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"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play…it is war minus the shooting."

George Orwell

Coaching

He has given him [Bezalel] and Oholiab the ability to teach others. Exodus 35:34

If you look at the context, it is about teaching practical things. It is not about priests teaching the law. It is about two people who have lots of practical skills – design, engraving, cutting stones etc. And they have the ability to teach others.

There are many people who have the ability to do something but not the ability to share their skills with others. It is a different skill. That is what the sports coach does – teaches others. That can mean teaching beginners as they grasp the fundamentals of a sport for the first time. That is vital as everyone has to start somewhere.

It applies equally to the coach of the elite performer who is trying to help the sprinter find a few hundredths of a second which make all the difference. I watch a lot of track and field. I am always fascinated by the intensity of the consultations between the jumper or thrower and the coach after each round of competition – a tiny tweak, gentle encouragement.

I recently heard a runner interviewed, who had changed coaches and gone to a new level. What, he was asked, had the new coach given him? “Confidence” was the reply.

The biography of Anson Dorrance (The man watching) states that he was reluctant to make substitutions late in a (football) game in case it looked like panic or a lack of confidence in the players on the field.

It would be interesting to study the life of Jesus in terms of coaching. He recruited a team of 12 and invested in them. He taught them, trained them, sent them out on their own and then conducted an evaluation of the enterprise.

The influence of a good coach, of course, goes well beyond the sport. A good coach can influence people for life beyond sport. A Christian coach can impact for eternity.

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