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Run Through A Wall Or Out The Door-An Article By Contributor Harrison Chisum

Growing up, I had my share of coaches. There were some that I would play my heart out for. Unfortunately, I also had some that I would dread seeing. This has been my motivation as a coach from day one to be someone that my players would want to play for. This motivation increased once I became a dad myself. It helped me realize that I am coaching someone’s son or daughter.

What qualities make a coach someone you would run through a wall for? Is it something that they are born with? Is it something they have to force or something that is naturally a part of who they are? Looking back at my own experience, I can say that it was the simple things that made them so special. Was it their outstanding X’s and O’s and coaching strategies? No, but that doesn’t hurt. It was the connections that they made with their athletes. It was not scripted or rehearsed but genuine. The simple “Hey Chisum, how was your day today?” or “What did you have for lunch?” made me feel like a person who mattered and not just another name on a roster. The flip side would be the coach that was so focused on winning. Their thought of motivation was yelling and belittling players as well as using players against each other instead of for each other.

“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care”. I would go and visit my coach many times when a made trips back home. I remember taking my wife to visit Coach, and he answered the door in his familiar hooded sweatshirt. He welcomed us and wanted to know about my wife. He also shared some stories about me just in case she didn’t hear about them already. When it was time to leave, he shook my hand and reminded me not to forget why we do what we do. When we left, my wife commented on what a nice man he was and no wonder why he was special to me. This was the last time I got to see Coach. He had a massive heart attack and passed away a few days later. After his passing a bunch of my teammates and I all got together and shared stories for hours about coach. All had a similar theme of a tough nose coach who pushed us, but at the end of the day, we knew he loved us. He was the coach we would have run through a wall for!

The sports world is made up of a combination of both types of coaches. I would put money on those teams that have the connection and a true family feel to it over the teams that are playing scared, so that they do not get yelled at. I miss coach and when things have gone well, I catch myself wanting to let him know. Whereas to be honest, I thought about those other “coaches” only when I see others acting like them.

As a coach, be someone that a player would run through a wall for. Don’t be a coach that a player is looking to run away from. Most importantly, do not forget why we do what we do!


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