Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Coach for Life

I discovered my love of softball very early
The definition of a coach is one who instructs or trains, and it is usually sport-specific.  I have had many coaches in my life who instructed me within a specific sport.  However, several of those coaches taught me skills that go far beyond the field or the court.  They didn’t simply coach me for a season – I consider them coaches for life.  They taught me how to play on the field and how live off the field. 

Since becoming a full-time health and weight loss coach nearly 18 months ago, I have reflected upon the lessons my coaches gave me and the motivation they used to push me to my potential.  They had high expectations of me only because they knew what I was capable of.  I also now have high expectations of my clients because I see what they can do and I want them to realize their potential.  As a coach, I get so much joy from watching my clients succeed. 

This joy is why I am so proud and excited that my role as a coach has taken on a whole new meaning.  As of this week, I am the new head coach of my alma mater’s varsity softball team.  I am a 1998 graduate of Battle Ground Academy (BGA) and played five years of varsity softball.  I was blessed to have been coached and mentored by Coach Pat Stoffel.  My true love was softball and in addition to playing for BGA, I played year-round for various travel teams.  I recently discovered that BGA’s girls’ softball team was struggling, and actually did not even have a team for the 2011 season.  This was very disappointing for me as I feel such a loyalty to softball, especially BGA softball.  After nearly two years of correspondence with various BGA staff members, I had a recent meeting with the Athletic Director where I was asked to be the new head coach of their softball team.  After a few successive meetings, one with a few girls interested in playing on the softball team, I have gladly accepted my new role as the new head coach.

Coach Stoffel was a mentor on & off the field -
here she is talking to my catcher & me as we come off the field
When I think about the experiences in my life that have created who I am today, softball and my many coaches top the list.  Even as an adult, there is hardly a week that goes by that I don’t recall something one of my coaches taught me.  Coach Loring, Coach Overstreet, and Coach Gleason all nurtured me from a shy little girl into a competent young athlete.  Coach Belliford and Coach Eisenhauer pushed me from a timid teenager into a tough competitor.  My amazingly talented pitching coach Gary Martineau tapped into every ounce of talent I had and transformed me from a girl throwing a softball to a skilled pitcher – and even taught me which part of my mouth had the stickiest spit to help me throw a wicked rise ball.  Coach Stoffel developed me from a talented athlete to a champion on and off the field.  And of course I can’t leave out my dad and my step-dad.  They were my original coaches – they practiced with me, sweat with me, even bled with me and cried with me.  But they always encouraged me and cheered me on. 

I am so proud and happy to be able to share these types of experiences with my new players.  My coaches taught me beautiful lessons in accountability, perseverance, humility, personal growth, awareness of others, self-discipline, and self-esteem.  And most importantly, they taught me how to be a champion no matter what the scoreboard showed.  I feel I am a better person because of softball and the coaches who taught me lessons on and off the field.  I only hope I will be able to have the same impact on my new players for many years to come! 

Even as BGA’s softball coach, I still plan to coach my clients on health and weight loss.  So, make sure you go to to see all the ways I can help you and those on your “home team”.  Obesity is 100% preventable – if we play hard, give it all we’ve got, we will win the game!