Savor the Process
by C.A. Phillips
As a coach of youth sports for nearly 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with hundreds of kids – primarily in basketball and baseball. The most difficult part as a coach is knowing you only have a small window of time to work with teams and individuals, and realizing along the way that you just aren’t going to be able to make it all stick.
Because of our propensity for “instant gratification” (or instant results), we can find ourselves wishing away the process of teaching/learning, and hoping to fast-forward to the time in these kids’ lives when they finally “get it,” and the proverbial light bulb comes on for them. But, it just doesn’t work that way. If you’re starting at “A” and need to get to “F” or “G” – you’ll have to hit on B, C, D, and E along the way. It’s about development and shaping kids into the players (and people) that will make the biggest long-term impact.
One of the joys of my life is seeing a kid years after I have coached him. Most of the time there’s a smile, followed by the greeting, “Hey Coach C.A.!” When I hear those words, it’s confirmation from the Lord that I’ve made a positive impact on that young man (and it’s especially rewarding to know he actually wants to talk to me!).
I have never had all the answers when it comes to coaching, but I can tell you that kids know when you truly care about them, or whether you just want to win a ball game. I’ve somehow found the balance to do both through the years – emphasizing that we want to compete, but that we want to play the game the right way, without cutting corners, and without a win-at-all-costs approach.
Coaches and parents, I’d like to encourage you to do the same with your kids. Show that you care about them FIRST, but also show what it looks like to live life or play the game the way it’s meant to be lived or played. Further, I’d ask that you soak up the opportunities you have to influence these boys and girls, sons and daughters, and not try to speed up the clock any more that it already is!
These days are precious, and they’re fleeting. Make it count!
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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