After reading my post, Dirty Red, last week, I received a message from a friend and colleague who is a frequent reader of my blog:
“Seriously… “Clarion Call”…. “Vernacular”… are you an English teacher or a coach? I thought for a minute I was going to have to consult Webster! Luckily I could figure out from the context what the he** you were talking about”
As teachers, and especially coaches, we have an awesome podium from which to speak. We have a captive audience of athletes for several hours a day, most days of the year, over the span of three to four years. We are the most important, influential adults besides their parent(s) in many of their lives. They are young men and women who are literally hanging on our every word. They believe what we say, and trust what we are teaching. With that platform, comes responsibility. Responsibility to:
- Teach… more than football
- Coach… teamwork
- Instill… confidence
- Espouse… lifelong learning
- Practice… character building
- Instruct… work ethic
- Drill … life skills
- Mentor… life lessons
If we are not doing all the above and more, we really are missing out on an opportunity to affect a student-athlete for their entire lifetime. Great coaches know and respond to that responsibility.
Now, back to vocabulary… I know the best way for me to learn a word is by reading and seeing it in context. In most all of my posts (you can check them) I try to throw in a fairly obscure word… not for the purpose of sounding educated or trying to be “fancy”, but in an attempt to expose at least one person to a word they may not know or feel comfortable using.
All the great coaches that are my idols… from Vince Lombardi and Hank Stram, to Bill Walsh and Bill Snyder, are (or were) masters of the English language. I really believe having a great vocabulary is another tool in your box that allows you to communicate more effectively. Communicating more effectively allows you to be a better coach and teacher. A great vocabulary allows you to explain the often-subtle nuances of different situations; it will help you convey your ideas more effectively to your players, parents or the media.
As we all know, wearing many hats is a prerequisite for the job of being a coach. I guess at some point I decided to include the “hat” of vocabulary instructor in my wardrobe as well. My main point is that as teachers, we should relish the chance to teach… and teach more that the intricacies of the sport(s) we are coaching.
Thanks to PrepsKC for running this column both online and in their weekly print magazine. If you get a chance to go and visit their site and “Like” this post, I would appreciate it!
We Can Do More!
Jeff Floyd – email@example.com