Coach, what you do is hard.
Your calling to coach is a tremendous opportunity. You are helping to develop athletes both on and off the arena or court. You are instilling life lessons. You even have the potential to develop lifelong relationships.
But coaching can come with a price. Coaching in today’s sporting world brings unique and heavy challenges. There are relationships to manage: other coaches, players, support staff, administration, and parents. Within each of those relationships is added pressure as well.
Running practice well is essential. What does the team need to work on? What new plays could utilize the certain players’ skills? Then comes gameday to see if it all pays off. That leads to the stress of success. How is the team doing compared to what was predicted in preseason? Will they compete in the post-season? It is challenging to deal with your own idea of success, let alone the expectations of others. Administration wants you to win; parents want their kid to play and vie for a scholarship.
If you are a coach who recruits players to join your program, logistics like expenses and time are consuming. Then you need to make an ongoing case for that player to commit. It’s exhausting!
If you are in Christ, however, the most powerful person is already on your team. He is the One who gives us strength to do what He’s called us to and the grace to forgive us when we drop the ball. He’s the One who already knows the outcome and the best strategies to make the best impact for the good of your team and glory of God.
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)
How can you take heart in the middle of all your coaching demands? Here are five things that can help you handle the pressure:
Remember John 16:33
Jesus says three important things in this verse. First, He acknowledges that struggles will come, but He says to have courage. Don’t let the anxiety of dealing with struggles wear you out; He gives peace to those who trust in Him. As you give Him the strains of recruiting and that rough meeting with the athletic director, rest in His assurance that He has it all in control. Peace is available because your Savior has overcome the world.
2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness.” Scripture teaches us where we have missed the mark, how to correct it
, and how to pursue righteousness. God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105) and gives us wisdom in handling difficult situations. Often, when the season gets busy, Bible reading can be the first thing to go to make room for all that needs to get done. Don’t fall into that trap; it only leads you away from Him.
We can take what we read in our Bibles and apply it to our conversations with God. We can remind ourselves that He is God (Psalm 46:10), and that we will soar on wings like eagles if we trust in Him (Isaiah 40:31). We can ask Him for those new mercies each morning that He promises us (Lamentations 3:22-23). Remember that Jesus, the Son of God Himself, was a praying man. If He made time and effort to talk with His Father, how much more will this help us prep for whatever comes our way?
Ecclesiastes 4:12b says, “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” Finding people who understand your struggles and who you can confide in may help make them easier to manage. Other coaches know the coaching lifestyle and can help you carry those heavy loads (Galatians 6:2). If you don’t know of any coaches in your area, seek out a pastor or your local FCA staff to help you connect.
Coaching is an investment in others. You may be coaching people who will be doctors, police officers or parents in the future. There are lessons to be learned through sports that are applicable for life. While this idea might not make the burden lighter, it will make the burden worth it.
“For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2b)
Was dying on the cross easy? No. But Jesus did it because, to Him, the joy of redeeming us was worth the pain. He knew what was in store on the other side of the cross and made it His ambition to endure and give us a way to be with God forever.
Coach, what you do is hard.
But what you do is important. Protect your time with God in prayer and study. Find others with whom you can share burdens. Rest in His peace. Remember, He has overcome the world! Bring Him into your coaching, late nights and early mornings, the highs and lows of wins and losses, and all your relationships. He promises to ease the burden and give you a new way of living and coaching with Him.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
Coaching is hard. But with Christ, it’s worth it.