TIMEOUT: Respect for the job of coaching

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I have often written or shared comments about coaches many times in this column. I’ve grown to respect the jobs that they do with their players day in and they out. They happen to hold on of the most respected positions in a school system.

Most coaches are very committed to the responsibilities they have in producing quality student-athletes. Some have made sacrifices, time-wise and financially, to help student-athletes when needed. Some have also become somewhat of a father or a mother figure for its players.

I took a look at the definition, or the answer to what a coach is. I found that in sports, a coach is an individual involved in the direction and instruction of the on-field operations of an athletic team or of individual athletes. Coaching entails the application of sport tactics and strategies during the game or contest itself, and usually entails substitution of players and other such actions as needed. Most coaches are former participants in the sports in which they are involved, and those who are not have usually had extensive training in the sport in question.

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The descriptive duties of a coach do not come close to what the job entails.

Another thing about coaches you may have noticed is the title &8220;Coach&8221; is also one of respect or affection, often replacing the first name much like &8220;Doctor&8221; to become &8220;Coach Smith,&8221; as an example.

Former players will still address their instructor as &8220;Coach,&8221; even if both the player and coach him or herself have long retired or graduated on.

Successful coaches often become as well or even better known than the athletes they coach.

As you may already know, many coaches in high schools are primarily teachers of academic subjects who supplement their income by coaching part time.

It still becomes a position that requires some dedication.

I believe that the athletes under his or her direction often refer the coach’s leadership, rightly or wrongly, as one of the main ingredient in successful efforts.

I haven’t been in Demopolis long enough to experience the many successful coaches that have coached in the area. A name or two will get thrown my way that I can’t recall at this writing. I’ve mentioned a few of the coaches that I have met in my three years of sports coverage in my column a couple of weeks ago.

The coaching profession, and I’m referring to amateur coaching, is an admirable field of work, as it contributes to the school and the community it serves.

In closing, we have become a nation of sports fans and sports players. Some of those who participate in amateur sports dream of becoming paid professional athletes, coaches, or sports officials, but very few beat the odds of making a full-time living from professional athletics.

Those athletes who do make it to professional levels find that careers are short and jobs are insecure. Even though the chances of employment as a professional athlete are slim, there are many opportunities for at least a part-time job as a coach in amateur athletics or in high school, college or university sports.

Support your local school. See you on the diamond, the courts, the course or the soccer field.

James Gilmore is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times. He can be reached by e-mail to james.gilmore@demopolistimes.com.