Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My Health and Human Performance Internship: A Change of Perspective

By Haley Overstreet '16

Coach Karen Harvey and Health and Human Performance
Exercise and Sports Studies major Haley Overstreet '16.
Haley is minoring in Coaching and will graduate in December.
I’ve never seen a day where there wasn’t a ball at my feet, or in my hand, or where I wasn’t on the field or in a gym. I’ve spent a great portion of my life being an athlete. I grew up playing two sports, basketball and soccer, until I decided to solely focus on soccer when it came time to make the big decision of where to go to college. Spending seventeen years heavily involved in sports I’ve had my fair share of coaches, some good and some bad, with lessons learned from each and every one of them. I’ve played college soccer at two different institutions. I’ve also played college lacrosse and field hockey, two sports I was never introduced to until recently, when my soccer career ended. I’ve had four different college coaches; four different coaching philosophies and values, four different teams, and four different jerseys I’ve worn throughout my college career. Now, some of you may understand what playing sports growing up is like, particularly in high school and even into college, while others may not. It’s not always big wins, trophies, and championship rings. Being an athlete is certainly not as pretty from the outside looking in. It’s sacrifice, determination, early mornings, late nights, long trips, missed parties and holidays. It’s painful, it’s ugly, and it’s the typical cliché of blood, sweat and tears. However, I believe it’s something everyone should experience and despite how rough it really is I certainly wouldn’t have changed one second of this crazy hectic lifestyle.

That’s why I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to intern under Coach Karen Harvey, head women’s lacrosse coach. These past five weeks have truly been eye opening. I really do not believe that athlete’s realize the amount of time and effort that coaches put into their every day job. It’s not just planning practices and facilitating them. There is so much more to being a coach, especially at the college level. Being a coach is demanding, stressful, and time consuming but at the end of the day it probably is one of the most rewarding jobs. I’ve realized that sports all around build character, create team players and instill discipline in individuals. That’s exactly what Karen is doing. Along with teaching these young women the game of lacrosse she’s also teaching them better time management, self-accountability, and the will to persevere even when times (practices, games, classes, etc.) get tough. I never really looked at it this way until I started my internship. It’s funny how when you put yourself in someone else’s shoes the things you will be able to see. Observing things from a coaching aspect is way different than from a player’s. I’ve learned that as an athlete we often get caught up in the choices a coach makes and how they affect us individually. Rather than being selfish and focusing on oneself, players need to understand that a coaches choices are made to benefit the team as a whole, not just to target a single player. Being a coach goes far beyond the field and some lessons that coaches teach players benefit them in all walks of life, this is the rewarding part. One of the greatest parts I’ve learned about being a coach is having successful players beyond their playing years. It’s a great feeling for a coach to receive a phone call from a former player and have them talk about their current lives and accomplishments and I can only hope to one day play a huge role in my players' lives and hear about how successful they have become.

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