“Thank You,” may be the most powerful words on the planet. How often,  how easily, does this phrase roll off your lips?

National Coach Appreciation Day is noted each fall in November. But we are currently in full swing of high school basketball season right now, and I think we could do with an impromptu Coach Appreciation Month, just to tip the balance of things in the universe.

It is said that it takes a number of ‘atta boys’ to make up for every criticism, and I can only imagine the deficit most school coachers are operating under. Basketball, in particular, is a very long season. Captains’ practices can begin before Thanksgiving and tournament play can last well into March. This season encompasses Christmas break where many coaches give up time with their families to host practices or take their teams to holiday tournaments. The same is true of Saturdays. Most high school coaches are paid small stipends for the amount of hours they put in--practices every night after school for weeks--many of whom have spent all day teaching, and games up to 3 or more evenings a week.

Why? Why do coaches coach? I think we can safely say they are not doing it for the money. Maybe for the prestige? Again, doubtful as popularity fluctuates wildly depending on the current win/loss record. I think most coaches coach because they love the game and they love the players. I think most coaches are interested in developing far more than ball skills with their teams.

The coaches that I know here at Hillcrest are interested in making an eternal investment in the lives of their players. They need to maintain a high level of enthusiasm, regardless of how exhausting their own day has been or what is going on in their personal lives. They work day in and day out with players who are sometimes challenging in attitude and behavior. They sometimes deal with unhappy fans and parents. And usually, they do all these things with a great deal of grace.

How can you encourage your coach/your child’s coach today? Can you start by saying “Thank you?” It might be the best thing they’ve heard all week.

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