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5 Common Misconceptions About Being a GOTR Coach 

Oh, the joy of being a Girls on the Run volunteer coach…where do we even begin? 

Maybe with the incredible experience of creating positive core memories in a young person’s life? Or perhaps making a difference in your community and utilizing your free time to make the world a better, more inclusive place? 

Coaches sign up for unique reasons, but the common denominator is this: coaches believe that within every girl is a confident leader, just waiting to be let out and make her mark on the world. As coaches, it is our duty to inspire confidence in our girls and assure them that their dreams are valid and worth pursuing.  

Empowering young people transforms your perspective and reinvigorates your spirit. And at Girls on the Run, coaches experience just as much joy as the participants. The more inspired coaches are, the more comfortable girls feel to engage and be themselves. Prior to signing up, many people have questions about what it means to be a GOTR coach, especially in contrast to other volunteer roles. GOTR coaching is a one-of-a-kind opportunity – one that is invigorating, inspiring and transformative. Are you considering getting involved this year? Read through this list of common misconceptions people often have about being a volunteer coach. You will see there is an opportunity for people of all life experiences and skillsets to help create tomorrow’s leaders!  

Misconception 1: You need to be a runner/athlete to be a coach 

No, no, no! Just because ‘run’ is in our name does not mean you have to be an athlete to lead a team. We welcome coaches of all paces and abilities to guide our girls. As long as you are kind, patient, and committed, you are fit to lead the way (plus all coaches receive training – we have your back)! It is important that girls see themselves in their leaders, so we take great pride in celebrating our coaches for what makes them unique. And do not forget, the Girls on the Run mission goes far beyond running. Unlike some youth sports settings, GOTR is a program that intentionally focuses on life skill development, the importance of building healthy relationships and creating a place of inclusion.  

Misconception 2: You have to create your own curriculum 

Are you wondering if you are responsible for creating the girls’ activities? Have no fear! We will provide you with a curriculum that includes a lesson plan for each practice. That is just one of the perks of being a Girls on the Run volunteer coach – you receive ongoing council guidance and resources and from start the finish. Throughout each season and the 5K, councils offer support to coaches and answer any questions. Training sessions are also provided to every participating coach. Our thorough training sessions ensure that every coach is confident and prepared to be a great leader, establish safe spaces and launch a successful season.  

Misconception 3: You cannot work a full-time job while coaching 

Girls on the Run recognizes the importance of a well-balanced life. In fact, we encourage self-care throughout our girls’ curriculum! We understand that volunteering is a generous side opportunity and are dedicated to ensuring that every coach has a wonderful, life-enriching experience. Our councils assign multiple coaches to each team so that every girl (and coach) has the back-up they need to have a successful practice. And upon signing up, coaches work with their local councils to identify a schedule and location that is closest to your home and most suitable for your lifestyle.  

Misconception 4: You have to travel far and wide to coach a team 

Girls on the Run is constantly growing! (Did you know we expanded into Canada last year!?) Every council has a variety of different sites that host the program, so there is often a wide selection of options for coaches to choose from. Sites frequently include schools, non-profits, parks, YMCA’s and more. As mentioned in the previous point, the program coordinator at your council will help identify which option is most convenient for you. Girls on the Run aims to reach girls from all communities, so we strategically reach out to sites throughout an entire region. If you have the capacity to serve as a program site and help us reach more girls, connect with a council near you! 

Misconception 5: You have to have volunteer experience 

When it comes to coaching at GOTR, we prioritize passion! Next to safety, having a passionate spirit is the number one most important quality a coach can bring to our program. All coaches must pass background checks and participate in trainings, but we require no formal volunteer experience. We encourage anyone who is eager to support future changemakers, enrich their own well-being and have fun with other kind co-coaches to get involved. Practices include group discussions, movement-based games, cheers, reflections and team building activities. Sound like an enjoyable time? Join the GOTR family and begin transforming lives with us this season! 

Find a local council near you to learn more about becoming a coach!