Being a demanding baseball coach as a Christian

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Nicholas25, May 27, 2007.

  1. Nicholas25

    Nicholas25
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    I have a passion for Christ and the game of baseball. As a Christian I have found it tough at times to tone down my competitive nature. In the second game of the season, our opponent was trying to show up my team by stealing bags up 8 runs late in the game (I had a weaker lineup in because it was the 2nd game of a doubleheader). I got "fired up" and made a comment about it from across the field, I was so loud the umpire had to ask me to get back in the dugout. I felt horrible, I proclaim Jesus Christ, I can not act like that on the ball field. I also struggle with what I have always believed to be the "right way to play the game." For example: if you purposely hit my best player, we are going to hit your best player. That is how I have always felt the game should be played, but as a Christian can I intentionally hit an opposing batter? I am a demanding coach, my boys run to get in shape and run because for mental mistakes. Some parents don't understand that these kids are 13-15 and are about enter "real baseaball, I am trying to get them ready for middle school and high school ball. My flesh wants to tell these parents "I played high school ball, four years of college and in a big time summer league in which 2 teammates were drafted and 3 or 4 others signed as free agents. I know the game! But as a Christian I can not and do not want to be arrogant or rude. A lot of advice would be appreciated, thank you.
     
  2. Hope of Glory

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    If you're playing a game, you should be out there to win.

    But, win using honesty, fair play, and good sportsmanship.

    Running up the score, is poor sportsmanship, and demoralizing to your team.

    So, I would say that it depends on what you said, more than whether or not you said anything. In fact, I think it's commendable that you said something, depending upon what you said.

    If the kids aren't out there to win, they don't need to be out there. There's nothing wrong with losing, as long as you have given it everything you have. That's part of what discipline is about.
     
  3. blackbird

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    Nicolas!! Go back and take a close look at your favorite verse listed in your profile!!! Everytime you disobey what it says----run ten laps or drop and give yourself "50" and then tell the boys exactly---exactly---exactly---why you're running those laps or doing those pushups!!!

    Teach yourself that "poppin' off" at the other coach----you're lookin' at him from 1st base dugout while he's grinnin' at you from 3rd base dugout---everytime you "pop off"----is a exercise in self-will and pride and that the word of God teaches the destruction and death of self will and the receiving of the will of the Lord Jesus----and the Bible does not teach "prideful arrogance" but it teaches the opposite---it teaches the putting away of pride----just drop and give yourself "50" everytime self gets in the way of the Lord Jesus and folks in the other dug out or over in the bleachers can't see or hear Jesus coming from you----drop and give yourself "50"

    To teach your boys discipline---and you can't discipline yourself---mercy!! What are you in it for---you want your boys to "toe the line"----well, fella!!! Toe the line that Jesus lays out for you in His word!! You can't rule the boys until you bring yourself(your mouth, your jestures, etc.)under the strict control of the Lord Jesus Christ-----the rudder of a ship is a small thing--but the ship must go the way the rudder turns it---so with the tongue----the man who has a double mind----is unstable in all his ways!!

    Nothin' wrong with winning---don't get me wrong!! But I believe you can win just as well with your "self" under subjection and rule of the Lord Jesus Christ!!!

    But thats just me-----I'd play on your team if I saw you practice what you preach to me!!!! Know what I mean?????:thumbs: :thumbs:
     
    #3 blackbird, May 27, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2007
  4. J. Jump

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    This is a big time struggle and one that I had with myself after coaching several years on the collegiate and high school levels. And bottom line what I found myself saying is that sports is about the flesh when done in a competitive situation.

    I think there are a lot of valuable lessons that can be learned from team sports, if that is the attitude that is taken from the very beginning. However if championships are the goal from the very beginning then I think it is way too easy to compromise our walk with the Lord. At least for me. And I'm glad that no other coaching opportunity has come my way :).

    That's just $.02 from a former basketball coach.
     
  5. Hope of Glory

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    If winning the championship at all costs were the objective, then I'd agree with you. But, the objective of any sort of contest, physicaly or mental, is to win. And as long as the proper spirit is applied to that winning, then it's not a problem.

    Don't cheat, don't lie, be a good sport, properly prepare yourself...

    These same qualities can be applied to anything in life, even the way you approach the way you minister.

    I like to use the 5 P's: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

    I would be disappointed in any coach that was not demanding, but I'd be more disappointed in one that was a poor sport.

    When I was coaching football, I got the other coaches mad at me because I made my boys take a knee starting with two minutes left in the game. They said it was "showing them up". When, in reality, we were up by 42 points, scoring at will (our average possession was 3 plays, then we'd score), and I saw no point in running the score up even higher. It was the best group of kids I've ever had, and they ended up playing the season with only 11 boys on the team, so there was no second or third string to put in there. (BTW, I had permission from every single parent to have prayer before and after every practice and game.)
     
  6. J. Jump

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    Doesn't have to be. And when focus is on winning, whether at all costs or not, I think that we open the door for the enemy to take us farther than we want to go.

    I would say that you teach the principals of the game and letting winning and losing take care of itself :).

    When we are focused on winning then our eyes are focused on what our flesh can accomplish, because I really don't think God cares a whole lot about who wins and who loses.

    Again I think there are a great number of lessons that can be learned outside of winning and losing.

    And again that's just personal input from someone that has struggled with the same issues.
     
  7. Nicholas25

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    I don't believe in winning at all costs, I believe in winning the right way.
     
  8. J. Jump

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    I don't think there is anything inheritantly wrong with winning. I think the danger comes when the focus is on winning whether at all costs or otherwise.

    Athletics is a focus on one's flesh, unless we want to debate whether or not the Holy Spirit will play sports through a saved individual. And anytime the flesh is involved there is real danger. But each one must decide for themselves.
     
  9. Nicholas25

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    We do have to be careful, sports may be of the flesh in many, if not all ways, but sports have kept many young people off drugs and alcohol and forced them to make passing grades. Sports can be a positive role in the life of a young person. Not to mention that one can and should learn sportsmanship.
     
  10. J. Jump

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    Absolutely they can. No argument from me on that point!!
     
  11. Hope of Glory

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    If the objective weren't winning, we wouldn't keep score.

    But, that's not the same as having the focus on winning.

    If you focus on winning, you will lose in most cases, even to an inferior player or team.

    In motorcycle racing, there's this thing calle "object fixation". It's when you focus on an object (usually because you want to avoid it) and you end up hitting it. You don't look at the finish line until you get there. You focus on the racer you're getting ready to pass, you focus on the next turn (or two or three), you plan your course of actions so that you will be where you need to be when you need to be there to pass, etc. You also never, ever, look back. You will be passed or crash or worse in many of those instances.

    But, the object is to place as high as you can.

    The same with football or baseball or anything else. You don't focus on the final score, but the objective is to end up with a higher score than the other team. You do that one step at a time. Now, you can do it, as you've pointed out, by cheating, etc., but that doesn't make wanting to win inherently evil, any more than a gun is evil when a criminal uses it to murder 32 students at a college.
     
  12. PastorSBC1303

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    You have been given some good advice in this thread. I think it shows a mark of maturity to wrestle with such things. May God bless you as you continue to grow and mature in Christ.
     
  13. gb93433

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    One of the greatest coaches I had was in the same high school for about 35 years and had a winning team almost every year. He never let us be slack in doing our best. At one of the wrestling matches a team member was wrestling another opponent and tried to humiliate him. Our coach stopped the match and removed our team member off the mat and forfeited the match. That was in front of a packed crowd. He told the team member that he will not wrestle for the next two weeks. He also told the boy that he must be at all practices or he would be off the team. Before practices we did wind sprints in the gym and ran for 15 to 20 min after practice. Almost every year we won the league tournament and quite often the regional tournament. Always we had team members placed at the highest tournament in the state. The school came form a population of about 7,000 in the area. His philosophy was that matches are won in the practices and the meet was just another practice. Whether I won or lost, the coach would always congratulated me. My first year as a freshman was not all that good. I had considered not going out the next year because I did not do as good as I would have liked. When the team banquet came and the school assembly came I was wondering what he would say. I have never forgotten those words to this day. That was 39 years ago.

    My daughter went out for track in junior high. There were 95 kids on the team. The coach had started about ten years earlier with 12 kids. Imagine one out of eight students in a junior high school going out for track! That lady had an enthusiasm that was contagious. She loved running and encouraged every kid to their very best. They had coaches who helped and volunteered their time. The team would watch each event to see how their team members did. When the kids were finished with their event the team would congratulate each one of them. I saw the kids watch events like I had not ever seen before. The team acted like it was one big party. Consistently they won the meets. One of the girls ran 1500 meters in a time of 5:09.83 in seventh grade.

    In contrast my brother and I played baseball for several summers. My brother was an excellent athlete. Both of us decided not go out for baseball in high school because of the coach’s attitude and language. So, instead we went out for track.

    As a person who works with young people you can give them hope and a proper perspective of what it takes to win and lose. Set the goal before them and help them to see what it takes to do their best. The game is not about winning but about doing their best. Players can be lazy and win an easy game but they cannot win a tough game on past wins and laziness. You can also teach them what a godly man looks like. If the work is done in practice and the players are well equipped then you can sit back and relax and watch them do their best.

    When I work with young people I think about where I want to take each person in their journey. Some will never make your interest their interest with the same intensity. Some may have more intensity than you ever thought possible. Some may have more intensity than you do.

    I pray for every young person I work with. Praying for each person changes your attitude and keeps things in a proper perspective. Life is not so much about baseball but about doing what will last for eternity.
     
  14. Dale-c

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    This has been a good thread.
    I would slightly disagree with one statement though:

    I do not believe that running up the score is always bad sportsmanship.
    Especially in Baseball.
    I don't think there is ever a time, in any sport to do less than your best just so the score isn't as bad as it could be.
    From a coaches stand point, if you have a big lead that is a good time to send out the bench players so that they can continue to play just as hard without totally demoralizing the other team

    But the thing with baseball is this: there is no time and as such, there is never a point in which victory is guaranteed.
    A 25 point lead with 45 seconds left in basketball is impossible to overcome.
    a 9 run lead in baseball in the 9nth inning is not. In fact Buffallo just did that in AAA ball a couple of weeks ago.

    So, I don't see that running up the score always constituted bad sportsmanship.
    As long as there is no trash talking, I think it could be considered simply continueing to play hard.
     
  15. preachinjesus

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    meek doesn't mean weak

    I'd suggest pushing and striving for excellence are instrinsically Christian values we should be asserting with our youngesters.

    Plus, you are probably going to be the closest thing some of these kids have to a real dad. I'll pray with you through this. :)
     
  16. Nicholas25

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    There is an unwritten rule in the game of baseball that says don't run put pressure on the defense late in the game with a big lead. I was always taught 8 runs was when you put on the breaks. You advance on wild pitches and passed balls, but even then when you got to 3B you didn't score on a wild pitch or passed ball. It is an unwritten rule just as don't swing 3-0 is an unwritten rule.
     
  17. Pipedude

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    I appreciate this thread very much. Before reading the OP, I was NEVER under the impression that the unchristian behavior of some Christians in sports was anything they regretted.

    Blackbird's advice (Post #3) is excellent.
     
  18. gb93433

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    Walk in the door of some churches during a business meeting and you will find something far worse.
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    I think some of the things that people have been taught about the "right way to play the game" are pure nonsense. I played baseball growing up, along with soccer and basketball. Now I coach soccer at the high school level.

    I think hitting a player in retaliation is absolutely stupid. It is not the right way to play the game. Lobbing a 70 MPH fastball at someone's hip is a free pass. You are putting a potential run on base. If you don't like your guy getting hit, strike their best player out.

    There is nothing that makes a mad player more mad than his opponent walking away. Beat them on the field, with your game. That's my philosophy.

    Coaches don't realize that they are not coaching anyone who is going to make money playing the game. The odds that you have a future pro, much less a future major leaguer, on your roster is so low it is unreal. Even the odds of coaching a D1 scholarship player are almost nil.

    I think coaches teach the game with good sportsmanship, and teach to win through skills and fundamentals, not through gamesmanship. We are trying to grow young men, not future major leaguers.

    Lest you think I am soft, I am not. But I am sick and tired of coaches and parents acting like three year olds who didn't get their way. I am tired of players who have learned from them. I have no use for whiners. When the whistle blows, you shut up and walk away.
     
    #19 Pastor Larry, May 29, 2007
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  20. HaveSwordWillTravel

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    Sorry, apparently I double posted...duh!
     
    #20 HaveSwordWillTravel, Jun 3, 2007
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