The Daily Aztec

Coaching Corps trains through athletics and inspiration

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Coaching Corps members table at the University of California Berkeley for a team captain retreat last year.

Coaching Corps members table at the University of California Berkeley for a team captain retreat last year.

Courtesy of Emily Barnes

Courtesy of Emily Barnes

Coaching Corps members table at the University of California Berkeley for a team captain retreat last year.

by Stacy Marquez, Contributer

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A year ago, marketing freshman Zara Wehrung encountered a flyer posted in her residence hall inviting students to join an organization —Coaching Corps— and become coaches for afterschool programs.

Given her background in soccer and volleyball, and a lingering curiosity to coach a sports team, she signed up.

Coaching Corps is a non-profit organization that recruits, trains and supports community members to use sport as a way to teach children life lessons. In addition to using sport, their goal is to also inspire young athletes to reach their fullest potential.

Today, Wehrung is a head coach for soccer teams with players ages 10 to 12, and said she has found an organization where she feels welcome.

“Every person in the organization has been so nice and genuine, that’s what makes it great,” Wehrung said. “They care about what they’re doing.”

Through Coaching Corps,  participants don’t just learn how to dribble a ball, but they also learn perseverance and teamwork.

One of their main goals is to close the sports gap.

Marketing and communications manager for Coaching Corps, Michael Rohn, refers to the sports gap as the difference in resources and funding lower income communities receive compared to more affluent communities.

In 2010, Coaching Corps began recruiting on college campuses for energetic and dedicated volunteers. In San Diego, the University of San Diego and San Diego State were their pilot campuses, with SDSU becoming their flagship campus.

Emily Barnes, regional manager for Coaching Corps, said SDSU stuck as their flagship campus because there is an athletic-minded community. She said many programs and students at SDSU were interested in community involvement.

Volunteering with Coaching Corps is not a heavy commitment. With roughly two hours a week committed to volunteering, Rohn and Barnes said it reaps the benefits.

They recall conversations they have had with student volunteers who express their gratitude to the organization.

“The students get just as much from the program as the kids do,” Rohn said.

Wehrung said she wants the children to know she cares about them and is there to support them. Coaching Corps is adamant about positive reinforcement and encouragement in their coaching methods.

Because of this coaching method, Rohn said the children involved are more confident, engaged and play better while partaking in the afterschool programs.

Wehrung believes this organization attracts an amazing group of people.

“I am part of the leadership team, and they are all just so warm and welcoming,” she said.

To get involved, applications are found online through the Coaching Corps website. Online trainings lasts 90 minutes to two hours and teach volunteers how to run a practice, deal with behavior issues and organize group activities.

When volunteers are done with training, they are given a map where volunteers select which sports they want and the map shows their options. Coaching Corps has more than 250 programs nationwide, so if someone wanted to coach outside of San Diego there are plenty of opportunities.

Applications to volunteer for the fall season are online now, and teams will begin in October.

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