GOTR asked the coaches of Chico Country Day School, Annelle Reed and Bonnie Chapman, a few questions to learn about their coaching experiences and why they do what they do. Here is what they have to say!
GOTR: How long have you been a coach for Girls on the Run, and what keeps you coming back to coach again?
Annelle: I am a relatively new coach as my work schedule did not allow me to be involved as a coach until now. I am lucky that my friend and very experienced coach, Bonnie, asked me to join her in coaching! Last fall we coached a Heart & Sole team at a local junior high, and this spring we are coaching a GOTR team for elementary age girls. It is a great joy to share in the energy of these girls as we guide them through a season of GOTR!
Bonnie: I am currently in my 6th season as a Girls on the Run coach. 5 seasons have been with Girls on the Run and one season with Heart & Sole. I keep coming back because I love working with the girls and seeing their "a-ha" moments. I am also changed every season by the girls and their stories, exuberance and their excitement about our program!
GOTR: How do you think girls benefit from this program?
Annelle: There are many ways that the girls benefit from the program. For some it is goal-setting and achieving their goals, and for others it's the chance to be in a fun, positive environment with their peers, something they may not have had an opportunity to do before. For others, they enjoy the ‘training’ for the 5k and learning about warming up and intervals and pacing themselves through a run. GOTR offers so many ways for girls to build their confidence and to be happy and healthy people as they manage the stresses in their lives.
Bonnie: There are many ways that GOTR benefits girls and it certainly varies by the girl and her life situation. One of the great things about the program is there is something to gain for every participant. Some girls find a new level of confidence, others make new friends, some get the opportunity to be a leader in a group of peers, others find courage to open up and share. There are endless examples and with each lesson, each girl may benefit in a new and different manner.
GOTR: What is the best part of being a coach?
Annelle: For me the best part of being a coach is sharing in the girls’ enthusiasm as they set goals and build self esteem! It is amazing to watch the girl’s grow and benefit from the GOTR ideas in the 10 weeks we are together.
Bonnie: My favorite moment of being a coach is waiting at the finish line of the 5k and cheering each girl across the line. It feels so emotionally amazing and I'm always so proud of them. I didn't run a 5k until I was 43 and though it was an achievement, seeing these young girls reach a goal like that and knowing what it took to get there is so special. I also adore getting to know each girl and listening to their thoughts and input as we go through our lessons. They are all so unique!
GOTR: What tips do you have for new coaches?
Annelle: For anyone interested in becoming a GOTR coach, I think it is important to be ready to be a good listener as well as a coach. These girls have so much they want to share and the GOTR lessons and discussions give them a wonderful way to participate and think about themselves and others in a positive way.
Bonnie: I would tell new coaches to follow the curriculum, it really works. Have fun along with the girls and be goofy, they appreciate that. Take time to run a lap with each girl as the lessons allow, through the season. It's nice to give them individual attention. Watch YouTube videos of energy awards, there are so many fun ideas! Shake things up by running in a different part of your school or practice location, or by using fun lap counters each lesson. Sidewalk chalk is also really fun for multiple things during the season.
GOTR: Do you have a favorite GOTR coach memory?
Annelle: I would have to say that my best coaching memory so far was at our GOTR 5K Run last fall, where each of the girls on our team came out and excelled in finishing the 5K - they were awesome!
Bonnie: I love running into the girls around town, seeing them during the program and even after it's over. As coaches, we become an important role model in their lives and I feel like we have the ability to make a real impact in a short amount of time. I'm thankful for my time as a GOTR coach!