June 22, 2017

By Paul J Banta

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.” – Philippians 3:12-15 (NLT)

You can’t help your players grow toward being followers of Christ and see them in heaven one day, unless they see you model Christ through your developing and growing faith, kind words, and actions they believe will help them. We teach our players the game as we model the game for them. Players need modeling from you, their leader. That’s one part of leadership. I modeled Umbro clothing contract, modeled my efforts in the local youth soccer program, modeled my speaking to local community organizations, and modeled my teaching as a coaching educator, but I forgot to model Jesus Christ, my Lord, and Savior. Of course, that no longer has existed for many years.

I will never do that again! My only hope for many years of coaching was to win matches, not win guys to Christ. That’s not what coaching is all about, regardless of where or who you’re coaching. Coaching is fixing both eyes, with your thinking abilities, your words of quality and actions on Jesus. In all you do you please God by using the power of your faith given to you through Jesus death and resurrection and His Holy Spirit given to you when you committed your life to being a ‘Born Again Believer in Christ.’ By focusing on Jesus, you will realize the impact you can have on others if your faith and trust in the Lord and His Father God is part of your life.  You will see and feel why you’re to possess Jesus with passion.

My hope for many years of coaching was created around the accolades of this world. Many coaches do this automatic as they think this is part of their rewards for personal success or the players playing their heart out having success making you look big time good. Even after I feverishly prepared my teams to play matches through intense training sessions, I still was not sure of the outcome at the end of many games. Such uncertainty always gripped my inner soul with an emptiness I was not able to control. Those feelings were a result of my lack of faith in God, as well as my human tendency to believe that no matter how hard I tried, I could fail at the end of the match if the opposing team scored more goals than my players. Maybe you’re like I was, coaching and making the mistake of serving everybody but Christ. If this is any part of your soccer get rid of it ASAP.

What’s your next move?