What it is like to coach as a high schooler


Photo by: westfordhoops.com

Westford youth basketball logo.

Penny Joyce, Staff Writer

Living in Westford, there are many opportunities to be involved in the community. One popular way students get involved is by coaching a Westford recreational sports team. Almost all the rec basketball teams ranging from fourth grade to eighth grade are coached by high school students from WA with an adult assistant coach. The high schoolers come up with the plays, coordinate practices, and do most of everything else for the team, whereas the adult coach is there to oversee everything and make sure things are running smoothly.

Coaching is a fun way to get community service hours. If you are able to, coaching a team with a friend or two can take the pressure off of just you, and make it more enjoyable. It is good to take on this responsibility with a friend or two because for recreational basketball, there is typically once practice a week and then a game on Saturday morning. This obligation may not seem very pressing but it’s important that the coaches are there for both the practice and the game since the kids and parents will notice. However, if you’re coaching with your friends it’s okay to miss a couple of games or practices since there is at least one of you there.

There is a great amount of responsibility that comes with coaching, as well, since the kids will look up to you and sometimes try to copy what you do or say. As high schoolers, we tend to forget the impact we have on young children, but these kids grow to love you during the season and see you as a role model. The team can also get a little rowdy as they get more and more comfortable with you, so having a couple of other high school coaches there to help keep the kids under control is beneficial.

It’s vital they are taught good sportsmanship since the kids are young and can be influenced easily. Make sure they shake hands at the end of the game with the other team because this teaches them sportsmanship in the simplest way. Therefore, it’s imperative for you to act maturely. If your player sees you heckling at the referees, they might then think it’s ok to do the same. So, even though there may be a bad call in a game, it’s important to calm down and show your players how to properly handle the situation.

I coach a fourth and fifth-grade girls’ rec team with a couple of my friends and we always try and make sure all the girls learn and improve over the season because overall it’s important for them to have a good experience. Some players could be very shy, whereas others have lots of energy and are difficult to keep under control. It’s hard to accommodate all the kids’ needs, so it’s important to show control over the team when they are being rambunctious, but allow them to have fun during practice. The most important thing I have learned coaching is it’s better to make sure the kids are having fun than winning sometimes. By having a good experience, the players will want to come back next year and play again since recreational teams are more about having fun and meeting new kids than being competitive.

Personally, being a coach has helped me be more patient and feel more of a part of the Westford community. A couple of girls on my team are the daughters of WA teachers so it’s fun to build a relationship with them in and out of school.

Being in high school and coaching other kids in the community is a great way to impact the future kids at WA and is a lot of fun if handled correctly. As long as your team is under control being a high school coach is a great learning opportunity