forgotten your purpose?

written by Erica Quam

I'm going to start off by asking you a BIG question: Why do you coach? This is a different question than what got you into coaching? or who influenced you? This one cuts straight to the core. You may struggle to find the right words to answer this question from your head. This is the kind of question you answer from your heart. 


As a young coach - I would close my eyes and think about the year ahead. The idealistic me didn't focus on best times or wins and losses. I pictured the faces of the girls on the team. I imagined them at the end of the year - with a proud smile of accomplishment on their face. I envisioned high five's and fist pumps! I even thought about them standing in their caps and gowns at graduation. These are the things I remembered when I thought back to my collegiate athletic experience. 

What do they need to learn about themselves before they leave? How can I make a small difference in their lives?

I knew my job was to help them get faster in the pool. I believed my role was to help them be better people - by helping them navigate the season and learn life lessons - through sports. That's stuff kept me up at night. That's what I got really excited about! 


I learned quickly - especially as a head coach - how challenging it was to keep that vision as the priority. The actual day to day of a coach's job comes with high expectations, a long list of responsibilities, and lots of unknown variables - that pop up out of the blue. There's always pressure to improve. Be great on the field. Get the best recruits and make them better. Compete. Set records. Win!

The real reason coaches get into coaching may get the midst of the daily stress of the job. Issues come up you never dreamed you'd have to deal with! Coaches may veer away from who they are and what they keep their jobs and please everybody else. 

You may need to reconnect with your original purpose if:

  1. Your sense of humor has evolved into cynicism - with a lot more edge and bite.
  2. Your fuse is short. You're less patient and more critical. 
  3. You get easily frustrated and blame others when challenges come up.
  4. You feel the pangs of jealousy when other coaches are successful.
  5. You dread the start of the season wondering how long you can keep this up.


The way to reconnect with your purpose - I believe  - is to look within. You won't find your answers on the outside.

You can try... You can look around for that quick fix...colluding with other coaches, binging on social media, alcohol, or television that numbs for a bit. That may help temporarily; however, you'll end up right back where you started.


I believe the only way to stay connected with your purpose as a coach is to work on yourself. The more you work on yourself - the better you'll be for yourself and others.