Well Coached is the story of Justin Tucker, a head baseball coach at the high school level. Tucker has just lost another state title game, and lost his cool during his postgame speech with the team. As Tucker leaves the field, he gets blown up by a parent. On the drive home, his AD calls and gives Tucker a piece of his mind as well. After church the next day, Tucker’s mentor, Coach Bill Petersen, gives him a call. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Well Coached:
Coach Petersen kept going, “I couldn’t believe what I heard. Everything you do, to some extent, is a representation of what I’ve taught you. Anyone who watched you coach those kids the way you did today now thinks that is how I taught you to coach kids and deal with adversity. The way you coached today reflects poorly on me. And the fact of the matter is that it’s not what I’ve taught you. I didn’t teach you to value championships over people. Sure, I never had a team that won a championship, but my life is still richer than many of those who have. I didn’t teach you to let parents dictate the worth of what you’re doing with players.
“Don’t you remember the dads who reported radar gun readings to their kids and created hand signals to call their son’s pitches? The dads of your teammates who would take their sons to batting cages and try to teach them to hit without their coaches? Those guys were trying to manipulate what we were doing on the field and get in the way of team success. Somewhere along the way you’ve allowed a lot of external distractions to bounce you off course.”
Justin was seething on the other end, but there was also a quiet stillness inside him. He knew his coach was right. It was from that small, still space that he spoke to his mentor. “Coach, what are you telling me? That the parents and my A.D. are right? That it’s time for a change?”
Coach Petersen paused before responding. “A team is a reflection of what the coach teaches. Players hope to play for programs that have a track record of winning. You’ve created a winning atmosphere and winning over time doesn’t happen by accident. Your teams play with discipline. I’ve seen your teams respect the game. You’ve had great kids in your program and kids who have needed extra discipline. All of the elements of a great program seem to be there. But you’re so wrapped up in the short-term pursuit of trophy that you’re missing the long-term focus of legacy and kingdom building. It’s an issue of your heart. We need to address that before answering whether or not any kind of life change is necessary.”
The essence of Well Coached is reflected in John 14 when Christ says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (verse 15), and ““If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me” (verses 23-24). The book is designed to get coaches and people in the game of baseball to ask themselves if they are keeping the commandments of Christ as they coach. Is there a difference between how you coached before you accepted Christ?
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