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  • by Rob Globke

    You are Valuable

    Luke 12:6-7
    “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

    As coaches, it’s often easy to get lost in the minutia and day to day operation of being a coach. You can spend so much time trying to concoct the perfect game plan or system. You can spend all day thinking about the next drill. You may even find yourself up late at night wondering about how to beat that detestable rival. In the midst of this whirlwind, there is a tendency to forget that your players are people. You can quickly fall into the trap of seeing them as a number or a right winger or a shot blocker. You show up at the rink and forget your guys might be facing a difficult time with parents, struggling with school, a bad breakup, or a host of a hundred other things. When you get on the ice all you can think of is to SNAP because someone didn’t do the drill just right. After all, the big game is this weekend, right?!?!

    I am not saying it isn’t good to care about winning, losing and well run practices. I’m not saying it’s not good to put in faithful diligent hours in preparation for practices and games. I am saying that coaches should not lose sight of the truth that the players on their team are people. They are not robots designed to carry out your master plan. They are not set pieces in a giant game of hockey chess. Jesus reminds us in Luke (and many other places) that humans are of great value to God the Father. The human race is so valuable God sent his only son to die so that we could have life! That is an incredible price to pay to show just how much God values us.

    So, in the midst of your coaching don’t forget to remind your team that they are valuable. They are not valuable because they score goals or win games. They are not worthy because they are the best hockey players. They are valuable because they are created in the image of God.

    • Do your players know their worth?
    • Are they scared they will be less valuable based on how they play?
    • Have you reminded them of how awesome it is that they are on the team?
    • When was the last time you told one of your players you valued them and encouraged them for being an integral part of the team?

    Good Job

    1 Thessalonians 5:14
    "And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all."

    You have to love the three word phrase in the verse above, “encourage the fainthearted!” If there is a definition for being a coach, this phrase should most definitely be included. A rhetorical question to think about… “How often are the players on your team ENCOURAGED?”

    I’m not even talking about a practice or game. I’m talking about in life. Think about that for a second. There are so many things in this world which bring discouragement. So many things that drag your players down. And so often when they step into the rink nothing is different. I’m far too guilty of this myself! I am quick to let someone know what they aren’t doing right. I’m very efficient in telling a young hockey player where they messed up or something they should be doing instead. Many coaches join me in this bad habit much too often. The “fault” is always easy to find.

    Paul did not stop his charge to those at Thessalonica with, “admonish the idle.” He followed up the one negative with three positive commands…

    1. encourage the fainthearted
    2. help the weak
    3. be patient with them all

    Wow. That’s bold. Those are often hard things when faced with fifteen to twenty players not playing so well and making mistakes. Yet, this is what makes a good coach a great coach. This is what separates the kind of coach that will change a life versus one that will just “make it through the year”. I urge you to be a coach who is willing to say “good job” more than “you need to do better”.

    Enjoy the Game

    Philippians 4:4
    "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice."

    This last one will be short and sweet...hopefully! :-)

    Enjoy the game. I didn’t do this nearly as much as I should have when I played. In fact, I do this much more now than I ever did growing up. For a good portion of my youth, I just showed up at the rink and played, not thinking much about how fun it was to play the game. Of course it was fun, but I didn’t really take the time to dwell on it or cherish it. Soon, colleges came recruiting and the pressure to perform started sponging some of the fun. Years later hockey became a job and other pressures were added to the mix. Playing the game for the sheer joy of being able to play was drowned out by the thought of earning a spot or getting the next contract. If only life had a rewind button!

    There are more versions of me out there at rinks than you might think. This is why it is imperative to have coaches who row against this tide. Coaches need to be that constant reminder for their players to ENJOY THE GAME. I think hard work is very important. I believe there should be a seriousness when stepping on the ice. I also admit that some pressure is a good thing when it comes to hockey. However, those can’t come at the expense of joy. Make your practices fun. Smile. Tell your players to smile. Enjoy the opportunity you have to coach and tell the team as much as you can to enjoy the game they get to play.

    I will close with a few questions to think about…

    • Do your players realize how special it is to be able to play the game of hockey?
    • Have your players thought about the goodness of having two arms, legs, hands, eyes, ears and everything else which makes playing possible?
    • Do your players know how many countries and cities don’t have ice rinks to play on?
    • When was the last time your players thought about the people who provide the funds and resources which allowed them to play (parents or otherwise)?
    • What is stopping you from telling your players to ENJOY THE GAME?