By Michael G. Rayel, MD
Volunteering is simply giving back. When you volunteer, you give a big part of yourself — your time, your energy, your talent, your money, your individuality . . . and your vision.
You can’t give something you don’t have. You can give only what you own. So giving back is more profound than what it means. It conveys sharing your strengths and your valuable experiences. It denotes giving of yourself for the sheer joy of giving, without expecting any reward.
Although the majority (perhaps 99%) recognizes your time and effort, some just can’t understand what it entails. Unfortunately once you volunteer, there will always be a few individuals who can’t value your contributions. Some are too eager to impose their own values, too quick to conclude, and too easy to complain and criticize without getting your input.
In general, volunteering has been a great journey for me. For the past few years, I have coached basketball at our local school and it’s been so much fun. I’ve seen many children develop the necessary skills and attitude to perform their bests in whatever game situation. Also, it’s gratifying to see them change into dedicated and committed individuals. Such fulfilling experience has transformed my life in a huge way.
But it hasn’t always been easy. Along the way, I’ve faced various emotions. I’ve felt ecstatic, frustrated, angry, disappointed, pressured, tired, stressed, pleased, happy, and excited — within an hour. Regardless, fulfillment has always been the result.
How do you deal with the challenges of sports volunteering?
Communicate openly with the organization
Communicate with the organization what your priorities are. If you’re volunteering as a coach, do you want your team to be competitive or do you want your group to simply have fun? The former will need more practices, discipline, and commitment so you should decide soon.
What are your goals for the team? Is it to gain the respect of your opponents? Is it to garner awards? Or do you simply want your players to learn advanced skills?
In anything you do, always set
the direction you want your team to go. As a coach, your role is to lead, to
motivate, and to provide the vision.
Announce your rules at the start. Players should understand the virtue of perfect attendance. How are you going to encourage promptness? What are the consequences of tardiness and absences?
Set your rules on drills, return of equipments, tryouts, and appropriate behavior. Players should know that these rules are designed to show predictability, discipline, and order.
Having said this, rules should accommodate flexibility if the situation warrants it. For instance, if one player is not feeling well then such individual should be excused from rigorous drills and games.
Announce your expectations
As a coach, you have a crucial role in molding kids’ behavior and mind-set. Having fun is just a minor part of your endeavor and should not be the sole purpose of your efforts. There are more important things you need to highlight.
Expect your players to focus on learning basic skills. At all times, stress the need to show proper behavior. Don’t reinforce any show of violence, dishonesty, or inappropriate gestures.
Expect them to listen actively when you talk. It’s inconvenient to be repeating your lectures or instructions. Most of all, expect that they show some discipline.
Read books and manuals about your sport. Learn more so you can impart more knowledge to young minds. Attend coaching conferences and lectures if available in the area.
Since I’ve been a basketball coach, I’ve read more than six books on basketball drills and coaching because I want my team to benefit from our encounters. I want to make sure that my players learn every time we meet.
Time optimization has indeed been a blessing for us. In less than a year, my players have learned advanced set plays and shooting techniques.
While doing all these, it’s important to also have fun. Establish rapport with your players. Joke around. Let laughter flow during your time with them. Be flexible. Surprise them with pizzas or doughnuts. Children learn better when you incorporate fun, humanity, and celebration during practices.
Congratulations to Clarenville Middle School (CMS) Tigers for playing your best during the recently concluded provincial tournament. I’m so proud of you guys!
Dr. Michael G. Rayel — author, game inventor, and psychiatrist — has created the Oikos Game Series to promote emotional health and A 31-Day Series to help kids and teens. Since 2005, he has published Oikos’ Insights! www.oikosinsights.com as an online resource for personal development. Visit www.oikosglobal.com for more info. Also, he has offered psychiatry board review for ABPN II. Visit www.psychedu.com for details.