Nurse’s Side Gig: Youth Track Coach

Nurse’s Side Gig: Youth Track Coach

If you’re a nurse who has ever thought about having a side gig but can’t think of what you’d want to do, consider your hobbies and passions—both now and from the past. You might find that the idea for your side gig was there all along.

Lauren Goston, RN, Froedtert Hospital through CareRev , has a side gig as a Youth Track Coach. She spoke with Daily Nurse about how she got into it, why she enjoys it, and what you can do if this sounds like a side gig that would appeal to you.

How did you get into being a youth track coach? How long have you been doing it? Why did you decide to get into it?

I got into coaching track and field when my two oldest kids wanted to run track in middle school. So we joined a club team called the Milwaukee Mustangs. I ran track in high school and college but had just thought about coaching when a coach approached me and asked me to help about eight years ago.

I love coaching our Mustang athletes. I love contributing to the community and youth sports.

Please explain to me briefly what you do as a youth track coach. What ages do you coach? Boys or girls? Did you have to get additional training/education to do it? Did you run track yourself?

I ran the 100- and 200-meter dash in high school and college. Our club offers track programming for kids ages 6 to 18 years old. I primarily coach the 6 to 11-year-old kids—both boys and girls—but we will rotate coaches, so sometimes I work with our high school athletes.

I have my USA Track and Field Level One certification, for which I studied and tested. We have speed clinics that we have available to us, which is extra training after we get certified.

There is a big track and field culture, and a critical piece of that is an ongoing emphasis on education. As a result, kids are faster than ever, and we use more dynamic workouts to build speed and endurance safely.

Coaching has helped make me a better nurse, and nursing has made me a better coach. Nursing is physically demanding, and you have to multitask–both of which are true for coaching. Both give you a keen awareness of the need to meet the person you are working with–a patient or an athlete–where they are and help get them to where they need to be.

Why do you like coaching track? What do you enjoy most about it?

Coaching track and field is very, very rewarding. The parents and kids are just so thankful for the opportunity to participate in such a positive program. You can connect with the kids and be a sounding board for things happening in their lives.

There is a big track and field culture, and a critical piece of that is an ongoing emphasis on education. As a result, kids are faster than ever, and we use more dynamic workouts to build speed and endurance safely.

And track is really concrete. When you play a basketball game with your team, you can celebrate with your team if you win. We come to the track meets as a team for track and field, but when you run your race, you are really on your own. You can set goals and limits as an individual. Track teaches these kids that they can set high goals for themselves and achieve them.

I love having the opportunity to impact youth positively in our city. We need that more than anything else right now.

What are your biggest challenges as a coach? What are your most significant rewards as one?

One of the biggest challenges is that sometimes the number of athletes participating is so high. The need for more coaches is clear.

The rewards are seeing the smiles on my athletes’ and their parents’ faces when they have accomplished a goal they worked hard toward all season. It’s rewarding knowing I have made a difference in their lives.

If someone wanted to get into the type of side gig you’re doing, what steps would you tell them to take?

First, make sure it is something you want to do. We are volunteers in this, and it takes a lot of dedication. The reward is how accomplished your athletes are, not a monetary reward. You have to have a passion for the sport and some athletic knowledge, but there is training for the intricacies of track and field.

Depending on the season, I coach 8 to 12 hours a week, so I appreciate that I was able, through CareRev, to find a way to nurse full-time but with a more flexible schedule. CareRev’s platform allows me to schedule my shifts to be fully available to my patients and for my coaching side gig. As a result, I work when I want, where I want locally, which is how I can coach.

Is there anything I haven’t asked you about that is important for our readers to know?

The need for coaches in youth sports is more than ever right now. There has been significant growth in track and field since the last Olympics, and sport is growing faster than we can provide coaches..