won.  That's all there was to say.  They won.   After so many games, so many losses, so many days of just being beat, they won.  Even the parents, instead of thanking us, they simply said, they won.  That's all we needed.  If only we could have captured the pure joy on the girl's faces.  Priceless.  And to be a small part of that, even more priceless.  It was one of my best coaching days ever.

Confidence in Strength

It's -10 degrees, the wind is blowing sideways, and there is little to no visibility depending on wind gusts.  I was hoping for the best conditions but got variable, at best.  I step off the tram and immediately get thrown back by the wind.  But I press on, click into my skis and head for Rendezvous Bowl.  It's only day 3 on my new skis and I haven't skied the Bowl in the last couple of years and I can't see a damn thing. The cards are stacked against me but I am in heaven.  One thousand vertical feet and the only thing that can stop me is frostbite.  Next up was Wally's World, a steep drop of about 10 turns above a cliff band where you are forced to turn or take the drop of your life, but the snow is always good and you'll always have fresh tracks so you take the risk.  I hesitated for just a moment and then dropped in.  I was feeling good and was ready for the next challenge.

This was my first real opportunity to test out my ski legs that I had spent the last 2 months working on.  After many years of skiing and training its hard to hope for greatness.  What could I do in the last 2 months that I hadn't done in the last 30 years?  I quickly realized however that it wasn't that my legs were stronger or I could go longer or I was instantly a superstar on my skiis, but it was a feeling of confidence.  Bring on the blowing, cold and variable conditions because I was ready.  I skied lines that I hadn't skied in several years with confidence because I knew I had that strength.  And that strength that was developed in the gym and turned to confidence on the ski slopes and was taking me exactly where I wanted to go.  It probably wasn't as pretty as it used to be but it didn't matter because that day I skied whatever I wanted with confidence.

Gym training can offer many things to an athlete.  The gym is a place to build strength and fitness and maybe even try a new sport.  It is a place to help former athletes get back to their previous level of conditioning or a place for new athletes to build and find their own peak level of fitness.  And for some its a place to build confidence.  The confidence that allows them to continue to do their sport at the level they find enjoyable and challenging.

So in considering whether the ski program was effective, I am going with a confident yes.


As he left the gym I congratulated him again on a great win.  His response, "teamwork," and sets off on his day.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 5:45am he rolls into the gym.  Its usually dark and cold and an unnatural time to train.  But that is his time.  His only time.  And winning is that important.  Most days he trains alone, though he is not alone in the gym.  His goals are different and require different programming that is adjusted almost daily.  Some days competition is the focus.  Some days weaknesses are addressed.  And some days we just need to back off and do some recovery work.  The programming though done by me is adjusted by the two of us, working together to get him where he needs to go.

The team wasn't built in a day.  Aaron has been training with me a few years now.  And while its only 1 hour a day its 3 days per week, 4 weeks per month, and 12 months per year.  The team spends a lot of time together.  And its is that consistency of training, coaching, learning and understanding of what comes next that helps the athlete progress and win.

While I take no credit for his accomplishments, I do in a small way feel responsible for them.  When he wins, the coach wins.  When he loses, then I, as his coach, need to reevaluate and decide the next move.  For him to acknowledge all that not by saying "thank you" but by saying the team worked together and got the win is why I am at the gym 5:45 M/W/F.