Coaching is an art and if you have ever had a great coach, you’ll remember their name and why they were special.
Coaches come in all shapes and sizes. Some help you achieve your business goals while others help you lose body fat. A good coach can get you to break a bad habit and maybe salvage your career. There are even coaches that will work with you on your table manners.
My 17 year-old twin boys love to play football and are blessed to have outstanding coaches at their school, Charlotte Christian (CCS). I’ve been watching their coaches for the past few years and want to share with you what I’ve observed and how I know they have great coaches.
Love our boys: They treat my boys and all of their teammates as if they were their own sons. Like a father, they will discipline them when necessary and encourage them to work hard to get better and reach their goals. They’ll celebrate with them when they win and share their disappointment after a tough loss. They give of their time freely and most of them don’t get a single dime in compensation.
Have passion: Our coaches have all played football at the college or professional level, are extremely competitive and want to win. We are a small, private, Christian school with only around 400 high school students. But, we love to take on large public schools. Our coaches try to get some of the best schools in the state – and outside – to play against us. We’ve faced four of them thus far this season and beat them all. No one thought we could: our coaches did! Our coaches didn’t want us just to compete; they wanted our boys to win.
Know the game of football: Our coaches are smart. They are students of the game and prepare both themselves and their players for their opponents. After practice they go home and spend hours studying film. They want to understand what our players did well and where they need to improve. They study the plays and players of the team that we will face next and then share their findings with our boys. Our guys are physically, mentally and emotionally prepared to take on our opponents the minute they step on the playing field.
Value character: While our coaches want our boys to win on the football field they know that the game is only a small part of what makes them who they are today and who they will be as adults. Their prime focus is to help these boys develop their character, both on and off the field. They expect that they treat the referees with respect, that they play fair and don’t swear. If they mess up off the field or don’t keep up academically, they will be benched. Our coaches’ goal is that players from other schools, their parents and the referees leave the game saying: “these kids are different.”
Help them grow spiritually: The desire of our coaches is for every one of their players to model Christ both on and off the field. This isn’t always easy and sometimes a player messes up. Infractions will be punished but grace will also be extended.
We have a team Chaplin who pours into our boys and leads team devotions every Monday afternoon. Each week a senior player helps present the devotion and the boys are expected to keep these discussions confidential. Games are started and ended in prayer. And whether we win or lose the game, the opposing team (even public schools) is invited to join us at the center of the field after the game to pray and give thanks.
Are great role models: I know our players look up to their coaches because they walk the talk. What do they see when they look at their coaches: Real men. Men who have passion for what they do; Work hard to be the best at their craft; Are tough but fair; Sacrifice for others; Are great husbands and dads. They see coaches who have fun, a good sense of humor and, who role model Christ.
Keep things in perspective: Sure, our coaches want to win. We’ve won three state championships in the past four years. The one we lost really stung. In the end they know that most of their players won’t play past the high school level and that’s ok. They want their high school football experience to be something special which they will never forget. They want them to form deep friendships with their teammates and create lasting memories. They want football to be a sport that helps them grow and mature into real men with strong character.
Most of the players won’t grasp how good their coaches really are until longer after their active football days have passed. It might sink in at their 10th high school reunion or maybe not until they get a chance to the watch their own son get coached. I know my boys are blessed to have these coaches impact their lives… so am I.
Photo: Hanxi Chang, CCS