The “Why” of Why I Love to Coach – Alice Smith

We all choose a path in life. We choose to study a particular subject in school, we choose a career that we think will make us happy. We choose to get married or stay single. We choose.

When asked “why” I made my career choice, it took me a minute to find the words for an answer. You see, it’s kind of complex.

When I went to college, I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had lots of hobbies and things that I enjoyed, but nothing really struck me on the head as a lifelong career path.

So I went in on the wrong boat. I started in an arts and humanities program- but after only a few months realized it was not for me. I couldn’t handle the blood and guts of nursing (my next attempt at a major), so I went to an advisor defeated.

My advisor told me about the kinesiology program, which focused around the study of human movement. The more we talked, the more I was interested. I loved the idea of working with kids and teaching them how to create healthy habits while simultaneously unleashing their athletic potential. I bought in.


For the first time in my collegiate career, classes were interesting and fun.

I was learning so much and loving it. I took an internship with MSU Spartan Performance, where I was able to really grow as a trainer- working with athletes of all sports, ages, and sizes. After a few months, I took over the strength programs of two public high schools. I worked closest with a varsity football team as their strength and conditioning coach, which solidified that this is what I want to do with my life.



Early in my days in charge of a school S&C program, a cheerleader came to the weight room distraught. Her parents were in the midst of a messy divorce, her brother had left home for good without warning, and she was picked on at school. She was defeated- and she broke down.

As we talked, I realized that I had no control what happened to this athlete outside of the weight room walls. I couldn’t knock down kids for bullying her, tell her parents to keep her away from the drama, or call up her brother.

But I could make that hour, that 1/24 part of her day, enjoyable. I could do my best to help her forget all of the crap happening outside, and have fun.

I love training. Pushing kids towards their potential and watching them see results is so rewarding. But it was at that moment that I realized why I show up every single day.

At that moment, with that cheerleader, I was more than a coach/intern/college kid. I was a life line for her, and she needed me to show up for her.

We’ve all had various experiences with coaches in our lives. Some of us have had coaches that we hated- that aggressively drilled us into the ground with endless suicides and burpees. On the other hand, some of us have had coaches that changed us- not just in athletic technique, but in life. I never had a coach like that. I didn’t have someone who would just sit and let me vent for five minutes. I want to be that for these kids.

Being a coach is so much more than agility and lifting. It can be life changing if done properly. If I can make a difference in even just one athlete’s day, I am doing my job, and that’s why I do this.

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