Look at the picture. There is no part of that player who wanted to make that error in front of his teammates, his coaches, the fans, and the television audience. He didn’t make that error on purpose. What’s the proper response to an error such as this?
Yell at him!
Sorry, that was sarcastic. But a lot of coaches would choose that course of action, right? Belittle the person for the mistake he just made so that he’ll be so afraid he won’t repeat the error. What that teaches the players is to react in fear and to yell at their kids when they are coaching their own kids. It’s the circle of life.
Paul’s words in Romans 3:32 will forever be true: “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Yes, we all screw up. We all make errors. We all make mistakes. One of the keys to our own success is how quickly we realize the truth of Psalm 103:12 (“as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”) when we seek forgiveness for those sins and make a better path forward.
As coaches, one of the most valuable things we can do when we see a mistake or an error is take a step back and ask ourselves this question: “Is that person ignorant, weak in the habit, or rebelling?” If they are ignorant or weak in the habit, it’s up to us to train them better and create a stronger learning environment. If they are rebelling, we have the opportunity to restore them gently back into good living. That one reflective question will allow you to assess yourself as a coach and dive into deeper relationships with your team.
I’m watching the team I’m coaching now deal with themselves harshly. When they make an error or mistake, they beat themselves up pretty good. It is my hope that they will learn to forgive themselves the way their coaches and Christ already have!