How Having A Baby Made Me A Better Coach – Brian MacDonald


“Brian! I think I’m pregnant!”, my wife abruptly wakes me with at roughly 6:30 in the morning, and understandably so. Those of you who really know me, I am the antithesis of a morning person. I am the classic “don’t talk to me until I have my caffeine” type of person, so all I could muster from my zombie self was, “Whoa…..” We had just started trying for a kid, so I was obviously excited, just had to be a little more conscious to process those words.

The ensuing change I have gone through since then has been life changing to say the least.

Though I won’t truly realize it until our baby girl comes, I had a dramatic increase in selflessness.

I found myself thinking to myself that it is no longer about me or just my wife and I.

While we were having the conversation about having a child, that was the biggest hurdle we had to accept, that we had to make the necessary sacrifices such as going out for dinner and drinks at the drop of a hat, or suddenly deciding we want to go to Glacier National Park without a worry in the world just to name a couple of examples.

My daily thoughts shifted from protocols I needed to finish for athletes or plans we had for the weekend to what can I do to make this pregnancy as comfortable as possible for my wife or fear of all that could go wrong because all I want is a healthy baby and healthy wife to come out of this.

Free time was suddenly consumed with projects for the nursery or just general projects to prepare the house for a new permanent guest.

Long story short, I no longer thought of myself, and I was completely okay with it.

The point of this post is to talk about how coaching has helped me prepare for this pregnancy and soon raising a child.

Dealing with athletes primarily between the ages of 9 and 14 all day every day for almost 6 years now has tested my patience like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

Whether it be one who has constant behavioral issues always interrupting the class, or others who just don’t seem to be understanding the skill I am trying to coach, patience is an absolute must when dealing with kids. Bottom line is we have to be patient and understanding as coaches.

These have been the two most important traits I have utilized throughout this pregnancy, and two that I know will come in handy when our baby comes. The other big one is empathy.

The ability to understand and share the feelings of another is critical when it comes to coaching. When an athlete comes in showing all signs of being down and having a miserable day, it is our job to recognize and make it abundantly clear to that athlete that we understand them and are there to help in whatever way we can.

I obviously can’t possibly share the discomfort my wife is going through while growing a human being, I can do my best to listen and try to understand, just like I would do with an athlete who is feeling down.

These past 9 months have been a wonderful and revealing experience for my wife and I. I feel that I have excelled as a person through this and having coached athletes for the past 6 years has undoubtedly helped me prepare for this and the future of fatherhood.

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