The Simple phrase, “Thanks Coach…” instantly causes me, as I’m sure it does many of you, to think of the move COOL RUNNINGS. The story of a bobsleigh team from Jamaica that qualifies and competes in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary. It an inspiring story and one that helps us to see that when working together the things that many would deem impossible or perhaps even laugh at us for thinking we could accomplish (like the Police Officers in one of the early scenes from the movie when the team crashes their makeshift sled into their cruiser) can be achieved.
Anyone who as ever had a “good Coach” knows that they can make a difference. While working here at the Olympics I have seen first hand the value and importance of coaching. Many athletes have a specific, personal or favorite coach who they will sit with before and after their competition or event has taken place. The coach will go over each turn, twist, start, stride, pass, corner, shot and finish with their athlete and point out the things that they have done well and the areas that require their attention or improvement. The Coach celebrates their victories with their athlete and aches along with them in their defeats. In both instances he or she is accessible and is usually the first one that the athlete is looking for after a run, race, or jump hoping for a smile or applause of approval.
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
PSALM 23:1-6 (NIV)
If you have ever had maybe a coach that didn’t care or through his or her actions, punctuality, tone and lack of passion communicated that they really didn’t enjoy what they were doing you know first hand how that can negatively affect a team. I was fortunate enough growing up to have several fantastic coaches and when I think about the teams that I played on and their success I can see how it was directly connected to the One who standing on or behind the bench. Nothing feels better then a good shift on the ice where you were somehow able to contribute to the overall success of your team and you receive the approval of your teammates and a quick tap on the top of the helmet or pat on the back from your Coach. You see it’s at times like this where words aren’t even required but they usually do come as the one who is simply referred to as “Coach” then takes the opportunity to edify and encourage you and your line mates for a job well done.
We all need coaches in our lives. For myself being a young man in ministry I am very thankful for the coaches that I have had to date and the coaches that are helping me now. Most coaches, not all, come with experience. Many say that a player or past athlete goes on to make the best coach as they are able to relate in a unique and special way. What happens is that the athlete gets to benefit from the past mistakes that their Coach has possibly made. The Coach can relate and are able to draw from past situations and times where they have been tested, challenged, distracted, frustrated or hurt and can then help by sharing from the good and bad decisions they made in dealing with each circumstance and situation.
I think that if the athlete, uprising star, child prodigy, or youth pastor is truly serious about what it is they are setting out to do THEY will seek out a Coach. By seeking out a Coach or mentor is not communicating weakness or that you aren’t capable of teaching yourself to become better but rather that you are committed and have a keen desire to become the best you can possibly be. Now it is important to remember that great Coaching doesn’t come cheap so there could be a cost involved beyond the financial. A Coach doesn’t want to waste his time and if you have sought him out he will assume you are serious about what it is you are taking on. Prepare to be challenged, tested and pushed to your maximum, but also praised in the process!
If you want to be your best and continue to become better you need to have and be looking for Coaches (or mentors) that will help train you. Those who you perhaps feel should or that with their position it is their responsability to pour into you, coach and train you might not, and thus leave you feeling disapointed and frustrated. Therefore, don’t be afraid to seek it out and search for the best Coach that will bring the best out of you! And like Sanka don’t forget to thank him for the times where he or she has been there to lend a helping hand or word of encouragement.
RESPECT – To my coaches in life…