As you watch your next sporting event, take a few minutes to observe the coaches. They watch with intensity. They cheer. They instruct. They console. They correct. Their emotional intensity rivals that of the athletes themselves.
Coaches see the big picture. They see what the athletes themselves don’t always see. They break down what needs done and how it needs done into small, manageable steps that will add up for big change over time if done consistently.
Yet, nothing a coach does matters if the athlete fails to open himself to being taught. Being coachable can make a talented athlete great. Being teachable can make an average athlete approach greatness too. Even an initially poor athlete can become good and maybe even great if he is coachable.
A Coachable Athlete
A coachable athlete must trust his coach, he must be willing to change and try new things, and he must listen well. In addition to these essential elements, a coachable athlete must also possess a:
- Passion for practicing the basics. Even professional athletes still regularly practice the basics. The basics provide the foundation for greatness in any sport, a foundation on which a coach then builds a great athlete.
- Willingness to submit without always understanding why. A coach studies and plans, sees the big picture, and usually has more experience than the athlete. For these reasons, an athlete must often submit to a coach’s leadership without at least initially understanding the reasoning.
- Humbleness for following directions/instructions without question. Especially during competition, an athlete needs to carry out the coach’s game plan and not question his every decision. Humbleness is necessary to let go of one’s own will and submit to another’s will.
A Coachable Christian
These same attributes or qualities seen in a coachable athlete are also visible in teachable Christians who, like David, pursue the heart of God.
- Passion for practicing the basics means being merciful, kind, humble, and gentle. The basics also include forgiveness, love, and thankfulness. A passion for the basics also includes living out the words of scripture as well as participating in regular fellowship and worship. (Colossians 3:12-17)
- Willingness to submit to Christ means loving Him above all else and following Him wholeheartedly, regardless of the cost. (Luke 14:25-35)
- Humbleness that allows us to let go of our own will and desires and follow Christ’s. Doing so means admitting our dependence upon Him. (James 5:7-10)
Being a successful athlete as well as being a Christian who pursues the heart of God takes hard work and perseverance. It takes honing specific qualities and habits even when they seem boring or hard to understand. A coachable Christian follows the instruction of those with more experience and who better understand the bigger picture. Being a successful athlete pursuing Olympic gold or a Christian pursuing the heart of God requires being coachable.