I think it’s fair to say that most youth coaches don’t get paid for their efforts. Their compensation is gratitude. But I think that sentiment is widely misunderstood as merely saying “thank you.”
“Thank you” is nice, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes, it feels more pro forma than anything else. Spontaneous expressions of gratitude are more meaningful. Its the little things.
When players are happy to be around me, that’s gratitude. When players are upset when I have to miss a practice, that’s telling me they appreciate me being there to help them.
At the end of the year party after my first year coaching at my current gig, I had several players ask me if I was coaching again next year. I said I hoped so but wasn’t sure. The disappointment of their faces showed that they appreciated my work with them.
Last year, I ran into one of my players around town and chatted with him for a few minutes. “You’re coaching next year, right?” he asked expectantly. I said yes.
The excited tone of his question was worth more than any “thank you” I’ve ever received.