Coaches' Wives Need More Than a Locker Room Speech – We Need a Change in Mindset
When my husband and I got married, he wasn’t coaching as a profession, but he was always trying to coach me. At that time I didn’t understand the way a coach is wired, (or that I had even married one), but I learned very quickly. On our honeymoon, he tried to “motivate” me to carry half our luggage up the stairs by saying, “We are a one trip family!” And of course I responded with, “Quit trying to coach me!” Though I’ve repeated this “request” many times since then, I will say that my husband has changed his approach over our 20 years of marriage!
The truth is that coaches’ wives do need to be motivated, inspired, and championed. The seasons are challenging both physically and mentally, not just for the coach and the athletes, but for the coaches’ family too – but, coaches’ wives often need more than a locker room speech. We need radical paradigm shifts.
From “My husband has a coaching job” to “We are a coaching family!”
From “I am a football widow” to “We are in this life together!”
From “Moving and changing jobs is a nightmare” to “Our life is an adventure!”
When my mindset shifted, I began to embrace the challenging privilege of being a coach’s wife. My actions started following my beliefs, and these are a few of my favorite examples:
~ A date became eating Publix sandwiches in the fieldhouse in between weight training classes. Or an early Chick-fil-a breakfast on Saturday morning before grading film.~ Friday night family dinners became pre-game meals in the fieldhouse with the other coaches’ wives and kids – with our husbands stopping in to grab a bite. ~ Family experiences became naming trick plays after daughters, having sons on the sidelines and moments on the field – celebrating with the team or silently grieving defeat. ~ Family holidays became practicing for play-offs on Thanksgiving Day, then sharing a meal with the entire football team. These are the memories that only a coaching family can make.
Every family does it differently, and there are different dynamics for every sport. There are seasons when we stay home with a newborn, and seasons when these kids grow up and we watch Daddy become their coach. Regardless of the circumstances, we all want to win in our homes. Although winning starts with a paradigm shift, our new mindset will need to be reset along the way, and we need each other in this process:
To remember together as a coaching couple that we have the opportunity to make an impact.
To join together as coaches’ wives and remind each other of the greater purpose.
To believe together that coaching is truly one of the greatest platforms for culture change today.
This mindset keeps me going through winning and losing seasons, and through the daily sacrifices of my personal agenda. This mindset motivates me through the physical exhaustion of holding down the home fort. Above all else, a true and right mindset inspires my heart as a coach’s wife.
My husband still tries to coach me, and I still tell him to stop. The difference is now I understand that a coach is wired to help others move forward, and I don’t mind the coaching (usually) since he is no longer loading me down with suitcases! Great coaches’ motivate, but the greatest coaches’ inspire change at the level of belief. This is the kind of coaching family my husband and I want to be.
Candace and her husband Brian spent the first ten years of their marriage as missionaries in Brazil with Campus Outreach Ministries. After returning to the States in 2008, they settled in Georgia where Brian began his coaching career as a Varsity High School football coach and strength and conditioning coach at Archer H.S. Candace began serving coaches’ wives with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in 2013. Her experience as a coach’s wife, mother of 3 athletes, writer, and missionary inspires her to encourage and equip coaches’ wives on the mission field of sports. She now runs a website and discipleship community for coaches' wives aptly called Coaches' Wives Ministry.