Becoming Believers…

My favorite Cowgirl/Chef announced at dinner Saturday night, “Mom, you’re a hard ass”.  While her choice of language was not entirely acceptable to me; within the context of the dinner table discussion, I really could not argue with her statement.  The conversation that night focused on the fourth swim meet of the season and my coaching *style*.

During the summer months, I periodically take off my feed yard manager/Boss Lady hat and put on my Swim Team Coach hat.  On weekdays, I can be found on the community pool deck from 11:25 to 12:45 for practice; and I am at a pool somewhere in Nebraska almost every Saturday in June and July at our weekly swim meets.

Fueled by beef!

If you look closely you will see one of my favorite quotes on the front of the t-shirts!

My girls and I became involved with the Plains tSunami swim league four years ago joining up with a neighboring community program in Gothenburg (the town 5 miles west of the feed yard).  Today, with the help of two other coaches and a couple of wonderful “managers”, our team touches more than 60 children in the Gothenburg and Cozad communities.

I have been a volunteer youth athletic coach for many different sports in the 16 years since I graduated from college, but swim team is my favorite.  There is no doubt that the sport that I dedicated my life to for more than a decade holds a special place in my heart.  However, my love for coaching this group of kids goes deeper than that.

Most of the 2013 team :)

About 3/4’s of the 2013 team 🙂

There is something about a pool of water and a pair of goggles that teaches young people that the ultimate source of power comes from within.  When the going gets tough, it is quite literally, a matter of sinking or swimming.  While I have many athletes that spend most of the year exceling in sports other than swimming, I know that the summer days spent training in the water do more than bring a new level of fitness to their bodies.  Those hours build their confidence and make them believers.

As Megan so pointedly noted on Saturday evening at the dinner table, I am a challenging coach.  I expect my athletes to not only work hard but also to believe in themselves.  I ask them to do things that raise the bar higher.

I want them to learn that life is an open door for them—that they can accomplish their dreams if only they will work hard and believe in themselves.


“Coach” Anne

While I am intense and likely a bit intimidating when I put on my *coaching hat*, the truth is that my athletes excel not only physically but also mentally under my tutelage.  With every race that they win or every PR that they swim, the athletes learn that they control their own destiny.  I treasure the expressions of personal victory that I see so often on their faces.

What my swimmers may not realize is that as I watch their successes, I have to pull my baseball cap down just a little bit further so that they will not see the tears in my eyes—tears of pride and of joy that come as I watch them become believers.

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Filed under Family, General

11 responses to “Becoming Believers…

  1. Megan S.

    And one day they will thank you for it! I too coach, middle school volleyball and track and field, and expect a lot from the kids. Throughout my life I had coaches that expected a lot from me and I was better for it and more determined to succeed in whatever I was involved in. Keep up the good work coach!

    • That is wonderful, Megan! I am so proud of you for sharing your gifts. I so very much agree with your thoughts, and can only hope that we make a difference in the lives of all of those young people.

      Keep up the good work yourself!

  2. Bill

    When did you get so sappy, H.A.? Youth coaching is hugely rewarding, especially when you have so much to offer from your own experience. I’m very jealous of your time on the deck.

    • I suppose that I get sappier as I get older, Bill. There is something about being a mother that brings out both the sappiness as well as the intensity that my daughter so delicately noted above…

      I’d love to see you get back in to coaching—I am sure that there are youth leagues in Virginia that would benefit from your savvy!


  3. Stephanie

    Hard ass + silently hidden tears=a caring person who only has their best interest at heart……

    • Thank you, Stephanie. That is 100% accurate 🙂

      Thank you for all of the work that you do with the young people of our community. We all need you!


  4. Anne, I think the same principles you talk about today apply to showing livestock. My Mom was in your same shoes “coaching” two daughters and mentoring many 4-Hers. She still has a few 4-H kids she helps today.

    There are a lot of uncertainties when one gets to a livestock show. We have no control over an animal’s attitude or the Judge’s eye. Mom and Dad were OK if we had a bad day at a show, as long as we didn’t beat ourselves. Sometimes, that is a fine line.

    Keep up the coaching gig, you never know what kind of impact it might have on a youngster!

    • Robyn,

      I have no experience in the livestock showing world but I would certainly believe that consistent hard work and personal confidence would be the secret to success there as well. Many thanks to your mom for all of those volunteer hours–she is a great mentor!

      Take care,

  5. Good post “Coach” Anne 🙂 I had very few good coaches in numerous years of different sports… but I remembered the good ones and the lessons they taught me 🙂 More coaches like you could do some good for this world 🙂 It is nice to see someone like you that does their best in all they do… work, to play, to coaching 🙂

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