This season, my fellow coach told me that coaches get just as much out of the Girls on the Run (GOTR) lessons as the girls do. Reflecting on my three years as a junior coach for GOTR, I realized how much the program impacted my journey. It is designed to equip girls with a “GOTR toolbox” full of strategies to help them succeed, and though I was teaching my team these lessons, I was also applying them to myself as I navigated high school.
Year 1: Finding my strengths
I became a junior coach at GOTR Bay Area my sophomore year of high school because I loved the message of the program: to inspire confident girls through running. We did an activity on finding strengths that season and when the girls asked me what my strength was, I surprised myself by saying “running” and not “soccer”. Though I had played soccer for 10 years, being a part of GOTR helped me realize that what I loved most about soccer was running – seeing the joy the 5K inspired in my team made me confident enough to make the choice to lean into that strength and focus on track my sophomore year.
Year 2: Finding my team
My second year of coaching, the girls focused a lot on teamwork. I observed how they became closer every practice as they found shared interests through our warm-up activities. At the end of the season, they were ecstatic for each other when they all completed the 5K.
I was nominated as captain of my sprints team that year, and wanted to emulate the supportive team environment I experienced at GOTR. I organized team-bonding activities and dinners after meets – we became close friends and our girls team won league for the first time in our school's history!
Year 3: Finding my purpose
This fall was my third season coaching and I wanted to get even more involved. I started interning for GOTR Bay Area, promoting the organization through social media because I believe every girl should be introduced to the lessons the GOTR program provides. I also signed with Stanford University to pursue my love for track and field at the collegiate level.
GOTR is such an important organization because it helps girls develop confidence in their unique strengths and find what they are passionate about. GOTR helped me find my strength in running and realize my passion for inspiring the next generation of female athletes, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this outstanding organization.