Saturday, March 15, 2008


Attitude is everything! We have all heard this phrase on more than one occasion in our lifetime. Early on in life I heard it from my parents and my teachers. When I entered the business world many years ago I heard the phrase or some form of it at virtually every sales or motivational seminar that I attended (and there were many). I heard it so often that I became numb to the phrase and ignored the message.

As I have matured, I have come to realize the power of that message that we have heard time and again. Not only is our attitude something that will have a tremendous impact on the life that we live, it is one of the few things in life that we have full and complete control over. We have the ability to wake up every morning and decide what kind of attitude we will carry with us on any particular day. Good, bad or indifferent, the choice is all our own. It has been said that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

As coaches, I feel that it is our duty and responsibility to teach strong character traits. Having a positive attitude toward things in life is one of the things that when instilled in a young person will make a lasting difference in their lives. Not only in their athletic performance, but more importantly down the road as life gets a little more difficult for them. As always, we must teach and lead by example. There are endless opportunities on the fields and courts of play for us to take situations that do not turn out as we would have liked and then “turn lemons into lemonade”. In other words, show your athletes that sometimes, situations are only as bad as they want to make them. Their attitude is their choice.

I have a few “favorite sayings” and one of them is “positive things happen to positive people”. I believe that if this one simple message can be instilled in all of those you coach, your success as a coach and mentor will be off the charts.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Are you a good coach or a great coach?

Think about it for a second. I believe that all of us think that we are good coaches or at least we ASPIRE to be good coaches. We make sure that we are organized, we prepare for our practices, and we make sure that we do our best to pass our knowledge of the game on to our players. We teach the fundamentals of our sport from both the physical and the mental side of the game with the hopes that at the end of the season our player’s will be a much more developed and well-rounded athlete. More importantly, as their coach, we do our best to leave our athletes with the desire to continue playing for years to come. We help fuel their passion for the game. And hey…If our record shows more wins than losses, well, that’s pretty good too. If we can achieve these things, then we can go to sleep at night knowing that "Hey, I am a pretty good coach".

But how many of us are GREAT coaches? How many of us ASPIRE to be great coaches? How many of us truly know what it means to be a great coach? I guess that before we can define what being a "great coach" is, we need to define what just "being great" is. All we need do to find the definition of greatness is to turn to the greatest coach of all time….Jesus Christ. For in the Bible, Jesus tells us what the definition of greatness is. In the book of Mark, Jesus says to his Apostles "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all". What does that mean? Well, the message that I get from that passage is that in order to be great, you must put your own needs and wants aside and do everything that you can to assist others in achieving their needs and wants. Not always the easiest thing to do is it?

Now, how do we take the definition of "being great" and apply it to being a "great coach? I believe that first and foremost as a coach you must realize that it is not about you and it is not only about teaching your athletes how to be a better baseball player, or basketball player or gymnast or whatever. Realize that the majority of the athletes you coach will never make it to the High School fields of play. If you are a High School coach, realize that most of your athletes will never play that sport again after High School. The length of the athletic careers of the ones you coach will for the most part be very short lived in the grand scheme of their lives. So wouldn’t it make sense to spend a little more time teaching your athletes life lessons as you are "teaching the game".

To be great, it means that we are to put the needs and wants of others before our own. So, does that mean that because we have a player on our baseball team that wants to be a pitcher that we let him pitch, regardless of whether or not he can throw the ball over the plate? Put one athlete’s wants ahead of what is best for the team? Of course not! However, what we can do is take that athlete and help him achieve his goal of being a pitcher by working with him. Spend some extra time with him providing him with the tools and instruction that he needs to reach his goal. Tell him how hard that he will need to work to achieve his goal. Teach him important life lessons such as perseverance and work ethic. In other words, don’t hold him back because what HE wants isn’t really what YOU want. Realize that as a coach, God has given you the incredible opportunity to help shape the lives of many others. With that opportunity also comes tremendous responsibility. That responsibility, in my opinion is to not just be a good coach, but a great coach. Seek to serve your athletes not for your own personal gain, but for theirs.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Coaches.......What does the word respect mean? One of the first things you ought to communicate to your team is the importance of respect. In seasons past one of the first things I tell all my parents is that I am a little old school and I expect all my players to say Yes Sir, No Sir, Yes Ma'am, and No Ma'am and I would like their help in this at home as well. I get overwhelming support in this area. I then do not back down on this issue.

In baseball there are many ways to teach respect, here are just a few areas that we should teach respect in:

Coaches, example above
Umpires: Do not ever let your players say anything towards an official. Remember they are going to act what you model....WOW.....that's not easy.
Other Team mates: Do not allow your players to down grade another player or make fun of them, teach them to use positive words. It is perfectly OK for players to get on to one another and keep each other in line as long as it is not degrading.
Opposing team: You should not allow your team to make fun of, laugh at, or talk trash to the opposing team. They should show respect and win and loose with dignity.
Equipment: Players should be taught how to treat their equipment, i.e. helmets should never be thrown and everything should be put in its place every time.

With all the examples above, it will start with YOU the coach. If you model and train them by example and then teach them about respect you will be amazed at the outcome. Remember respect can not be forced but must be earned.

This makes a great "bucket talk". You can even go into how even with the 10 commandments in the Bible start with the first three talking about God's place in our lives and places God as our ultimate authority and then later it talks about how children are to honor their father and mother. It doesn't say, they have to like everything they are ask to do or not do, but it does command us to honor our father and mother.

As you begin to teach your players about respect and honor, their hearts will open up to hear about a Creator God who loves them and wants a relationship with them. Feel free to comment or email me at anytime. Thanks for what you do in the hearts and lives of your athletes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Training Coaches makes better husbands, fathers, employees, and friends

Originally upon starting this project my goal was to help men and woman become "Coaches" who would one recognize their influence and platform on the fields and courts of play. What I have discovered is a group of men who are all asking the same questions in life and desire to know their Creator in a personal way as they go through a life that is hard.

What is the single greatest trait of humanity? Many traits could be discussed such as love, compassion, humility, trust, friendly, integrity, consistency. In his book "Season of Life" Joe Ehrmann explains that EMPATHY is the greatest trait of humanity. Although that may be true, compassion is probably a better trait, because we will not always be able to identify with a particular issue any one person may be going through but I can always choose to be compassionate regardless of my ability to empathize with someone. Meeting the needs of others does not require empathy, but does require compassion for fellow mankind.

Parts of our past mold who we are and how we respond to life situations especially on the fields and courts of play. Our relationship with our father can have an influence on our lives. In "Season of Life" 3 kinds of dads are described:

1. Totally absent Father. Never home and when at home doing his own thing.
2. Has presence. this dad may be around but son or daughter would not Know their father and understand who he is and what he believes.
3. Strategic Dad. this would be the dad who spends time planning and working through how to raise his children to be men and woman who are built for others and on purposes teaches his children life lessons that will last a lifetime.

What kind of father are you? More importantly what kind of Coach are you? Do you recognize the platform you have called "Coach".

Thursday, February 14, 2008

From Ballfield, to bedroom, to billfold

This week's discussion revolved around what does it mean to be a man and what does that look like as we relate to other men. Our world would have us believe that real men are defined by their athletic ability, therefore how they perform on the ball field has a lot to do with how much of a man they are, we are then lead down the belief path of thinking we should "get" the prettiest most popular girl, after conquering woman we should then strive to have the highest paying job with a lot of status and power. When we have worked our way through those stages of life we will have become real men. This could not be further from the truth and what we teach and how we teach it on the fields and courts of play could have a profound positive or negative effect on the hearts and minds of athletes.

The question as been asked, do men have any real friends? Friends who would care enough about them to hold the accountable for things, thoughts, and actions we would all say are noble and right. Is it necessary for men to have real friends?

When you coach do you tell your team you are proud of them even in a lose for the things they did right and the effort they gave? Or, do we only praise when a victory is gained, what lessons are we teaching young athletes about life when the only praise that takes place is when there is a "W" in the win lose column?

More to be written this weekend as we didn't get a chance to discuss all the topics this past week. Let me and others know if you have thoughts about this post or any other post. Keep coaching the heart as well as the mind and body.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Are Coaches training boys to become Men or training them to be disfunctional?

As you think about our society and specifically what is being taught to our young men through their coaches it can be scary. Young boys are being taught that money, fame, and power is what it means to become a man. They learn at a young age their self worth comes from how well they perform on the field or court of play; later come to believe that they should attract the prettiest girl on campus and do what feels good just be careful, and then as they become of age, do what ever it takes to climb the ladder of success to reach a position of status and financial freedom. As described in the book "Season of Life", Jeffrey Marx writes about Joe Ehrmann who teaches that real men should base their manhood on their ability to have and maintain relationships, live under a code of conduct, and find a cause to live for that is bigger than they are. This is great advice, but so different from what our world teaches.

When I started this round table for coaches I asked the question: "what is the definition of a successful coach?" The answers varied but the conclusion was to have athletes who would grow up and could recognize and point back to us as coaches and say: "that coach taught me lessons about life that I can carry throughout life". While this is certainly true, Joe Ehrmann explains it by stating he would not know for 20 years as we are able to look at the young men we coach now as husbands, fathers, and involved citizens in the community.

My challenge to coaches today is simple: Do you spend as much time preparing to teach your athletes the fundamentals of the game as you do in preparing to teach them the principles about life that will make them good husbands, fathers, and citizens?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Is it harder to control you actions or re-actions?

As a coach is it harder to control you actions or reactions? I remember coaching a baseball game at a prominent baseball complex in the East Cobb area of Atlanta several years ago in a game that became very much out of control. I was the assistant coach coaching first base with our head coach on third base. Our head coach had been giving the umpires grief all night and was out of line. As the game was coming to an end, the base umpire missed a call at first base because he was out of position, I made a comment and without any warning he tossed me from the park. I was later told that he was tired of being "worked" so no grace was issued, he had gotten me mixed up with our head coach. I was stunned and embarrassed all at the same time. I later went and apologized to both the umpire, our ball team and fans. When I entered the park that evening we had a game plan and it was so much easier to control the game plan than to control what happened that evening that we did not have planned. God teaches us in His word to control our tongue and teaches that it can be such a harm to our witness. I believe Coaches especially fight this as they are put into the heat of battle. Do not be caught up in the theory that competition covers what we say and how we act.

This leads me to my next question: Are you a Christian Coach or a Coach who is a Christian? This question can be asked of any profession or any hat you wear in life. Is there a difference, and if so what is it?

Don't ever forget people are watching you, even when you do not realize it. It CAN make an eternal difference. If your life has been changed because you noticed someone was different and they shared their life changing story with you, please share by commenting. Continue coaching the heart of your athletes as well as their bodies and mind.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Should Sports be Fun?

This week in our coaching round table we discussed the topic of "Fun" and should coaches strive to make the sport they coach fun for their players. We discussed if that perspective changes based on what level you were coaching. The levels of coaching we discussed were: Recrational level, competition but still below age 12, High School sports, College level and then professional. Although there were different opinions on this issue, there did seem to be a relation between winning and fun, but the coach has a huge influence on whether individuals on a given team have fun during the year.

If you are a coach of any level please comment and provide your thoughts on the subject of having "Fun" through sports and what influence a Coach has on the outcome of "Fun".

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Story.....why this BLOG

I. My Story and Why I decided to do this BLOG:
a. Most influential person in my life was a teacher and a coach for basketball named Paul Struie. May not have even spelled his named correctly.
b. I played basketball and baseball growing through high school and then went on to college and ended up playing club lacrosse in college.
c. I have coached 30 seasons of ball in basketball, baseball, soccer, and football. I have become passionate about coaching.
d. Why I decided to do this BLOG:
“Two years ago I read “Season of Life” and it changed my perspective on coaching. Something else happened here at First Redeemer Sports at the same time that caused me to step back and begin thinking about what are we all about here at First Redeemer Sports. We begin to sell out our leagues. In not knowing how to move forward I discovered my outlet for growth in the sports world to help impact our community was to partner with FCA. As I have learned more and more about FCA I have discovered that their passion and direction is to influence coaches on the school campuses to share the Gospel and be an influence on those they come in contact. I begin thinking about putting developmental teams together here for the purpose of training young athletes who will go on to play at the next level and will carry with them a set of values and a relationship with their Creator to the extent they would be willing to use the platform of sports to share about Christ.

To begin to get a group of Coaches who Love God, Love their players and recognize the influence they have on the hearts of their young athletes.

If you have Coached here you know we touch a large number of families through the sports ministry, but I want to go deeper. Each of you know, I have written devotionals to work into your practices throughout the season…ask “Who has used them in the past?” I want to go deeper and have more impact on purpose and that happens through coaches.