Guittard steps into the coaching spotlight
Coaches – we love some of them and hate others. They are our mentors, motivators, teachers, and sometimes, our worst enemies. No matter how you feel about them, you cannot deny the impact of coaches on America’s youth.
There are many opportunities to get involved locally in youth coaching, including the Shelton Biddy Basketball League and the Shelton Flag Football League (SFFL). Brandon Guittard, a Shelton High School (SHS) senior, is a coach – and now he has his own football team.
Guittard is heavily involved in the SFFL, playing for the SFFL’s Dolphins for seven years at all levels of the league, including JJV, JV, and Varsity. Playing mainly wide receiver and linebacker, he understands both sides of the ball.
After 8th grade, Guittard was too old to play in the league, but wanted to continue playing the sport he loved. He joined the Shelton High School freshman football team, and had a solid year. Although the Shelton High team had a lot of depth at his favorite position, wide receiver, he focused on defense and became a starting linebacker for the team.
He came back to spring football sophomore year with high expectations, but injuries derailed his football career. He broke his wrist during spring football, and combined with a history of multiple concussions, he decided to call it quits.
Disappointed at having the game he had been a part of his whole life abruptly taken away, he looked for something to fill the void in his life, and found it in the form of the Shelton Flag Football League.
He wanted to give back to the league that had given him so much. An assistant coach with his former team, the Dolphins his freshman year, he took on an expanded role the next year, using the free time he had after he quit playing football. He has coached for four years and at all levels of the Dolphins. This, his senior year, though, he wanted to have his own team, something he never had before.
After a debate with the league regarding his age, he was allowed to become a head coach for the team, Nebraska. It was challenging since he had been used to coaching 8-13 year olds and now had to coach 4-5 year olds, according to Guittard.
He overcame the challenge by using his own previous coaching skills while learning from his older and more experienced assistant coaches. Guittard stressed the importance of teaching kids the basics, as they are young and their coaches must provide a foundation for them that they can build off of as they get older. He said he especially enjoys helping children learn the game and valuable life lessons.
Although his Nebraska team went winless during the regular season, Guittard said he cherished the experience and had fun working with the kids.
“I get the satisfaction that the kids are learning and enjoying the game that I share a passion for,” he said. “It is a fun way for me to stay involved in the league, as it has given me so much.”
The SHS senior has balanced school with the demands of coaching and dealing with parents as well as young children, but now faces his next challenge: college. He plans to carry the lessons he has learned from coaching into college, and use them to succeed in anything he pursues. He even wants to pursue a major in the sports field because of his involvement in the league. He has done everything from work the grill on game days to playing himself, and coaching, so leaving the league he has been involved in his whole life will be difficult, he said.
The league is not the only thing Guittard will have to say goodbye to when he goes off to college; his father, James Guittard, is a head coach in the league for the Dolphins, and coaching has helped to bring them closer together, his son said, as well as to develop a lifelong passion for the game of football.
His father was the person who got Brandon interested in football at a young age, he said, before Brandon was offered the opportunity to become a coach and follow in the footsteps of his father.
Coaching is a family matter for them, and although leaving will not be easy, Guittard believes he can look back on his time in the league with satisfaction and possibly make a return to the league one day.
Billy Simics is a junior at Shelton High School