Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline; for the LORD disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in. — Proverbs 3:11–12
Discipline is the responsibility of a coach to his team. A well-disciplined team is more than likely to be a successful team. However, the way in which a coach disciplines is crucially important. Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden knew discipline was vital, but he also knew there is a fine line between discipline and punishment.
Jay Carty, coauthor with John Wooden of the book, One-On-One, wrote, “Punishment is for the punisher’s benefit, to make him or her feel better. Discipline always has the other person’s best interest in mind.” No one likes to be disciplined, but if done correctly it can be a positive learning experience. In today’s world, athletes face numerous choices and a well-grounded coach can help them make these decisions easier.
Sports can teach us a lot about life. Just as we receive discipline from coaches in sports, we receive discipline from God in all matters of life. God calls us to exercise wisdom, but we often choose unwisely. When that happens, we can accept the Lord’s discipline as that of a loving Father, learn from it, and not rebuke it. The Lord disciplines us as a father disciplines his son, or a coach disciplines her players. The Lord will use our difficult circumstances to make us better, and, therefore, we can thank Him for His discipline and count it a heavenly blessing.
1. Are you exercising discipline with your athletes’ welfare in mind?
2. Is your method of discipline designed more as a learning experience or as a punishment?
3. Are you accepting God’s discipline and learning from it, or are you resenting and rebuking it?
Extra Reading: Proverbs 12:1; 15:10; Hebrews 12:4–13; Revelation 3:19
Lord, thank You for Your blessing of discipline. I pray that I may be a patient and learned servant. Help me to learn from my mistakes and to be a better Christian, bringing glory to Your name. Help me as a coach to use discipline in a way that benefits each and every one of my athletes. Lord, I give thanks for Your goodness and mercy. Amen.