Coaching as Contact Work

Rhyan Harrison March 3, 2020

Have you ever considered coaching a sport at the school
where you lead Young Life? We asked Rhyan Harrison to share some thoughts
about his experience.

Coaching is my main way of doing contact work and by far my favorite. Before I got into coaching, I knew about four kids, just from when they came to club and I met a couple in the hallways. As soon as I started coaching, everything changed. I started recognizing WAY more kids, so many more of them knew who I was and what I was all about. Now, I know probably at least sixty kids, and of course, I’m still working on building relationships with them. From coaching, I’ve gotten the opportunity to get close with a lot of guys, but five guys in particular who I didn’t even know before I was a football coach. Now, these guys are my key corps of dudes, meaning they are at every club, every Campaigners, and I even get to do a Bible study with them weekly. Our club has also had a lot more guys at it every week too. We’re actually averaging just as many guys as girls right now, and the guys that come are starting to bring their friends.

Also, I had the opportunity to take four guys to camp last summer, which is huge for us, since we only had one guy the year before and all four guys met Jesus at Rockbridge!

Coaching has a lot of really big pros, like meeting kids, having full access to the school, and a paycheck is nice too. However, there are some negative things. For one, it takes a lot of time out of my day since I’m a full-time student and coach. I have to build my class schedule around being able to be at the high school in the afternoons. I’ve also found that it makes it a little harder to get close to kids that don’t play sports, since they seem to think that I only get close to athletes (which is obviously not the case!) Lucky for me, my teammate, Casey, is fantastic and is able to relate to those kids a bit better than me and he’s able to love those kids like Christ does. All in all, the pros of getting such direct access to so many kids all at the same time every single day is so awesome and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

We asked on Instagram about the pros and cons that you’ve experienced with
coaching as a Young Life leader and we’ve put together a list below of your


  • You get to spend a ton of time with the students you coach.
  • You get to be with students during their highs and lows.
  • It makes contact work easy.
  • Have access to the school and information happening at the school.
  • You are able to build deeper relationships with students and their parents.
  • A good way to earn the right to be heard by students.
  • Create deep relationships with the students you coach.


  • You only meet and spend time with a specific group of kids.
  • Can be very time-consuming.
  • The frustrations and stresses that come with being a coach.
  • Games and practices can conflict with club or campaigners.
  • Lines can get blurred between adult friend and coach.
  • Depending on your relationship with the school, you may have to be careful in promoting Young Life.
  • It can be difficult to meet students, other than those on your team.

If you’re a coach and have helpful thoughts to add,
please share with us here and we’ll add them to the post!

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