The great thing about coaches like yourself is that you are a giver. You give your time, energy and commitment to an athlete or group of athletes, more often than not without getting paid a cent. You typify what it is to put your ‘hand up.’ You don’t have your ‘hand out’ as you don’t want for much. You coach, knowing that you are helping young people, which generally leaves you feeling fulfilled (and sometimes frustrated for sure).
Greek philosopher Aristotle noted that ‘contribution to others’ leads to longer term happiness, as compared to instant gratification (right here and now - that coffee, kfc, social media ‘like’) and ego gratification (comparing yourself to others). The young people we coach these days, spend increasing amounts of time seeking instant gratification through mediums such as Instagram, Tik tok, Snapchat, and comparing themselves to others with the hope they will feel happy, although more often than not, this is short-lived. So what can we do as coaches to guide and nurture our next generation to understand the impact that putting the ‘hand up’ can have on their general wellbeing.
In a recent interview with Wayne Smith (by Mark Reason) he talked about the 2012 Chiefs and how they were broke and kicked out of their training venue. They found an old meat warehouse, and every Wednesday as a squad, they took a break from training to muck in and create their own base, where they did a complete renovation, pulling down walls, building and painting new ones, and then filling it with old furniture. Amongst that they got out into local schools every Friday to connect with the community. They spent huge chunks of 2012 with their ‘hand up’ and giving. The result - Super Rugby champions (of course there was some pretty decent ‘on grass’ coaching happening too).
So what can we do with our young people to teach the importance of putting the ‘hand up?’ Connect them with junior teams to mentor, coach, & support, do community service (there is always rubbish to pick up), contribute to fundraising initiatives, sweep the sheds, do dishes…? There are endless possibilities.
No doubt there are school and clubs teams out there that do some amazing work in this space. We would love to hear your ideas on guiding young people to put their ‘hand up, not out.’