I don't get as many "aha! moments" when I sub, so coaching fills that passion. I get to struggle with the team as they work toward their best, and celebrate when they have reached their goal, and then motivate them to set and reach yet another goal. And for that, I get the title of coach! I love to be called that! Coach Rudd!
My first experience this year was fabulous! When I was hired as the cross country coach, I wasn't even sure there would be a team, as they ended with 3 last year, and it had to have 8 to run. I was given a list of all kids and phone numbers in the school, and I just went down it and cold called. I got laughed at. But 6 said yes by the start of school. Then they recruited, and then they recruited more, stealing two away from volleyball and one away from football. I had 11 varsity runners, which was enough to run a full boys team and a full girls team. I also had 6 junior high students, which will hopefully carry over to next year. This led to something the team hadn't seen in almost 4 years... taking a bus, a whole bus, to a meet. We took a whole bus to every meet!
I worried about how I would create an atmosphere of fun and ambition to get their best times. But the three returning runners and some spirited new comers set the tone for an extremely close-knit and supportive team, and bestowed upon the younger their techniques for running their best. I could not have asked for a better team to be my first cross country team.
Now I'm in Dance Team season, which is a whole other beast. All girls, a lot more drama, and more stress to compete well and place high at state competition. I'm trying to foster a healthy team atmosphere, but this team was beat up and badly bruised from their coach last year, who was apparently a negative perfectionist. Nothing they did was right, and she let them know it. I like to motivate in a different way. I get the impression that the 5 seniors and 2 other returning members have their loyalty split between her and me, and sometimes they attempt to manipulate. Not sure how to get around it, but I'll figure it out. By the end of this season, I'm positive they will be a better team and better dancers. After all, I'm the coach!
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