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No matter the sport, nonprofit organizations like Ozarks Regional YMCA and Boys and Girls Club of Springfield value coach participation. Photo provided by OZARKS REGIONAL YMCA
No matter the sport, nonprofit organizations like Ozarks Regional YMCA and Boys and Girls Club of Springfield value coach participation.
Photo provided by OZARKS REGIONAL YMCA

After 5: Hey, Coach!

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Patience and teamwork are taught in practice but learned during games.

While they admit they hope those qualities sink in with their players, youth sports coaches likely will apply a few lessons of their own when they return to the workplace.

“Patience – it’s always a virtue,” says Larry Walker, service manager at Corporate Business Systems, who has coached basketball 10 years for his children’s teams at Boys and Girls Club of Springfield. “When you’re coaching young kids like that, you can use the same philosophy as when you’re managing 25 people at work. Patience will get you far.”

Dave Montgomery, owner of Dick’s 5 & 10 in downtown Branson, emphasizes the team concept when he returns to work.

“We do a lot of delegating during practices,” Montgomery says of the Ozarks Regional YMCA teams he coaches for his second- and third-grade daughters. “It’s something we use in our business all the time, delegating and teamwork. I identify employees who need a little more encouragement, a little more attention. It’s the same way on the basketball court.”

On the clock
Jay Gallivan, sports director at Boys and Girls Club of Springfield, says his organization values volunteer coaches to help ensure sports programs run smoothly, and he appreciates their sacrifice of time.

Between practice, travel and games, coaches can put in between five and 10 hours a week. The time is well-spent, Montgomery says.

“I just carve it out, I make it happen. I try to do it during our slower times of year, which is the first quarter of the year. But this year, we are going to go ahead and play in the fourth quarter,” Montgomery says, adding that he works more hours at the retail store on the days of the week he doesn’t have games or practice so his business doesn’t suffer.

Walker says the older the teams get, the more time he spends with them – now, up to six hours a week.

“It’s a good balancing act. There are certain nights I know I can’t be pulled away from my professional career, so I try to make sure I get everything done on those days,” Walker says.

Lessons learned
Montgomery says he relies on a network of fathers to help coach the team and run practices in his absence.

“We rely on volunteer coaches for all of our teams, whether that be a parent or an aunt or uncle,” says Gallivan at the Boys and Girls Club.

“We have people in the community, they just want to volunteer and be a coach. They’ve coached kids, their own kids, whenever they were growing up. They’re very important to us.”

But coaching proves just as important to the volunteers.

Brian VanFosson, senior vice president at Citizens Bank of Rogersville, says he finds it most rewarding to work with young athletes who aren’t necessarily the strongest or fastest.

“Last year, I had a girl who’d never played sports before,” says VanFosson, coach of his sixth-grade daughter’s YMCA basketball team. “She’s one of my daughter’s friends, she’s back on the team this year. Her skill level improved tremendously.”

VanFosson added that seeing the entire team improve from the beginning of the season to the end is rewarding.

“Hard work and dedication does have rewards and payoffs,” he says.

He applies the lessons professionally as well.

“I’m a banker, and I work with people. Especially, in this economic time frame, not everyone is in the same financial condition. Sometimes you have to be patient with those who are still trying.”

Seeing young athletes participate and achieve success is rewarding for Montgomery, too.

“When you see a child score that first basket … maybe for their whole lives in a game situation, to see their eyes and see them turn and look into the crowd and find their parents. It’s a really neat feeling,” Montgomery says.
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