The Disabilities Allies Coaches Advocacy Group distributes a quarterly newsletter to keep its members up to date on news, deadlines and other association happenings. The newsletter also serves to let members know what the group is working on, highlighting group members and information on how you can get involved. Below is a letter from group chair Kate Ward. To read the full newsletter, click here.

To our Coaching Community,

One of my favorite parts of this coaching network is how often it presents the opportunity to be a leader, learn from other leaders, and to build future leaders. In hard and unprecedented times, leaders rise. 2020 has been the definition of hard and unprecedented. In a year of many, many twists and turns and unknowns, it has taught many lessons about patience and gratitude and how to roll with the punches. And, it sure does seem like 2020 has been packed with punches (and that it may have more to come).

As coaches, many of us are asking, how do we lead in a time like this? How do we lead our players and communities in a time when we are uncertain about the future of our own seasons, our own jobs, our own families? Leadership takes courage. Wait, scratch that. Leadership takes an incredibly understated and often unrecognized amount of courage. I heard this quote while listening to the Brene Brown’s new podcast “Dare to Lead” (highly recommend!) and wanted to share its perfection – “courage is actually less about who people are and more about how they behave and show up in difficult situations.” As coaches, we are asked to show up for others in any and every situation. We must roll with the punches – no day, no practice, no game, no player is ever the same. No year, as 2020 has so aptly demonstrated, is ever the same.

Yet, we still have shown up. In 2020, we have risen to the occasion time and again. We learned how to plan sessions and meetings on Zoom and in socially distanced settings. We have been on conference call after conference call with our organizations and administrations as they teach us return to play policies (and yes, these policies do seem to change by the hour). We’ve focused on being there for our players as they’ve struggled mentally and physically through a time that is mentally and physically trying for us, too.

It’s okay to admit that its been a difficult year for us all. Coaches are humans (whether our teams believe it or not) and we have been and will continue to grit our teeth and grind through the ups and downs of this pandemic. The good news – we are in this together.

Thank you each for your leadership and courage in this rollercoaster of a year. Keep rising!

Kate Ward