Because you really need another thing on your to-do list, arewerite?
Listen: most coaching positions come with salaries or stipends. (Not that sports have anything to do with money, right Floyd Mayweather?) So…yeah. It's not a bad gig.
But the big question is: can you manage to do both? More importantly, can you manage to do both well? (Further qualifier: without losing your mind?)
The Spect(at)or of Politics
Maybe you're drawn to coaching because you believe school sports are about helping students learn new skills, improve old ones, develop sportsmanship, practice teamwork, engage in healthy activities, increase physical fitness, and have fun. And if so, bully for you. Those are, many would say, the "right" reasons. But it would be naïve to think that those are the goals all parents, students, and coaches have in mind when athletes take to the field (court, strip, pitch, track, arena, mat, insert venue here).
We're just going to come out and say it. School sports—even at the pee-wee level—can sometimes bring out the worst in people. Especially when it comes to opinionated parents who don't understand why their child isn't playing, or why that decision was made, or why that kid's in the game, or why the ref missed that call, or—you get the idea.
So remember that there may be additional stressors associated with your choice to take on the coach role. Whether it's parental or student complaints, issues around the gym or ice (or pool or field) times assigned to your team, or the amount of money and support your sport gets allotted, there's a lot more to your decision than teaching some ten-year-olds to swing a bat.
And while we're on bats…
The Seventeenth-Inning Stretch
That's including the innings (or you know, periods) that happen before you even get out on the field. There will likely be school days when you have games, meets, or tournaments—and don't forget, that's all after you've already had a full school day. On those days, you may arrive at school in the early morning and not leave until the last student is picked up at the end of the night. We could be talking about 16-hour shifts here.
And even when you don't have competitions, you'll have regular practices—sometimes every day for two or more hours—that lengthen your already significant time commitments.
Before you commit to coaching, check the schedule thoroughly to see how many of these days you are likely to have, when they will occur, and whether or not that's where you want to spend every afternoon from here to eternity.
The Struggle of Playing Two Roles
We're not saying you'll have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation or anything. But playing dual roles can lead to a whole new set of challenges. If your star point guard is failing your math class, that might place you in a difficult position. Same deal if your best student is competing for a starting position with a student who, well, hasn't been the easiest to deal with in class.
What to do?
Sometimes, your role as a teacher may interfere with your decision-making as a coach and vice versa. And even if these dual roles don't present conflicts for you from your point of view, there may be a perception among others that your ability to be impartial in one role or the other has become compromised. We're not saying not to swallow the personality-splitting potion. Hey, even Mr. Hyde had his soft spots (well, sort of).
The Benefits of Playing Two Roles
We've got an "On the other hand" for you.
Getting to know some of your students in a new way may enhance your classroom relationships, and in some cases it can help develop a new sense of mutual respect where it may have been lacking. Plus, coaching could also introduce you to an entirely new group of students, and that could help strengthen your bond with your school as a whole.
It's also possible that in your role as coach, you may be able to motivate that point guard who's failing your math class to buckle down and get his homework in on time. Or that because you have such a great relationship with your star student you'll be able to soften the blow when that starting position goes to someone else on the team.
Mr. Hyde doesn't sound so bad after all, huh?
Physical and Emotional Benefits
Now we're definitely not talking about Mr. Hyde. While you won't necessarily be playing the sport you're coaching, being out there on the pitch (field, mat, court…do we have to keep doing this?) could provide you with a physical outlet that's not necessarily front-and-center in your life of planning, prepping, and grading papers and P-sets.
Of course, that in itself shouldn't be enough to make you take the plunge (if you're out to be a swim coach). And if you do decide to take on a coaching position, be sure that even with your busier schedule you find time for self-care.
But in the end, sometimes throwing a curveball (another sports pun!) into your schedule is just what you need to put a little pep back in your step. And if coaching gets you up and moving and thinking in a different way, you could experience fabulous physical and emotional benefits that will outweigh the longer hours as well as any snark you have to endure.
So batter up, 24-52-43, on your marks, and, well, go.