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Coaches Have a Bigger Role
I am talking to all coaches from all sports in this short blog. Yes, we have an obligation to coach the athletes in their chosen sport, but we have a much more important obligation that is often forgotten. There have been multiple coaches in my life, but there are two that stick out. There are two that changed my life. All coaches have an opportunity to change the lives of their athletes. Will you seize that opportunity?
When I was in 9th grade, I was going through a terrible time in my life. I had a major chip on my shoulder. I was getting in fights and getting in trouble. It was a major defining moment in my life, and it was a coach that helped guide me in the right direction.
Coach John Rinka pulled me into his office, and he gave me the speech of a lifetime. He was my basketball coach, and he told me that he expected me to be a starter. However, my attitude was so bad that I was just a young punk. He told me that I could be a great athlete if I would shake the chip off my shoulder.
Up to that point, no one had ever believed in me as an athlete. I had no idea that I could be a good athlete. I was just happy to be on the team. That was the first time that I decided to be more than just “good”. My focus shifted at that point from just trying to have a good time to being a great athlete.
This one guy gave me the confidence to change. He put a focus in me that altered my path. Who knows what would have happened without him? Would I have skipped college? Would I have gotten in major trouble? Maybe, but thanks to Coach Rinka, I will never know.
Later, Coach Mark Kerr would start to guide me even more. He was my high school football coach. He would take me fishing. Looking back, it was his way of getting me alone, so he could impact my life. He too believed in my abilities as an athlete, and he helped to keep me focused on God, school, and athletics. Even though I didn’t come to know God at the time, Coach Kerr was planting a seed that would sprout later in my life.
These two coaches helped to focus my life. I studied hard, and I trained hard. I was focused on using athletics to propel my life. It worked. Now I get to do the same thing. I love my team, and I am proud to coach some of the best athletes in America. However, my main purpose is to help change the lives of these young men and women for the better.
There are so many life lessons that athletics can help teach. It is our job as coaches to use athletics to change our athlete’s lives for the better. I want their lives to be better after the sport is over. Think of the lessons to be taught:
• Goal setting
• Overcoming adversity
These are just a few. These same qualities can make your athletes better people. The same qualities will help them excel in their profession, and the same qualities will make them better parents, husbands, and wives. Coaches are more than just sport coaches. We are life coaches.
I also hope that my athletes will come to know God. Hopefully they will see something different in my life possibly from the way that I love them, or the way that I love my own family. I pray this will give me the opportunity to share my story with them. Either way, they will have an example of someone that loved them. Either way, they will have an example of a man that loves his family.
I am not sure what inspired this blog, but I woke up with this message. I hope that all of you coaches will take this to heart. You don’t have to agree with my programming or coaching abilities, but I hope that all of us will recognize the big opportunity before us. We have the chance to affect lives. Don’t blow that chance. Seize the day to change someone’s life forever. Do that today!