Here’s a little something for players and parents regarding the coaches of their teams.

During the first three years of my college career, I rarely missed a game. Though I wasn’t (by any means) the star of our team, I was consistent and got better each year. I played several positions and figured I could help the team win. Consequently, you can imagine my surprise when I found myself on the bench for a five-game stretch during the middle of my senior year. Confused, angry, and hurt, I didn’t know what to think. I knew I had not been playing well. I knew I had room for improvement, but I didn’t know exactly what my coach was thinking.

I distinctly remember talking to my dad about it. Now, here’s where most parents fail. In most cases, the parent calls the coach and complains, often with a few insults and excuses. Unfortunately, parents who do this reveal who they really are and certainly train their kids to do the same. I praise God for my dad, who, instead of calling the coach to find out what was going on, challenged me to man up and do it myself. If I wanted to know why I wasn’t playing, I was the one who would have to speak with the coach.

So, I did. I was nervous and still upset, but I went. The meeting was honest and amiable. My coach told me he wasn’t happy with my offensive production and that I was trying to do things I wasn’t capable of. Ultimately, he wanted me to hit the ball to the other way and use the whole field. Deal.

I got my chance two games later. Two hits to right field. I didn’t miss another game.

This isn’t about my ability to hit to the opposite field. This is about respect and protocol.

Parents, quit making babies out of your children. Life is not all about them, so don’t fool them into thinking it is. It’s time for them to grow up and deal with failure and disappointment in healthy ways, instead of having mom or dad bail them out or berate a coach over it. (One caveat, of course. Verbal, mental, or physical abuse by a coach should never be tolerated. This goes with out saying.)

Players, man up. If you have a problem with playing time or how something like that, talk to the coach yourself. I mature by several years the day I went to my coach’s office. You may not get the answer you want, but you’ll be a better man regardless. Refuse Twitter and Facebook as your sounding boards or means of getting people in your corner. That’s a coward’s way out.

There’s an example of this in Galatians 2, when the Apostle Paul recounts a time he opposed the Apostle Peter “to his face” because of an issue between them. They talked it out, resolved it, and were both used by God in amazing ways.