Our first community of the week features Nick Ross, a full time police officer, father of four and coach of three. I wanted to highlight him because of his hard work and dedication as both a coach and a father. I e-mailed him some questions and had originally thought that I would use his responses to create a story. However, once again Nick truly went the extra mile and the story he sent me is both rich and heartwarming, I would not change a thing about it.
I am sure many of you can relate to the challenges of balancing your work life with your coaching and parenting life, Nick’s story contains some helpful suggestions and insights about how to do this. So grab a cup of hot chocolate, take a load off and prepare to read his moving story.
Flying by the seat of your pants
By Nick Ross
Balancing parenthood, with coaching, and having a full time job is a challenge, and at times, there seems to be no balance whatsoever. When you visualize ‘flying by the seat of your pants’ you’ll see me.
I have always believed that coaching was a way to contribute as a father, to my children, and as a soccer enthusiast, to the generations that follow me. I’ve always felt it was important to share my passion for the game, and that is my goal as a coach and as a parent. Throughout my childhood the people who volunteered as coaches and supported people in soccer, and in other sports as well, played an extremely positive role in my life. My coaching is truly an opportunity to “give back”.
Initially, when my eldest was just starting out in the sport nearly ten years ago, the coaching piece seemed like a logical thing to do; my wife or I would be at the practice anyways–we might as well make ourselves useful. She was usually pregnant or had a baby strapped onto her (we have four boys), so I took the lead. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with my boys, and having 3 brothers, each has had me to himself for an hour or two each week as a result of that coaching time. They don’t seem to notice the other 10 or 12 kids there, as long as their brother(s) isn’t/aren’t on the team! it has been a struggle at times to spread myself out amongst them, but overall, everyone has had a turn, if not in soccer, then in field hockey or another sport.
In many ways, the role of parent, coach, and police officer (my job) are very much integrated; Managing teams, children, tasks and people at work require similar responsibilities and skills. I need to be organized and communicate both regularly and effectively. The more streamlined I can be the better, so fficiency is key. My wife and I have to support each other to make it all work, whether that’s a transportation issue, a logistics issue (4 boys going in 4 different directions on a Saturday morning). There are moments where it seems impossible, but in the end, we make it work; we’re not afraid to ask for help from friends and neighbours travelling in the same direction or to the same location!
The moments that make it all worthwhile are when I see a team come together as a cohesive unit on and off the field. While winning is great, I avoid being focused on it as an elusive objective. I look for commitment from my players– to each other, to the game, to the ball, to the team–and respect, and when you witness those qualities rising up out of each of them, it’s the best! Each practice and each game bring new celebrations, most often of the baby steps and improvements we’re making.
I love the moments where I see a player have a breakthrough on something we’ve been working on, that moment where everything lines up and it works. It’s a moment where the idea of “coaching” comes to fruition, and it is extremely satisfying.
Teamwork is built on respect. It is the foundation of all three of the soccer teams I coach, the U-9’s, the U-13’s, and the U-15’s. It’s a piece that needs to be incorporated at every stage of the game. My players bring it to practices and games, and they take it home with them when they go. I emphasize that it takes the whole team to stop a goal and the whole team to score a goal. Our strengths are shared and our weaknesses are shared so we are there to help each other out.
Teampages has provided us with a framework to encourage our coming together as a team. With tools such as the photo albums, email communication, posting board etc. we can share information, be it personal or team related. We have been able to celebrate a teammate’s success in another sport, wish someone a happy birthday, share our thoughts about the day’s game, and offer words of encouragement as well as keep our players up to date on field closures, schedule changes, and upcoming opportunities such as clinics and try outs.
I can’t mention one player, as they all come with such amazing strengths and gifts; some of them have had to overcome great adversities while others have just worked very hard to improve on certain skills. Everyone has made notable and admirable contributions, and as I said, we share our strengths and we share our weaknesses! Each individual contributes to make the Gorge Purple Panthers, the Gorge United, and the Gorge Canadians unique and successful!