Everyday Hero: Volunteer coach looks to teach athletes
NATCHEZ — Charlotte Beard grew up playing every sport available to young girls, and now she is utilizing what she learned to help teach hundreds of children.
Beard has been a volunteer coach for basketball, softball and football for 24 years, because she wants children to have the same great experiences she had.
“I guess I wanted my children to play sports because it’s fun and it keeps you in shape,” Beard said. “I want to teach them the right way (to play).”
Beard said she started to coach because it was too hard to watch from the stands.
“I can’t stand in the stands and keep my mouth shut,” she joked. “It’s just the joy (the children) get from playing. You can see it in their face when they win or score a basket. To see them succeed gives me joy.”
Beard has always coached children under the age of 10, and she said she has learned how to handle teaching such a young group.
“I’ve gotten a lot more patient,” Beard said. “I’m loud, but I’m patient. I just want them to always get better. That’s what’s most important: getting better. I like to win like the rest of them, but it’s about getting better at the things you know needs improvement.”
Beard admits she is learning to get better in her coaching methods.
“I don’t know everything, but I learn as I go, as well,” she said,
Beard has conquered the art of coaching slow-pitch softball and football, sports loves, but never played.
“When I grew up, we had fast-pitch softball, so I had to learn the differences of the game,” she said.
Beard only coached Miss-Lou Youth Football once in 2011, and that team placed first in its division.
Freddie Mango, 13, played on Bear’s football team in 2011, and he remembers being excited to have a female coach.
“I was thinking about how the year would be and she was a really awesome coach and she helped us win a lot of games,” Mango said. “She did a lot for our team and myself.”
Mango said Beard helped him become a respectful young man, and also gave him a day he would never forget.
Beard took Mango to his first LSU football game.
“That was really exciting,” he said. “I really liked it and I enjoyed having spent that time with her and her family. They let me stay with them that night, and I’ve been a friend of the family since.”
Mango, now a seventh grade multi-sport athlete at Delta Charter School, said Beard is the reason he is excelling in athletics.
Now, Beard is focused on coaching her 8 and under girls and boys Youth Basketball Association teams with her daughter, Tali, as an assistant coach.
“I want to be some small part of them that makes them a better person,” Beard said. “Whether on or off the court or field. I want them to learn how to overcome failure such as errors and losses, and learn that you can’t control others such as referees and umpires.”