After my second year coaching, I vividly remember sitting myself down to find the answer to this question. Why do I coach? I couldn’t easily answer that question at the time, nor had I put much thought into it. The simple answer was that I loved softball and I loved to teach, but I needed a deeper reason. I was at a crossroad of sorts, in that I recognized I had a path to choose. I could either view my players as a means to a professional end or I could view them as young women who needed someone to see more in them than they could in themselves. I could coach simply for where it would get me or I could coach for something more important.
I decided that God had given me coaching as a means for me to make a difference in His world.
With every year that passes, I recognize the great need and the great opportunity I have to make a lasting impact upon another person. I still believe that God put me on this path to bring light. The world of sports is vibrant, exciting, challenging, and uplifting. Athletes learn discipline, hard work, and the thrill of overcoming what they thought impossible. There is so much good in this world! Yet, I see the dark side of this world, too. I see the lies Satan tells. I see the celebration of self over all. I watch as athletes buy into the lie that in order to be strong and independent, they cannot cry or that acknowledging weakness is embarrassing. They crave confidence. They crave assurance. But the world of competition never offers these things, at least not in a lasting way. I watch and hope they ask, so I can help set the record straight. I wait until they are ready to know a better way.
As someone with a degree centered around sport psychology, I am all about trusting the process. I had to choose the process. I had to trust that coaching the whole person would produce better results than only coaching the athlete.
In the process of finding my “why,” I realized that I could not claim Christ but coach for me. If He is everything, I had to let Him have everything. I could not coach as if the most important thing is winning, especially if it’s not.
So I coach process, and hope that I can teach my girls that the process, their mindset, and their perspective can change their outcome.
The older I get, the more I learn about myself and others. I have learned about fear and desire. I have learned about joy and disappointment. I have learned that we all have gifts inside of us that are meant to be used for the good of the kingdom of God.
I have learned that Christ will shine out of me when I use my gift for Him. I have realized we all truly want a purpose, to be part of something bigger than ourselves: a team. I get to be on God’s team. I live out a metaphor of life every day at work.
Every part of the game mirrors real life. I get to teach that to my players. I get the chance to help them develop skills that will impact their lives forever. I coach for that. I coach because I have an automatic platform, and God gave me the gift of teaching. So, I teach. Birds fly. Teachers teach. I bring my talents to Him, and He is teaching me to use them.
I have the chance to make a difference, maybe small, maybe big, but I have the chance. Isn’t a chance all we really want?
And when I get a little lost in the haze, I remember this: “We were made to respond to inspiration. Everybody wears an unseen sign that reads, “Inspire me.” Remind me that my life matters. Call me to be my best self. Appeal to whatever in me is most noble and honorable. Don’t let me go down the path of least resistance.” –John Ortberg