Coaching Makes the Difference

My son loves two sports – football and track. But he loves football. And he couldn’t wait until he was old enough to play it at school.

His middle school coach was awesome. He encouraged them. Never cussed at the kids. He always coached them up. Encouraged them to win. Alex loved going to every game. And they had a winning season both years.

His high school coach? Not so much.

Last year before one of the games even started, his pep talk was, “We can’t win, but let’s try to get through it.” Really? That attitude causes defeat before they even step out on the field. It got to the point that Alex didn’t even look forward to the games. And they went 1-9. 🙁

They recently had a team meeting where they talked about the schedule for next year, and the coach’s exact words were, “We only have two or three games that we might be able to win.”

Two or three. Out of ten. Alex wasn’t having it. After they wrote the schedule on the board, Alex wrote 10-0 on the top and put a W next to each team.

He wants to win, and he knows attitude makes a difference.

Fast forward to track season. It’s his first year under this high school coach, and he loves it. He loves his philosophy. “We will win. Period.” And he’s coached them like it’s true.


He conditioned them hard. He coached them hard. He ran them hard. He ingrained in them, “You have what it takes. Dig deep. You can win.”

And after watching them last night, I can see that they believe it.

Alex was nervous going into it, running in his first high school meet against guys who were bigger and taller and older. But they won their opening relay, the 4x800m, and that boosted his confidence.

They didn’t do so well in the 4x200m relay, but he didn’t let it discourage him. His favorite race was coming up – the 400m individual run. And he nailed it. He beat all 15 other guys by at least 2 seconds. He ran a 57.4. It was awesome. He still wants to shave 10 seconds off that time before he graduates and beat the school record, and I believe he will. 🙂

After that, he ran anchor in the 4x400m relay. The first leg was strong, we were tied for first, but then the second and third legs lagged, and he was left with about a 100m deficit behind the guy in first.

He looked a little discouraged. And I encouraged him, “You got this. I know you. You can catch him. Dig deep and leave it all on the track.” I knew he was telling himself the same thing, because his coach had been pounding it into them all during training, but I wanted him to hear it out loud.

The 25 members of the other team who lined the fence looked at me like I was crazy, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I believed it or not. He had already run an 800m, a 200m, and a fast 400m. I wasn’t sure how much he had left.

He took off fast, determined to win. He still came in second, but he really closed the gap. He finished only about 25m behind the guy in first place.

Coaching makes a difference. Attitude makes a difference. Who you surround yourself with makes a difference.

Two things:

Don’t be Afraid to Try

God is going to ask you to do things way beyond your ability. Try. Do it anyway. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back.

Don’t look at it and say to yourself, “Well, I probably won’t be able to catch up to the guy in first place, so I’m not evening going to try.”

You may not catch him. You may not get it perfect the first time. But you’ll learn. You’ll grow. You’ll build endurance and gain experience to use in the next race.

Alex may not have won that race, but he beat everyone who didn’t even try by a mile.

So, in the words of Nike, “Just do it.”

Surround Yourself with Cheerleaders

Alex has spent a lot of time in the offseason thinking and praying about whether or not to play football again for this coach next year, especially now that he knows what it’s like to have a coach encourage you. It really was borderline depressing for him by the end of the season.

Take a look around you. If your circle is full of people telling you, “You can’t do that. That won’t work. That’s way too big for you to even try. You can’t win so just try to make it through,” you need to find yourself a new circle.

Who you surround yourself with makes the difference between winning and losing. And when you do fail (or come in second, or third, or last), they’re there to help pick you up and tell you good try and encourage you to do it again.

Alex’s coach wouldn’t have put him in those races if he didn’t think he had the potential to do it. The potential to win.

The One who formed you made you exactly the way you are on purpose, with very specific gifts and skill sets, and then He planted a dream in your heart that’s bigger than you…one you could only fulfill with His help.

He sees your potential. He knows what you’re capable of. He knows you can do it or He wouldn’t have put it in your heart in the first place.

So let me be your cheerleader today.

Do it. Dig deep and leave it all on the track. You’ve got this.

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. (Philippians 4:13 AMP)

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