Are You Coachable?
Every coach would agree that an important asset for athletes who want to continue to advance in a sport is “coachability.” There are a few questions you can ask yourself about an athlete to help you determine whether he or she possesses this trait.
- Does this player continue to make the same mistakes over and over, despite being taught and coached differently?
- Does the player tune coaches out or refuse to give eye contact when being given personal instruction?
- Does the player work to overcome weaknesses or areas in which he has been given instruction in his own time (away from team practice)?
As rewarding as it can be to coach young athletes, one of the most frustrating aspects of coaching surfaces when players simply refuse to heed correction. There have been several players through the years to whom I have devoted countless hours of personal instruction, only to be met with poor attitudes, lackadaisical effort, or a lack of willingness to make adjustments that could improve their skills. At some point, every coach asks himself, “Why is this player out here if he doesn’t want to improve?”
I have had assistant coaches of mine make these types of statements about players:
“I don’t waste my time anymore. He doesn’t listen. He is just going to do it his way, so why bother?”
Thankfully, this has been the exception and not the rule with most players I have coached over the past 15 years. But, the ones who “want to do it their way” stick out like sore thumbs – not just to the coaches, but also to their teammates and to the parents on the team. It can be a cancer if you don’t manage it properly.
As I was thinking back on my coaching career, and all the coachable and un-coachable kids I’ve had on my teams, I began to wonder if God looks at us like a coach looks at his players. And, if so, how coachable am I when it comes to my relationship with the Lord?
- Am I making the same mistakes over and over, despite being “taught” differently?
- Do I tune out God’s voice or refuse to focus my attention on Him when the Holy Spirit is trying to speak to me?
- What am I doing to overcome areas of weakness when God has prompted me?
Ouch. Answering those questions stings, if I am being honest. I’d like to think that I am “coachable” when it comes to following Christ, but the true test comes from answering this one question: am I obedient?
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” John 14:23-24 (ESV)
As a coach, if I were to ask my players how to take a proper lead off first base, or what kind of pitch to lay down a sac bunt, or how to move their feet when fielding and throwing, I have no doubt that they could give me the correct answers! But, during the course of a game, these same players will take bad leads off first, they will offer at a pitch in the dirt on a bunt, and they will demonstrate poor footwork and only use their upper body when throwing across the diamond. So, here’s the deal: They KNOW it, but they don’t DO it!
Does that sound familiar when it comes to living a Godly life? It certainly does for me!
It’s been said that the biggest gap in a Christian’s life isn’t the gap between how much of the Bible he knows, and how much he doesn’t know. The biggest gap is between what he knows and how he lives.
Thank God for grace. God still accepts me and pursues me because I have accepted His son’s sacrifice on my behalf…no matter how un-coachable I may have been.
C.A. Phillips is a lifelong sports enthusiast and youth baseball coach, and currently serves as the Communications Pastor and Director of Men’s Groups at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, Ga. He lives in Kennesaw with his wife, Amy, and his two sons, Chaz and Chandler.
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