What it takes to become a coach

What does it take to become a coach? This is a question often asked by those considering a career in coaching. Fortunately for them, two NSU coaches have provided insight into the profession.                                                   

Giuseppe DePalo,  men’s soccer head coach, began coaching a youth team when he was in college. DePalo recommended that an individual interested in coaching should get involved in coaching early. In order to be a successful coach, he said an individual needs to have a great deal of patience and a passion for the sport. In addition, he said there is a great amount of responsibilities and duties coaches have to undertake.

“At this level, we’re not just coaches, we’re academic liaisons,” said DePalo. “We are helping with injury and rehab. We are sports psychologists. We are coaches on the field. We are travel agents. I can go on and on. Our job at this level — it’s about 20 different facets of other jobs that are rolled up, and we call it coach.”

Mary Lenington, rowing head coach, said an individual must be selfless and willing to make sacrifices if he/she wants to be a good coach. For those who are interested in a career in coaching, Lenington stressed the importance of having a mentor. She said she has three mentors and still seeks advice from them today.

“I always think that it’s great in any profession, but especially in coaching, to get a good mentor,” said Lenington. “I think when you decide to become a coach, be bold, and ask people who you respect, people who you think you can learn from, people who have been around, and ask them to be your mentor.”

DePalo said he enjoys the game day management and tactics involved in coaching. However, his favorite part has nothing to do with the game itself.

“I’d say my favorite [part of coaching] is the reward you get from players after the fact,” said DePalo. “By after the fact, sometimes, that means, after the season or after their four years are up or after ten years. When you realize you’ve made an impact in someone’s life, and they recognize that, that’s probably the biggest reward.”

Lenington said coaching is similar to putting the pieces of a puzzle together.

“I think each individual is a little bit of a puzzle. [My favorite part of coaching is] just putting the right pieces together at the right time to make it fold a little quicker,” she said.

DePalo said people don’t realize just how many sacrifices coaches have to make, and they sometimes forget to have sympathy for coaches.

“Next time you see a coach, give us a smile. We’ll give one back. I’m sure,” he said.

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