One of the most underrated professions in the country is coaching high school football, because of the tremendous value it brings to the lives of many young people.
Coaches are guaranteed eight regular season games a year, and if they are fortunate to earn a playoff spot, perhaps some additional games. However, I believe coaches earn their stripes in the offseason, away from the field and the Friday night lights, because that is when the transformation and development of student-athletes begin to take shape.
Here are a few ways that coaches make a big impact off the field:
They provide authentic mentorship
It takes a village to raise a child and in every village, you will find a coach leading the charge in this endeavor. Many coaches have introduced student-athletes from underrepresented areas to sports, and in doing so, have changed the course of their lives. Coaches are known for holding student-athletes accountable, checking on their grades and most importantly, proving a structured environment for students to thrive. The skills they teach are transferable and provide athletes valuable traits to lean on as they matriculate through life.
They are strong advocates for their players
Many coaches spend a tremendous amount of time lobbying for student-athletes to earn scholarships. They do this by a variety of ways: sending film to college coaches, exploring camp options and leveraging their personal networks to do whatever they can do assist one of their athletes. They also have their players' backs in the classroom and outside of school.
They serve the greater good of the community
Being a coach comes with a lot of responsibility since high school football programs are inextricably linked with their local communities. One of those innate responsibilities is the ability to influence community decisions and help make the community better. Many coaches encourage their student-athletes to visit local homeless shelters and collect canned goods throughout the year to donate to various food banks. They also help support other teams and programs in their school, and they often find ways to help their players serve as positive examples for elementary and middle school students. Coaches are in the trenches daily to ensure our next century will be bright and full of productive citizens who want to make a difference.
The coaching profession is invaluable and will continue to be a pillar for communities all across the country, largely for the work that takes place away from the sidelines.
Work hard. Be great.
Ashton Henderson was a four year letterman at defensive back for Michigan State University as well as a honor student and co-author with former teammate Travis Key of “Beyond The Gridiron: How to successfully transition into collegiate football,” a detailed account of what it takes to be a Division I college football player and successful in life. To learn more about their mission and purchase your copy today, visit: www.beyondthegridironllc.com