“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops” – Henry Adams

I came across this the other day and I think all coaches out there would be advised to consider it. In the above quotation, the word ‘teacher’ could easily be replaced by ‘coach’ (though in many ways we are teachers).

What we do as coaches is massively important, not just in training someone for their sport, but also in training them for life. We have an unbelievable opportunity, not afforded to many people, to make a real difference to those we train, especially the young athletes we coach. Our sessions will not just impact the athlete for that 30mins/1 hour/2 hours, however long the session may be, but our words and our actions will continue to have a lasting affect on them. We would be wise to remember that.

The lasting affect will come in many ways; the physical development of course. Also the development of habits related to their health and fitness. Perhaps the greatest affect will come in their mental and emotional development. What we say, how we say it, when we say it, can have a deep, long-lasting affect on someone. Let’s choose to build-up rather than knock-down, to encourage rather than criticise, to develop good habits in our athletes rather than poor ones, to develop respect, politeness, a good work ethic and so on.

The affect we can have as a coach is life-long. What a privilege!