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.

Written by Rhyan Harrison.

Rhyan is a senior studying pre-seminary studies at
Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. He leads Young Life
and coaches both varsity football and track at York High School in Yorktown,

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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