Guest post by Scott Tyson
“It’s the hard that makes it great.” (Jimmy Dugan, A League of Their Own)
Coaching at any level and in any sport is challenging. If it was easy, sports outreach ministry leaders would not be scrambling two days before practices officially begin to fill the 8-10 vacant coaching spots (at least that has been my experience at times in the past). If it was easy, it wouldn’t produce much of a reward. I often hear the following at the end of a 12-week season (coach comes up close and starts to whisper in an apologetic tone), “Scott, I think I got more out of this than the kids.”
I know you are not coaching out of selfish reasons. I know you are not trying live vicariously through your kids by being their coach (or are you?). I’m confident your motives are pure. The “organizer” of the league called and ask for help. Your primary goal is to help fulfill a need and spend some extra time with your children doing something that is fun (better than working in the nursery or leading a Bible study). Some of you may even be attempting to actually have a real impact on one or more of the families. Bottom line – you signed up to coach for the right reasons.
But, who wouldn’t want to feel the way many coaches feel at the end? If you truly understand the mission and vision… if you put in the extra effort… if you view your role as “more than just a coach”… you will be rewarded. You will benefit in ways you never imagined. Many of you already know what I’m talking about. Many of you have experienced it for yourselves. You also know that coaching is not easy. It takes planning and preparation. It takes patience. It takes time. It takes you out of your comfort zone if you are all “in”. Just like our opponents during competition, it takes us to a whole new level we never thought possible (or even thought about). I’ve taken hundreds of swings during softball batting practice and have yet to hit a homerun over the fence. However, during games, I’ve hit more than one (4 — but who is counting) – and yes all came on the same field as batting practice. I even hit homeruns in back-to-back games once. Why? Because competition raises my game to a whole new level.
Coaches have a unique ability to reach players when no one else can. My hope is that you take your role as a coach seriously. That you look at yourself as more than just a coach. That you understand the opportunity you have to impact someone’s life on an eternal level. What could be more rewarding than that? Avoid trying to ease your way through coaching. Make it “hard.” In the end, your efforts will be rewarded.