A Coach’s Lesson, in 6 Words

photo credit: icedsoul photography .:teymur madjderey via photopin cc
photo credit: icedsoul photography .:teymur madjderey via photopin cc

You can learn a lot from a coach.

Not all of it’s good. I remember a frustrated soccer coach who slammed his notebook to the turf after our team scored, then barked out the F word. Hayden, then playing U8 soccer, turned to me, mouth open slightly, and blinked several times.

I swear a light bulb illuminated above her head.

Thanks, coach.
Many other lessons are far less R-rated. Well, some.

As the third installment of the 6 Words series, I asked bloggers, readers, and strangers to sum up a lesson learned from a coach. And by coach, I mean anything from your football coach to your yoga instructor to a life coach. I think I even have some ballerina stuff in the mix.

photo credit: HenryFigueroa via photopin cc
photo credit: HenryFigueroa via photopin cc

Ernest Hemingway asserted that you could tell any story in six words.

So, here’s your story.

1. “I can’t is not an option.”

Nicole G., author of Work in Sweats Mama blog

2. “Mess up? Keep smiling, no problem.”

Erica, author of Nannypology blog

3. “You were right. You ARE terrible!”

Leslie P.

4. “Girls can protect chests in soccer!”

Leslie B., author of Time out for Mom blog

5. “Teamwork and dedication equal great success.”

Marcia, author of Menopausal Mother blog

6. “Keep your eye on the ball.”

Jamie J., author of Kreyv blog

7. “Get your head in the game!”

Christy W., author of Sol Seeker blog

141100 - Wheelchair tennis David Hall serves - 3b - 2000 Sydney match photo

8. “Do not underestimate your second serve!”

Letizia, author of Reading Interrupted blog

9. “You go to first base FIRST!”

Elizabeth C., author of Elizabeth Collins blog

10. “Show them, and it will stick.”

Martha W., author of Martha Willis blog

11. “Never give up and keep trying!”

Susi K., author of Boca Frau blog

12. “Puke and rally. Puke and rally.”

Annelise R., author of Aunie Sauce blog

13. “Experienced coaching gets you there faster!”

Natalie B., author of Marigolds’ Loft blog

14. “Don’t just finish, give your best.”

Emma M., author of A Mom Runs This Town While Life Runs Her blog

15. “Your two speeds? Slow and reverse.”

Mary, author of A Teachable Mom blog

16. “It’s the taking part that counts.”

Gina F., author of A 4 Star Life blog

17. “Your strength is infinite. Use it.”

Rara, author of Rarasaur blog

18. “Worst thing to do: Give up.”

Sonya S., author of Swashbuckler’s Tales blog

19. “Every day can’t be your best.”

Sarah G., author of Courage 2 Run blog

20. “Keep your head in the game!”

Karen K., author of Karen’s Soiree blog

21. “Never give up … never give in!”

Becca L., author of My Crazy Good Life blog

Irene Nelson 5

22. “Life is transformed on your mat.”

Andra W., author of Accidental Coochie Mama blog

23. “Don’t step between two people fighting.”

Tina G., author of Enjoying the Unique Tastes of Life blog

24. “Forget everything, be true, just move.”

Britt S., author of A Physical Perspective blog

25. “There is no ‘I’ in team.”

Laura C.

26. “Motivation is more effective than degradation.”

Kristi B., author of Black Sheep Mom blog

27. “I don’t ‘try’ because I ‘do’.”

Tracy G., author of Crazy as Normal blog

28. “Ready, set, sit on the bench.”

Shannon T., author of Shannon A. Thompson blog

29. “”How it looks does not matter.”

Stacey N.

30. “You always win when having fun.”

Emily M.

31. “Fake it til you make it!”

Kristen D., author of Four Hens and a Rooster blog

32. “Stand tall. Remember to breathe. Sing.”

Kim, author of Copilot Mom blog

33. “Move forward and you won’t fail.”

Michelle C., author of Rage Your Way Thin blog

34. “It’s poor sportmanship to throw stuff.”

Amber M., author of Airing My Dirty Laundry One Post at a Time blog

35. “There is consolation in the hardship.”

Jenn S., author of Chicken Scratch blog

36. “You’re a waste of father’s sperm!”

Joyce L., author of Catch My Words blog

37. “”You can not eat a softball.”

Amy T.

38. “Throw the damn ball you idiot!”

Toby S., author of Dumbass News blog

39. “Give your all, all the time.”

Susan M., author of Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva blog

40. “Lay it all on the floor.”

Caitlin P., author of Crossroads of the Heart blog

41. “Hands steady, eyes focused, release – Bullseye.”

Kristan, author of Munchkin and Bean blog

42. “At the top, it’s all mental.”

Sarah, author of Journeys of the Zoo blog

43. “Do something, anything. Reflect. Try again.”

Stevie H., author of Joy in the Midst of blog

44. “Always believe in yourself, never quit.”

Mark W., author of Spirit Sounds blog

45. “If it’s not fun, don’t bother.”

Jen K., author of My Skewed View blog

46. “”Wear shorts. You can’t win? Distract.”

Court, author of Baking in my Bathing Suit blog

Cycling Time Trial effort

47. “Never quit and you’ll never fail.”

Lesley C., author of Bucket List Publications blog

48. “”Don’t panic and you will live.”

Elizabeth, author of Motherhood: A Descent Into Madness blog

49. “It takes strength to lose graciously.”

AnnMarie G., author of Tidbits from the Queen of Chaos blog

50. “Disappointment is a part of life.”

Michelle N., author of A Dish of Daily Life blog

51. “Life is opportunity, benefit from it!”

Teena P.

52. “Tennis isn’t just about hitting balls.”

Kate H., author of Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine with My Quiet Times blog

What would your six words be?

Charlesworth quote coaching


  1. nannypology says:

    I love your 6 words posts! And I love that I got to participate in this one! It’s amazing how broad of a story all of these together create!

    1. Glad you liked it! Also happy you got in the game with this one. I’m amazed the bad words were at a minimum on this one.

  2. Extremely well done, my new Friend. <—— See what I did there, Amigo? <—–Again! I kill myself. Six words at a dang time. 🙂

    1. Six words is the new haiku, brother. Good work. And your submission is an early hit.

  3. niki says:

    This post is fantastic ! I’ll keep them in mind 🙂

    1. It’s a definite words buffet. Words to live by!

  4. There is so much you can say in 6 words. I was amazed by my yoga instructor, about 25 years old and with a degree in physical fitness who could bend like a pretzel. Rebecca told me at the beginning of my first yoga class when I had extreme doubts about my abilities:

    You’re NOT too old for yoga!

    And I wasn’t. In the past 7 months I have gained flexibility I didn’t have when I was half this age (61) and discovered the hidden benefits of yoga (-32 lbs and down 2 dress sizes). Rebecca gave me the encouragement to keep going, to keep pushing myself. She had faith in me and for that I am extremely grateful. And she never dropped the F bomb. (Although I am sure I did under my breath occasionally when I thought I was going to die before the end of class.)

    1. Hemingway had it right, didn’t he?

      Yoga is awesome. It’s sneaky, too, because it’ll fill in the cracks in your life you might not have even realized were there, with all kinds of peace and goodness. The key is faith, though, isn’t it?

      If someone believes in you … I don’t think you can ever stop believing in yourself.

      1. Absolutely you should NEVER stop believing in yourself. And I keep telling myself that with every downward dog. 🙂

  5. Teri says:

    38. “Throw the damn ball you idiot!”

    Toby S., author of Dumbass News blog

    I can’t tell you how much I love this one.

    1. That’s one I could have heard from a coach – if I got in the game that much! Toby’s blog is pretty cool, and I think his icon is the unofficial logo of the oakland raiders fan club.

  6. Natalie says:

    Thanks so much for including me, I would love to take part again, it was so much fun 🙂
    Marigolds’ Loft

  7. This is so great–I love every one of them! Thank you again for including me–it was a lot of fun!

    1. It’s like getting a bag of Halloween candy with no licorice. Glad you added your bit to it!

  8. Love these posts Eli! Thanks for including me! Another nugget of wisdom from my swim coach: Deck changes are essential in winter! Amen! To this day, I can do a deck change anywhere & it’s a skill I intend to teach my daughters! Busy parking lot, no worries. Throw a towel around, do a little shimmy & voila!

    1. Fun, aren’t they? Glad you could get in the game. Don’t they teach a deck-change class to freshmen at Virginia Tech?

      1. They should! I lost count of how many times we had dorm fire drills and poor girls were stuck outside in towels or bathrobes because they were in the shower when the alarm went off!

      2. You don’t suppose there was a freshman male on the other end of that fire alarm, do you?

  9. Love this post and have a few new things to say to my kids on game days. 🙂 Thanks for letting me be a part of it. My jaw dropped a little at the “waste of father’s sperm” one and I loved the “Don’t panic and you will live one.” I plan on using that one today. 🙂

    1. I know, you should impart your wisdom, coach (I’d steer clear of about five or six of these, though. You know which ones I’m talking about).

      Coach Daddy: Where you grow, learn, and sometimes get shocked by something you can’t unsee.

  10. Loved this! Thanks so much for including me (and sticking my response next to #38 which I have to say, might be my favorite).

    1. Glad you stopped by. The word “idiot” has a value we often underestimate. I challenge you to include it in your next post.

  11. Kim says:

    Love these – some are great, some funny, some a little harsh – fun post!!

    1. Ain’t that life? Great, funny, sometimes harsh.

  12. Thanks for letting me be a part of this! Puke and rally, puke and rally had to be my favorite!

    1. You fit right in, Jamie. So long as you don’t employ “puke and rally” in your home decor posts … wait, I think I’d check that out just out of morbid curiosity.

    2. AunieSauce says:

      THANKS JAMIE! That’s the one I submitted!! I experienced that one firsthand while running Robie Creek in 2011, the proclaimed “hardest half marathon in the Northwest.” As I was puking (at mile 4, what an embarrassment… it’s straight uphill!), my old friend ran by me and said it word for word while waving his arms and cheering. So typical. 🙂

      1. I wouldn’t want to be downhill of you.

  13. Court says:

    What a fantastic collection! I might have to refer back to some of these with my older swimmers.

    Thanks so much for including me. Oh. I just realized I owe you an email!

    1. It’s better than a chef’s spice rack. We should print and laminate them for coaches’ use. Thanks for getting in the game!

  14. Imma let you finish your quotes, but number 27 was the best quote of all time! 😉

    1. 27’s strong. Wonder who did that one?

  15. “Puke and rally” will be my motto today! That or “It’s poor sportmanship to throw stuff.” I can’t be reminded of that too often! Love these posts, Eli. Thanks for including me!

    1. AunieSauce says:

      Thanks, Teachable Mom… Puke and rally was mine and it happened back in 2011. I puked during a 1/2 marathon in front of a whole group of runners and a friend ran by while chanting that line to me. He ran by in khakis and a polo, no less (for a half marathon!) and that was motivation in itself to get my act together 🙂

      1. Hope he had a breath mint, too.

    2. I’ve used this at a buffet before. And throwing stuff can be effective, so long as it isn’t puke (probably effective, but a bit unsanitary). Glad you liked, and thanks for playing.

  16. tamaralikecamera says:

    “Raise your elbow, connect with ball.”

    That’s mine. And it worked.

    1. Free throws *and* hitting? You’re kind of like Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders.

  17. Wow.

    There are some really great and insightful coaches out there and a few not so great ones. #9. “You go to first base FIRST!” made me smile the most. A great analogy for life itself.

    Thank you so much for including me and I love Haiku’s.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

    1. The 50/50 chance always gets me – such as running left or right to first base. I was such an awful hitter, it didn’t really come into play often.

      Glad you got into this game!

  18. This is awesome! Thanks for including me, Eli. This one kills me… : )

    36. “You’re a waste of father’s sperm!”

    1. I got to see it develop as submissions came in. Glad you were part of it!

      yes, 36 was one I winced at when I hit submit, but hey … it isn’t always pretty, this coaching business!

  19. I’m so proud of myself. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say anything in only six words. I say loquacious, my husband says I ramble.

    1. It’s an exercise in constraint, for sure. If you keep practicing it, you can pull it off without spraining anything. But you have to stretch. Whether you’re loquacious or rambling.

  20. LOVE THIS!! 6 words were really hard. Thanks for including me. Some of these really had me laughing…
    “You’re a waste of father’s sperm” – yikes. “It’s poor sportsmanship to throw stuff” – I think I’ve seen coaches do that more than kids! 🙂

    1. Six words are tougher than 600. Glad you took part. The art of the coach was definitely exposed in this one. Good, bad and ugly. Some, really ugly.

  21. Reblogged this on a physical perspective and commented:
    Happy Wednesday, fantastic friends!

    Just wanted to reblog this fun/inspirational piece from Eli over at Coach Daddy. He masterfully coordinates these “6 Words” posts, bringing peeps from all over together to dish out 6 words about various subjects.

    Along with yours truly, 50 other bloggers, readers, and strangers dished out 6 words based on the prompt “What’s one thing you learned from a coach?” Being that I grew up dancing, I added these six amazing words from one of my ballet teachers…

    24. “Forget everything, be true, just move.”

    Be sure to check out the rest of these one-liners for some mid-week warm fuzzies (and some good laughs) over at Eli’s place.

    1. Thanks so much Britt! You’re the best.

      1. Sure thing, Eli! Thanks for practicing video Yoga with me. : )

  22. AunieSauce says:

    love it! the wear shorts, distract one… haha!! thanks again for the opportunity to be featured!

    1. Thanks! I believe that is a common practice put into play to distract, too. Brilliant strategy.

  23. Oh, some of these were so hilarious. (The one about throwing stuff come to mind.)
    Thank you so much for including me, Eli!

    1. Had to get our favorite Canadians in here too, you know.

    1. Thanks so much for contributing – and for sharing this! You rock.

  24. Thanks for posting! My favorite is “Puke and rally. Puke and rally.” lol

    1. Vomit’s a hit on this one!

    2. AunieSauce says:

      Thanks Sonya! That makes my day 🙂

      1. You need to sell T-shirts, Aunie.

  25. laurie27wsmith says:

    This one ends in a preposition but who cares. ‘If you want it, do it.’

    1. Luckily, there are no grammar coaches in the house. Good one, mate.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Thanks Eli, I must have missed your mail out again. I have you down for instant email if you post anything. Hmm, I must investigate.

  26. Rorybore says:

    “puke and rally!” that one isawesome — because I totally get it. I’ve pushed myself so hard and so far on the field that literally……. and then you feel better. LOL
    Another great story time in 6 words!

    1. Another one for the puke! I remember basketball tryouts for which trashcans were strategically placed around the perimeter of our final run. I didn’t know why … until I knew why.

      1. AunieSauce says:

        And I thought my puke one would be inappropriate… ha!

      2. I wonder if there’s a puke blog out there who will reblog this.

    2. AunieSauce says:

      Thanks Rorybore! Ha… isn’t it the best feeling? To know you don’t have anything left? I love it!

      1. I once pushed myself so hard I forgot for a moment what I planned to have for dinner afterward.

  27. rarasaur says:

    This is an awesome compilation! I can’t imagine the work that goes into it– but it looks amazing when it’s all done! Thank you for including me. 🙂

    1. It’s hours of tedium and immense concentration, let me tell you. Thanks for being a part of it!

  28. whisperingwriter says:

    Haha, loved these!! Thank you for sharing my response!

    1. It’s a pretty good collection, isn’t it? Not FDA approved, but good, nonetheless.

  29. Letizia says:

    I like how negative some of them are – that really made me laugh! But sometimes we learn our lessons the hard way, right? Number 3 really cracked me up “you’re right, you ARE terrible”. I had a guitar teacher that expressed something similar to me (although in somewhat kinder words).

    I’ve missed reading your wonderful posts in these busy weeks away from my blog reading. I can’t wait to get back to my regular reading of your wise words!

    1. Hey, coaching’s a messy business! And crappy coaches make the rest of us look better by disassociation.

      I can’t imagine telling a player she’s terrible, but I know coaches thought of that when I was on their team. There’s one story I must blog about someday.

      Great to have you back in the fold, Letizia. I can’t imagine you going long without reading. It’d be like me not having pizza for a long spell, say, 36 hours or so.

      Welcome back, and thank you!

      1. Letizia says:

        Speaking of pizza, I had one the other day (first time in months if you can believe it) and it was SO good. Just a plain margarita with some basil. I could have eaten the whole thing by myself in one sitting! (Unfortunately, I had to share – sigh).

        I decided to make it a more frequent occurrence in my life!

      2. I think the Gods eat pizza. And the thing is, they’re for everyone, from the meat-eater who piles on bacon and sausage and pepperoni, to the health-conscious, who layer things like basil and tomatoes.

        Pizza’s the one food I like to share. Just don’t touch my cheeseburger.

        Note: A slice of your favorite pizza pairs nicely with a good book, too.

      3. Letizia says:

        I love your philosophy on pizza!

      4. It’s a way of life, really.

  30. Jen says:

    I loved this! Thanks so much for letting me participate! It was really fun reading all of the responses, especially the ones that rung true 🙂 Great series!

    1. Thanks Jen – for reading and for getting yourself in the game, too. Lots of coaching wisdom in here. I’ll have to get you involved in the next in the series – yes, I’ve already started it!

  31. gina4star says:

    Oh I love it! Thanks for letting me be a part of it! It’s amazing how many different stories are told in six tiny words isn’t it!

  32. ksbeth says:

    i love these. my son in law is a wrestling coach and now my granddaughter’s soccer coach and i know the challenges. and the rewards. thanks for reading and following my words and i look forward to more of yours – beth

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Lindsay – thanks so much for the mention!

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