Coaches must be more than just coaches*

This blog post will look at the responsibilities of a sport’s coach – more specifically in this instance a football (soccer) coach – and how the coach can come to exercise a much greater influence over the players that are in his* care†. Here you will see how to make an impact as a role model that is different from the worldly stereotypes everyone looks to copy.

We will look at the definition of a “coach” from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary who is defined as “one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a sport and directs team strategy”, as can be read from this extract:  

2 [from the concept that the tutor conveys the student through examinations]

a : a private tutor • hired a coach to help her daughter prepare for the test

b : one who instructs or trains • an acting coacha birth coach; especially: one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a sport and directs team strategy • a football coach; a pitching coach; a gymnastics coach ~ ©Merriam-Webster Dictionary (since 1828)

However, a coach is also one who teaches individuals, as well as the team collectively, and therefore can also be seen as a teacher or tutor. From a football coaching perspective, the players are instructed and put through their drills during their weekly practices, and the test as to what they have actually learnt and how well they can execute their skills and the game plan (team strategy) is then performed during their team matches. You will often hear from a coach after a match when the plan was not executed so well – which is most often – that, “At the end of the day, we must go back to the drawing board” which in essence, by that common cliché, the coach is saying, “We have to rectify our problems.”

A coach’s arsenal does not only consist of coaching manuals that deal with fitness exercises, skill techniques, game strategies, the laws of the game, and the like, as well as the tangible things like the kits, balls, beacons, and other equipment, but part of his arsenal is also how he presents himself and conducts himself around his young players, the young boys and girls who are impressionable and have learning minds. The players writer is specifically referring to in this article are those in the U6 through U17 age groups. Often coaches do not realise that they leave many a lasting impression upon the youngsters that are in their care and it is common, but not a hard rule, where parents have advised their child on certain aspects of the game and a common comeback by their child is: “But my coach says I should . . .” or “But my coach says . . .” [fill in the blank]! At times it appears that the “coach” knows better and holds a higher authority than the parents! This might well be concerning the qualifications and experience in coaching the sport, but not necessary when it comes to life skills and spiritual matters. It would therefore be common cause to ask yourself some searching questions concerning the coach:

  • When a coach speaks, what is his world view? and what is he actually saying?
  • Can he be trusted in what he speaks about? and what life skills is he teaching the players?
  • And morally, how does he impact upon his students?

Bill Shankly

This treatise will put all in perspective when one considers one of the “greatest coaches” Bill Shankly, a Liverpool manager on Merseyside from 1959–1974, who is quoted as saying: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” It is sad to think many, many coaches hold to this world view, of which I too was one of them. But my world view has changed, and I can assure you football is not much, much more important than life and death. Coaching football has far greater lessons to be learned than just honing football players’ God-given talents. On Tuesday 29th September 1981 at the age of 68 when the socialist William “Bill” Shankly passed into eternity, he was assured that football is not “much, much more important” than life and death. Shankly died precisely on time, and scripture records it plainly:

27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: ~ Hebrews 9:27

[A Gospel Tract: My Friends Are Dying And, Though They Be Alive, They Are Dead Men Walking ~ A Message of Hope ~]

Good-Coach-Great-Coach-copy-768x512

A quote by John Wooden (a past American basketball player and UCLA head coach who won 10 NCAA National Championships in a 12 year period, including an unprecedented 7 in a row), reads as follows: “A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.” This is true in many respects, but I will further elaborate and add, that, A truly great coach will strive to win souls. Even if it is just one soul won, this is a far greater perspective for a coach than just changing “a game” or “a life.” In the physical realm, lives can be changed when a person’s lot or circumstances in life changes for the better. But a soul won spiritually has eternal rewards that far outweigh the physical here and now. There is wisdom in winning souls. The Holy Bible records it as follows, for it is written,

30  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. ~ Proverbs 11:30

Whilst most coaches teach from a secular world view, and in some cases they might even throw in some religious mumbo-jumbo, it is imperative that coaches aspire to train children and coach with a Biblical world view or they are bound to fail in this life. Many championships, accolades, trophies, medals, certificates and the like might be won, but without a God-centred Biblical world view every achievement will waste away and be nothing but dross! Following on from here is the reasons why a God-centred Biblical world view is imperative and non-negotiable.

In order for the above Proverbs 11:30 scripture verse to be applied, the person (in this case a coach) would have to be righteous before GOD, and the only way he can be righteous is by being a born again Christian – a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, a child of GOD! Jesus said, “. . . Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.~ John 3:3. The word “verily” comes from a Greek word [281]†† amēn, am-ane, of Hebrew origin [543]†† that means trustworthy, surely as an interjection meaning so be it. In the Hebrew [543]†† âmên, aw-mane’, means sure; abstract faithfulness; adverb truly – Amen, so be it, truth. Jesus Christ, Who is truth (see John 14:6), is emphasising the trustworthiness of His statement, the very essence of truly, truly, amen – so be it! There is no other way to get into the Kingdom. If a person is not born again of the Spirit of the living God, that person cannot see the kingdom of God. To be a true believer you need to know the KING of the Kingdom or there is no access! For access is through having eternal life which in the words of Jesus, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.~ John 17:3. That would leave every person that is excluded from the kingdom of God a condemned rebellious sinner who is headed for hell and the lake of fire come Judgment Day (see Revelation 20:14,15). Jesus taught and preached the kingdom of God, and so must truly born again Christians teach and preach the kingdom of God, HIS Kingdom! Not this worldly kingdom, for it is fast wasting away!

In the Holy Bible God gives born again Christians a mandate to be ambassadors for Christ who have the ministry of reconciliation, to represent the kingdom of God here upon the earth. Just as any ambassador from a country, say South Africa, would find himself in a foreign land, say England, that South African ambassador represents South Africa in England upon English soil. So God has His believers as ambassadors representing His Kingdom here on earth for His glory and purposes alone in the ministry of reconciliation, which is the work of an evangelist reconciling sinners back to God, as we can read from God’s Word in context, for it is written:

17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 
20  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 
21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Be Biblical, a Biblicist Therefore, to be truly a “great coach”, one must be truly a born again Christian as the Bible defines a believer. However, the “great coach” does not define the believer, but the Great GOD whom he serves in that capacity as an ambassador for Christ! “He [JESUS] must increase, but I must decrease.” ~ John 3:30 [insertion by writer]. For many of the young players have never read the Bible, but the only “Bible” they will ever read may be the coach’s lifestyle: watching your every action, listening to your every word, and observing your morality. We read about this in scripture, for it is written,

2  Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 
3  Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:2,3

If a coach is a true disciple of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, he will stand for truth, for Jesus Christ is truth! He would not want to lie and be a false witness, but speak truth in love at all times. He would want to be Christ-like in word, thought and deed. Jesus prayed to God the Father, “16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:16,17). Therefore, truth comes from God, and there can be only one truth. Truth is not subjective, one truth for one person and another truth for another person. Truth is 100%. If there is but 0.1% untruth mixed in with 99.9% truth, the 0.1% untruth will render the whole untrue! Truth will always be 100% or the portion of untruth will render it a lie, deception or a man’s fabrication (opinion)! Truth is objective – there is only ONE truth, and Jesus Christ IS that truth! He said, “6 I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.~ John 14:6,7.

We are also warned in Colossians 2:8, as we read, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Therefore, if any man as a coach comes in his own stead and strength, he is lacking the truth of God in Christ Jesus. If he comes preaching and teaching with the doctrines and traditions of men, holding to vain babblings of a secular nature and man-made religious practices that are contrary to the Holy Word of God, The Bible, then he is a false teacher, a deceiver, an enemy of God. This will only lead to deception with vain words. However, a true child of God, who teaches as an oracle of God, will hold to the following instructions as to who he is in Christ Jesus, for it is written,

1  Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 
2  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 
3  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 
4  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 
5  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 
6  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 
7  Be not ye therefore partakers with them. ~ Ephesians 5:1-7

Dear coach, what are you teaching the children, your players in your care? Are you a reflection of Christ in word, thought and deed? Or do you speak as the world? think as the world? and act as the world? “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1), and the half brother of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3), wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” ~ James 4:4. Being a coach are you a friend of the world? And are you teaching and training your players to love the world and what it has to offer?

As a coach you should also guard against having a covetous spirit and making football an idol. There is a fine divining line between playing the game for God’s glory and playing the game for self glory. Also, if a coach and/or the players and/or the parents know more about football than about their Creator God, or they place Truthfootball ahead of their Creator God, then football has become an idol in their lives and football is their god. This goes for anything in life. If  possessions, money, property, cars, music, sport, alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, career, cell phones, social media, partying, friends, family, religion, etcetera, etcetera, takes precedence in your life over, above and before God, then you are an idolater. God warns in the First and Second of the Ten Commandments, for it is written,

3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 
4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 
5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 
6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. ~ Exodus 20:3-6 (see also Deuteronomy 5:7-10)

As can be seen in verse 5 here above, idolatry which is idol worship is hatred of God.

In order to win souls for Christ by teaching and preaching the kingdom of God, the coach must not only be His ambassador, but he needs to know what the constitution of the kingdom of God says and teaches. The constitution by which we are to live is the God-breathed Holy Bible scriptures, and not man-made constitutions, customs and traditions, confession of faiths and catechisms, or false religious writings, all that blaspheme and promote sin against the Creator God YHVH, for we read, as it is written, YHVH

16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16,17

To win youngsters over and teach them Truth, coaches must first and foremost have a relationship with the God they profess to teach about, for their teaching will be an act of worship and praise to the God of Creation. That is why we are warned in scripture to not “give heed to fables” (1 Tim. 1:4), to “refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7), and we are encouraged by the apostles “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

A coach also needs to be extremely watchful and guard what comes out of his mouth, “34 . . . for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. . . . 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:34,36,37). By way of an example, whilst writer was one Saturday afternoon assisting with an U10 match, an U8/U9 coach committed blasphemy by using the Son of God’s name Jesus Christ to show disgust at his team missing an opportunity to score a goal. Writer immediately rebuked the U8/U9 coach in front of other parent spectators, including a Muslim man standing within ear shot. In a very short period of time the team scored and the said coach retorted that he had “invoked” Jesus’ name and that is why they had scored. He made light of his sin and tried to justify his blasphemy. However, the terminology of the word “invoked” is a ". . . We ought to obey God rather than men." ~ Acts 5:29 Roman Catholic (RC) word that fits with the RC’s doctrine and dogma teachings. The words “invoke” or “invoked” are not found in the Holy Bible scriptures. In the RC Catechism #969 you can read, quote: “. . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."510. This is false teachings as the Holy Bible says there is only one Mediator, as can be read, for it is written in God’s Word, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (1 Timothy 2:5), and the only Advocate we have in scripture is found in 1 John 2:1, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”. For what is sin? We read, for it is written, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4). And Jesus Christ came to fulfil the law, as we read, for it is written in God’s Word, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17). And the ONLY Advocate Jesus Christ fulfilled the law, not Mary!

Now how can this coach teach children, if he ever did, about the God-Man Jesus Christ when he blasphemes Him by using His Holy Name in vain to show disgust towards his young players? The said RC coach cannot be a true witness of truth when he violates the Third of the Ten Commandments, which reads, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7). As a Roman Catholic he is teaching another gospel holding to the teachings of the pope-induced man-made catechism that is contrary to the Word of God as can be seen under the example here above dealing with the word “invoked” which is a heresy. Cursed are all that preach any other gospel and would pervert the gospel of Christ, for it is written,

6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 
7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 
8  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 
9  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 
10  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 
11  But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 
12  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. ~ Galatians 1:6-12

ReligionsTherefore, as can be seen from what has been said above, coaches are more than just coaches. It is dangerous ground when a coach has a flawed world view and conveys his message to his players that they are to respect all religions, when God makes it known that there is only ONE Truth, for God is intolerant! God does not tolerate sin and neither should Christians! Coaches need to avoid secular philosophies and false religions that violate truth. God reveals, for it is written,

22  For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us. ~ Isaiah 33:22

8  I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. ~ Isaiah 42:8

17  They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. ~ Isaiah 42:17

10  Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
11  I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. ~ Isaiah 43:10,11

15  I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. ~ Isaiah 43:15

25  I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. 
26  Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. ~ Isaiah 43:25,26

6  Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. ~ Isaiah 44:6

8  . . . Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. ~ Isaiah 44:8

6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 
7  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
~ John 14:6,7

3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. ~ John 17:3

9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 
10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 
11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:9-11

In closing, coaches need to have their “. . . repentance toward God, No greater joyand faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21), not just any ‘Jesus’ of their own choosing, before they can even consider being used of God to win a soul for Christ. If not, they might impact upon a child’s life by either changing “a game” or changing “a life” in this present evil world, but that child will still remain an enemy of God through wicked works! We read about the Lord Jesus Christ’s ministry, for it is written,

34  And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
35  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
36  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
37  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
38  Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
~ Mark 8:34-38

Dear coaches, if you are not serving the one and only true God in your coaching, you are wasting your time. And you will be accountable for your every action, every word, and every thought come the day of judgment. Today is the day of salvation. Repent and believe before it is too late . . .

Soli Deo Gloria______________________

Footnotes:

* The male gender reference to the “Coach” is also applicable to the female gender. However, in this context women can witness for Christ, but women are not allowed to be public teachers in the church usurping authority over men (see 1 Timothy 2:11-15).

† A coach exercises a great sphere of influence upon players in their care just as a school teacher would do the same in education. However, it should be noted that the parents have a God-given responsibility to teach their child/ren about God and the Bible. We are instructed in Scripture, for it is written,

6  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

In the event that the player’s parents are not true Christians, the Christian coach should teach and preach Christ Jesus to both parents and child/ren.

Teach Your Son

†† Strong’s Complete Word Study Concordance Expanded Edition, Copyright 2004 by AMG Publishers: James Strong, LL.D., S.T.D. Edited by Warren Baker.

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“Eyes on Christ”

Eyes on Christ 

A WARNING in love, “Eyes on Christ” DOES NOT mean being in membership of –

– the Roman Catholic church;

– the 38,000+ Protestant Denominational churches;

– the Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormons, the Seventh Day Adventists, (add in your religion), etc.

IT IS NOT following the RC catechism classes, the Westminster confession, the Baptist confession, or any man made custom, tradition or confession of faith.

IT IS NOT following the Pope, Mary, Calvin, Arminius, your favourite pastor and theologian or any other guru or false teacher, or making and worshipping a ‘god’ of your own choosing which is idolatry.

IT IS NOT using God’s or Jesus Christ’s name to score religious piety. That is blasphemy.

IT IS ALL ABOUT JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED, DEAD, BURIED, RESURRECTED AND ASCENDED TO THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER.

Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”);
Sola Fide (“faith alone”);
Sola Gratia (“grace alone”);
Solus Christus (“Christ alone”);
Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”)

Soli Deo Gloria

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