Friday, August 4, 2023

Coaching is not Optional

Tennis is an individual sport where the players' moves and cunning are displayed for their opponents and the fans. Though tennis players have coaches, until recently, a player could not be coached during a game. There have been many instances where a player appears floundering and looks up to the coach's box while the coach remains stone-faced; if a player was caught receiving coaching during a game, it was a violation, affecting the score.

I'm watching Wimbledon, one of the four Grand Slams in tennis. It's unreal and a bit voyeuristic to see a player come undone without input from his coach. Even in other individual sports, such as track and field, the runner can receive guidance from his coach. So what made tennis so special? It was simply a matter of tradition.

According to the ATP rulebook, 'Players shall not receive coaching during a tournament match. Communication of any kind, audible or visible, between a player and a coach may be construed as coaching. 'In short, coaches cannot instruct their players inside or outside the court during matches.

The rules have recently changed: "Coaches can offer brief verbal instructions and provide guidance through gestures, but they still can't converse with their players during breaks in play, when there is a brief match delay, or when competitors take a bathroom break."

As with most things, they are varying opinions on both sides. Anecdotally, most athletes welcome this change, while some are staunch supporters of tradition. However, many have taken on mental health coaches and are hailed for being trailblazers, mainly when they attribute their wins to this type of coach.

If tennis were a game of life, imagine having to figure everything out on your own when you're in the thick of it. It is from this viewpoint I venture to say coaching is not optional. We all need coaching at some point without being beholden to tradition. Christians have a coach we can call on at all times, and He doesn't mind. He's the ultimate coach, but we also have skilled artisans that provide the necessary assistance at various times. We all need coaching. We don't have to figure it all out on our own.

"This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: 'Call to me, and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.' Jeremiah 33:2,3

I'm all for coaching during competitions and in the game of life. What about you?


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  1. I'm all for coaching maybe because I need all the coaching I can get. I am most grateful for the way God guides my life each day. We don't need to go it alone for He is ever with us to show us the best way to approach circumstances as they arise.

  2. Amen, Nylse. Praise be to our ultimate Life Coach.
    Thank you so much for sharing this with Sweet Tea & Friends this month sweet friend.


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