5 Reasons to Coach this Fall
In 2008, I was starting to see how early some "mean girl" behaviors began and that the messages girls were receiving were having a negative impact on their self-worth. I recalled my own elementary school experience and wanted to do something. I discovered Girls on the Run through a good friend and decided to start a site at my eldest child's school. I fell in love with the mission, coached for six years and even helped to start a Girls on Track (now Heart & Sole) site at my kids' middle school.
Here are the five top reasons I recommend coaching a Girls on the Run or Heart & Sole team:
MEET NEW FRIENDS
Many of our girls on the run say that "meeting new friends" is why they want to participate. Similarly, coaches have the opportunity to meet other adults who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of girls and their community. Whether that's a parent / guardian, teacher, staff member or another coach, the GOTR space is a great place to meet new friends. Nearly a decade after coaching, our girls now off to college, I still cherish the friends I made as result of coaching my GOTR team.
FORWARD IS A PACE
At Girls on the Run St. Louis, we like to say that forward is a pace...whether that's running, jogging, walking, skipping, dancing, or cartwheeling, forward movement gets you from the starting line to the finish line. When I started coaching I had never run more than a mile and, like our girls on the run, I learned that with consistent effort, we can accomplish big things.
AN AMAZING CURRICULUM
The amazing program curriculum is intentionally laid out to build on the previous topics, each practice is is clearly mapped out including a script to use, and the GOTR-STL staff provides you with a bin of supplies and is there to support you from the first site meeting, through each 5K. All you need to do is familiarize yourself with the lesson before practice, embrace a mastery rather than performance climate (favors effort over performance / perfection), and play along with the team. GOTR does the heavy lifting so you can focus on engaging with the girls.
GROW ALONG WITH THE GIRLS
One of the most common pieces of feedback we get from end-of-season coach surveys is how grateful they are for what they learned while coaching and wonder about the impact that GOTR would have had on their younger selves. The really good news is that it is never too late to incorporate the GOTR lessons into your life and grow along with the girls.
INSPIRE LIMITLESS POTENTIAL
Witnessing the transformation that can happen over the course of the program is a true gift. The rewards of watching a girl light up when something in the lesson resonates, or demonstrate thier new found confidence with a little extra sparkle in their step, or encourage a teammate for showing up and working hard, or see the sense of accomplishment they have when they talk about their 5K experience, or reflect on what they have learned about themselves, are immeasurable. Coaches inspire girls to find their most authentic selves and discover that their potential is limitless!
One more reason to coach comes from Nichelle, a 2017 Girls on the Run coach ...
"If someone is interested in being a coach, we need you. We definitely need you because there is a girl that needs you. There's a girl that needs your experience, they need your background, they need your insight to help them be who they need to be."
Check out this video with more first-hand accounts from GOTR coaches on why they coach.
The GOTR coaching experience changed my life in many ways. I have met many wonderful friends, learned some amazing life tools, discovered my inner runner (I went on to run 6 half marathons!), experienced the joy of engaging with dozens of incredible girls - now young women, and seen the ripple effect of the program on my community as girls I coached are now coaching and volunteering at the 5K. Last, but not the least, I joined the incredible GOTR-STL staff in 2017! Forward is a pace, and I'm so grateful to keep moving forward with GOTR.