Coaching lessons from a Blue Devil


What are the qualities of a good coach?  We immediately think of people who can develop great game plans…or individuals who are flexible and can make quick adjustments during a game.

The horrible shooting tragedy that occurred in Chattanooga last week gave me a new perspective on coaching.

Our Governor, Bill Haslam, was visiting Erlanger hospital to visit the wounded from last week’s attack on the Navy reserve center.  The wife of one of the wounded soldiers stopped the Governor and informed him that her husband had always admired the Duke University basketball team- especially head coach Mike Krzyzewski.  A comforting message or word from the coach- she said- would mean so much to the critically-wounded soldier.

This set a plan in motion.  Within a couple of hours the story surrounding this soldier had reached Durham, NC and the head of the Duke basketball program- Coach K.  The coach’s travel schedule was hectic, but he created time to contact the soldier’s wife and others caring for the soldier at Erlanger hospital.

He also recorded a special message for the wounded soldier:

This is Coach. I have an important message for you.

You’re on a great team down there in Chattanooga, with all the doctors and the medical staff. But I need you to do your part. I need you to be strong.

The basketball season starts in the fall. We want you sitting courtside.

We want you ready to get into the game.

The young soldier heard the message late in the day.  It was a lift for all involved…the wounded, the family and the hospital staff.  Coach K took quick action.  He engaged.  He understood the situation.  He was empathetic and encouraging.

Sadly, the solider died the next morning.  Coach K’s contact and sincere encouragement, however, had been a real lift in the spirits for all involved- including the wounded serviceman.  He had made a difference.

We all have the ability to be a coach.  What other things do good coaches do?

Set Vision

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Good coaches trust God to guide their plans.  They listen diligently for God’s instruction when leading others- and go confidently toward their goals.

Engage Others in the Process

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.  1 John 3:16

Coaching and leading are about relationships.  You can’t be an effective coach without engaging others.  We exist to help and serve.  We need to demonstrate to others that we care about their lives, hurts, fears and successes.

Develop the Talents of their Team Members

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35

Good coaches recognize the gifts and weaknesses of their teams.  They constantly work to help individuals better- either on the court, in the office or at home.

Stay Calm

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.  2 Timothy 1:7

Good coaches keep calm when the world seems to be falling apart.  They are in touch with God’s ever-present sense of peace and wisdom…and they feed off of this strength.

All of us have the ability to coach.  It may be with our children, a neighbor or a family friend.  I pray that we all look for ways to engage and encourage this week.  Showing the love of Jesus to others is, after all, a contact sport.

God bless you.  Please let me know how I can pray for you- and remember the people impacted by the attacks in Chattanooga last week.


2 thoughts on “Coaching lessons from a Blue Devil

  1. Curry Peacock says:

    So True; we continually coach even when we are unaware! May God always quicken you to be has minister as you touch the lives of others.,

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