When the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks take the field tonight, all eyes will be on Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson.
But some football fans enjoy watching other members of the team. As coaches themselves, they can relate to what John Fox and Pete Carroll will go through tonight.
“The stresses that we will see this weekend will be typical in any game of football,” said Ryan Turley, head coach of the Hobart Brickies varsity football team. “Weather, an official’s call or an unexpected injury – these are all concerns that coaches at all levels have to deal with, and how your team respond to these situations often times has an advantage.”
The job of a football coach – or coach of any sport - comes with many responsibilities. After all, their jobs entail so much more than just what’s on the field.
Turley, who is in his fourth year at Hobart, has been a teacher and coach for 18 years. He currently teaches Health and Safety at Hobart High School, and has taught other courses such as middle school science throughout his journey to the high school.
While coaching staffs at the professional level can expect long days this weekend, that doesn’t differ much for any coach on any level.
“A typical day during season is a 15-hour day,” Turley said.
In addition to long days, a coach’s job often comes with a high amount of stress, but where that stress originates varies per coach.
“I can honestly say, I do not feel any stress from the outside,” he said. “My expectations are no different than when I was a player. Our goal is to win championships. That will never change as long as I am coaching.”
Like any job, coaching also comes with its challenges and rewards, and one of the biggest challenges for high school coaches involves their dual roles they play as both coach and educator.
“I would have to say that some of the biggest challenges are getting athletes to realize at a young age how much their academics play a role in their future on and off the field,” Turley said. “Once they realize that, the fun begins because now you know you have their attention and they have the opportunity to reach their maximum potential.”
Until that happens, he said, coaches constantly try to find an approach to get inside a student’s head and help them understand the relationship between education and playing a sport.
“Seeing these young men grow up and become adults is one of the biggest rewards,” Turley said. “I have many of my former athletes who are current educators and coaches throughout the state.”
For Ann Downey, a Lake Central High School cross country coach, keeping her athletes mentally prepared is her greatest challenge, especially since running is just as much a mental sport as physical.
“One of my favorite parts of being a coach is getting o see the kids run a personal record,” she said. “They are so excited to see that their hard work has paid off.”
The profession of coaching at the amateur level if often about helping students be successful both on and off the field.
“The peace of mind comes when they get their first job and they are making a living and you know that they are going to be able to take care of themselves,” Turley said.