Who would be a coach?

sports coach - gimberttWhat kind of tolerance for pain would you have to have to be the coach of a sporting team or an individual athlete?

It is a unique form of self-abuse that defies all logic.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m utterly grateful to the people who devote their lives to the challenge of getting the teams I love to achieve peaks of performance that enable me to feel undeserved pride every time they win.

Many of these coaches are marvellous mentors who foster maturity and discipline in their charges so that they become high-achieving role models the rest of us can admire. It is a wonderful thing they do.

But how do they cope with the lack of control they have over the outcome of each contest? All they can do is influence; they can’t actually guarantee an outcome.

They devote a large part of their lives to help their players achieve physical and mental excellence sufficient to become a champion. But success is always dependent on a range of factors that can negate the coach’s input.

We see the pain etched on the faces of football coaches, particularly, who sit in their boxes willing their players to follow the plan that should secure victory but which is cruelly upset so often as fate, human error or superior opposition deliver defeat.

The prominent coaches who are household identities are frequently rewarded handsomely for their commitment. Yet I still don’t know how they retain their sanity week after week.

But it is the unsung heroes who strive mightily to help youngsters after school or on weekends a million miles from the limelight of television coverage who deserve our special thanks.

They are the ones moulding potential future leaders of our nation and they do it more often than not with little thanks and no reward other than self-satisfaction and a belief that they are making a difference. Every one of them is a true champion.