Coaching Challenge

     There exists within the coaching community a need for a significant philosophical shift, a shift in thinking that aims to revolutionize how coaches understand their role as leaders within the athletic realm. Though many in the sports community limit the coach’s moral/ethical role to that of “example-setter,” others have marginalized this role or even worse dismissed it all-together. Yet the culture-at-large continues to cry for answers regarding the character crisis that the sports world faces. So, what do we do? I would like to suggest that a need exists for a new approach, specifically how coaches understand their identity and how that identity informs their role as athletic leaders/mentors.
     Though much of the research I have conducted over the years has focused on the identification and assimilation of biblical values and practices for coaching, the only foundation large enough to support these values and practices is the person of Christ.  When He is made the priority we find a source that is sound enough to establish a functional philosophical framework to rightly impact coaching behavior. Though the development of a biblical model of coaching is a real need, that model will prove useless unless it grounds its understanding in Christian identity, unitl that happens little will change regarding how Christian coaches live and lead.
     Christian coaches are in a unique place. They need to be both challenged and equipped, not only in regards to their identity, but how that spiritual identity informs their personhood and in turn how their personhood connects with the coaching profession. How the practicalities of the connections are made is far more complex than a two-dimensional model can show, but what history has shown is that the task of outlining the process is worthy of the effort and critical in providing the answer to the question of how to fix the moral and ethical dilemas the athletic culture now faces.
     We can be assured of this, that for coaching behavior to change, patterns of thinking must be addressed. The initial step in handling this broader issue is to outline what Christian identity is and then build upon that foundation with a set of biblical beliefs and values that provide a philosophical framework for long-term change. This framework should not only outline who Christ is, but identify what his priorities and practices are and how they impact His followers. The person of Christ is what will change the coach and it's His beliefs and values that contain the power to influence the way coaches think.  Ultimately the application of these beliefs and values will inform a set of biblical practices that will connect the theoretical with the practical, serving as the tool for addressing the actions Christian coaches are responsible to demonstrate. 
     My research shows that when this "biblical framework" for coaching is employed, the outgrowth it generates evokes a “revolution,” one that not only transforms the coach, but also all those whom they lead.
     Over the long-term the hope is to empower and equip these influencers so that they embrace the mission God has established for their lives.

Steven D Wright, DMin