Photo courtesy of Eric Gaines
Great coaches teach us how to succeed in the game of life. They cultivate confidence and instill discipline, with unwavering support. Industrial engineer and soccer coach, Eric Gaines, coaches kids on and off the field with remarkable dedication. He’s a father who is more than just a figure.
“Eric is a patient and attentive father who always goes the extra mile for his children. I couldn’t be more proud of the role model he is for our children and the children he coaches,” says Gaines’ wife, La-Toya.
Gaines took some time out to share his thoughts on how he teaches kids about growth and achieving success despite adversity.
How does a coach and father understand the process of allowing room for growth?
A coach works with their players during practice to help them learn skills and how those skills can be applied in a game situation. The coach then has to allow the player to use the learned skills as they see fit in a real game. The same is true with parenting and allowing your child to use the life skills taught to navigate through the world.
In what ways has coaching prepared you to guide your athletes on and off the field?
You have to be ready as a coach to provide direction to your team in order to be successful. That means a certain amount of preparation prior to practices and games has to take place to be ready for the challenges that present themselves on and off the field.
What role does decision making play in being a great coach or father?
Decision making plays a large role in coaching and parenting. Decisions have to be made as to what the needs of the team are to maximize training/learning. Decisions have to be made to ensure that the team members selected are best suited to win the game.
How do you inspire your children or athletes to maintain focus in order to win?
I try to keep it simple giving them goals to try to achieve during a game, practice, class [or] activity. E.g.: Try to make two passes to your teammates prior to taking a shot. Try to read for 20 minutes every day. etc. When it is done in this fashion, I believe the child or athlete has a better opportunity for success and incurs less stress.
How do you offer encouragement when the child or athlete faces adversity?
I reinforce the fact that we all make mistakes and that we have to learn from those mistakes. I also talk about effort. Did they put forth the effort necessary to be successful? I try to have them reflect on the adversity and have them tell me if there was anything that they felt they could have done better to help overcome the adversity.
Do you have any Father’s Day traditions?
When my son doesn’t have club soccer tryouts, I go back home and golf with my father, [and] one of my childhood friends and his father.
What are your plans for this Father’s Day?
Club soccer tryouts in the morning and then a Father’s Day celebration with friends and family.
Photo courtesy of Eric Gaines