When my family first moved to Cambridge (Hespeler) in 1988, my parents signed my brother and me up to play softball with the Hespeler Minor Softball Association. This was my first experience with team sports. While I wasn’t always the best player on the team and we didn’t win the championship every year, the experience is what got me hooked on a sport I would play well in to my 20s.
Now that I am living in Hespeler again and have a young family of my own, the opportunity came for my kids to have the same experience as I had. So far they have taken to it with the same enthusiasm as their Dad.
Their participation also presented an opportunity for me as well; my kids’ teams needed coaches. At first I was a little apprehensive. What did I know about coaching young kids? Would I be able to reach them at all? Despite these concerns, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and was glad I did.
The Birth of a Baseball Coach
Now that I have coached for a couple of seasons, here are a few of my thoughts about getting involved in youth sports and why you should consider it as well:
- Helping kids learn a new skill is incredibly rewarding. Having the opportunity to teach kids all I learned from playing the sport for 15 years was exciting. I did come to realize that I had to temper my expectations. The kids I was teaching were very young, and some of them were playing softball for the first time. I had to realize they were starting from scratch and needed to begin with the very basic elements of the game.
- Seeing these budding athletes learn a new skill provided the same excitement I imagine a school teacher must have when a student masters their first math problem. Watching the kids try to throw or catch a ball, hit off a tee or run the bases, and looking at their faces light up the first time they are successful was something I will never forget. That experience made all the work and effort worthwhile because I know they will remember it for a long time. They will also remember the coach that helped them get there.
- That isn’t to say that every coach/volunteer has to be an expert. Coaching children aged 3-4 or 5-6 requires a great deal of supervision and coordination. The children will look up to you regardless of whether you are teaching them how to swing the bat or if you are teaching them when to take the field or how to sit in the batting order. Contributions like these make the games and practices go smoothly and ensure the kids enjoy their overall experience.
- Coaching not only provided me the chance to teach the next generation, but also reignited my passion for softball. Just being out on the field, tossing the ball to the players or throwing batting practice reminded me why I love the game so much. It inspired me to look up an adult league, not just to stay active, but to scratch that itch that coaching planted. If you are on the diamond this summer in Cambridge, I might see you there.
Just to wrap things up, if your kids play organized sports, try to get involved. Even if you don’t have kids, you can contribute as well. I understand in this modern day when there just isn’t enough time for anything that you may not think you can handle the work and preparation. Don’t let that hold you back. In the end it is definitely worthwhile, and it will create memories you (and your kids) will remember for a lifetime.
For more information on the Hespeler Minor Softball Association, visit their website: http://www.hmsoftball.com/