History shows us that the best coaches are the ones that invest in their players. That’s why names like John Wooden, Pat Summitt, Herb Brooks, and Tony Dungy are some of the first to come to mind when I think of a successful coach. These legends of the coaching world cared deeply about their players, believed in them, and ultimately created success stories.
Do you believe that as a Christian coach you have a deeper call for your team than winning or losing? At Sports Reach, we believe that coaches have the unique opportunity to change the trajectory of a player’s life, simply by their influence. That’s why we believe in developing the entire athlete – mind, body and soul.
But how do you do that?
Here are some simple ways to begin coaching your team in more than just sports:
Establish trust with your players by building one on one relationships with each individual player. Ask about home life, grades and friends. Allow them to confide in you one-on-one if they need to. Be available for more conversation than simply Xs and Os. The more your players begin to trust you, the more influence you will have in their life- off of the field or court.
Be the example. There are so many children, teens, and even college-age adults that are looking for a role model. You may be the only Christian adult your players know. Show them an example of Christ (1 Peter 2:21). That doesn’t mean perfection, but it does mean showing love and humility, and even showing what repentance looks like when you do miss the mark.
Pray for your athletes. Luke says in Acts 20:28, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” As a coach, you are an “overseer” of your team. Pray for them, and ask God to give you wisdom to lead them.
Display the gospel in small ways. The gospel can be displayed in ways as simple as stopping to pray before meals on the road. Thanking your bus driver. Inviting your team to an event coming up at your church. Being kind and patient when you are angry and frustrated. Display the gospel in small ways and it can make a big difference.
As a coach, you are more than just a face your athletes see for a couple hours every day. If you’ll take the opportunity, you can be a shepherd. Show them you care, push them to be their best, and praise their success – keeping Christ at the center. You will plant seeds in your players that last far beyond the years they spend competing in athletics.
That’s a real winning season.
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