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Great Coaching

Have you ever had a great coach? Hopefully, many of you do right now. When athletes come to me interested in checking out our program, I always tell them the same thing. “It’s not about the equipment or the facility, ultimately it’s about the coaching. Great coaching matters.” I can attest to this personally having started my athletic pursuit in middle school. I’ve had some great coaches. But I’ll be honest. Until 2013, when I thought of coaching, I associated it solely with physical fitness. I studied great coaches, constantly refined my style, and when I made the decision to join my current gym, CrossFit 737, I made that decision solely on the basis of the coaches. They even offered to let me workout on my first day, but I declined. Instead, I sat there on the side of the mat and watched how they coached their athletes. It was the coaching that drew me into the program. It was the coaching that kept me in the program. And I’m blessed to now be part of their coaching team where we all share a commitment to the pursuit of greater purpose in life. 

Which is why 2013 was such a pivotal year for me. That’s when I began to see that spiritual fitness was just as important as physical fitness. The problem was I didn’t have a coach. Well actually I did, but drinking buddies, self-help books, and hobbies really don’t provide the infrastructure you need when life gets hard. And let’s face it, life gets hard. In 2013, I realized that if I was going to experience the fullness and richness of life, I needed a new spiritual fitness coach. In the same way that I sat on the side of the mat to watch the coaching at 737, I opened the Bible to watch the coaching God provided. The more I studied God’s approach to spiritual fitness, the more it made sense for me. And as I began to implement His training methods into my own life, the richer and fuller it became. For me, God is the greatest Coach I will ever have. Let me share three things His coaching will do in your life.

First, God will challenge you. All great coaches challenge you. Why? Because they see things inside you that you can’t see yourself. They bring perspective to the table. And they know the best is yet to come. That’s not a promise of greatness. It’s the realization that hard work produces better outcomes. When was the last time you expected a workout to be easy? So why do you expect life to be that way? God allows challenges in your life to shape you, grow you, and refine you. When you start to view life as a daily set of workouts, it gives you the freedom to embrace the difficulty knowing it is for a greater purpose.

Second, God will support you. In the gym, we call this “spotting.” Spotting is when one athlete stands ready to help another if the load gets too heavy. God is spotting your spiritual life. He’s not only here right now, the truth is He’s been here from the beginning. I always thought when things got difficult, I needed to buckle down, toughen up, and figure out a way to do it on my own. Now I’m willing to take on greater challenges and welcome more adversity because I know I’m not doing it on my own. God is here to support me the whole time.

Finally, God will encourage you. Our gym is a gym of encouragement. And I need it. I spent too many years driving home from my nice corporate job to my nice home in my nice car beating myself up for all the things I did wrong or missed. When I would miss a lift at the gym or not make the podium in a race, I would spend days or even weeks obsessing over what went wrong. We have the capacity to fill our minds with plenty of discouragement, but God is the great Encourager. Despite what you may have heard, or even thought, God is not interested in your mistakes or failures. He’s the most positive Coach I’ve ever had in my life. Given enough time, encouraging coaches develop encouraging athletes. I have become the encouraging person I am because I surround myself with spiritual encouragement only God can provide.

Have you ever had a great coach? My prayer for you is that you would realize spiritual fitness is just as important as physical fitness. I would argue it’s even more important. As athletes, we spend so much time in the gym committed to the pursuit of physical fitness, and our coaches play a huge role in that journey. What would it look like in your own life to sit down on the side of the mat and watch God coach? I think you’d see what I’ve discovered. The challenges, the support, the encouragement, all lead to something far greater than you could ever imagine. It is the result of great coaching.

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