Being a coach is never easy. It is especially difficult at the youth league level. Though high school and college coaches find their jobs on the line, there is a clear expectation and understanding of the goals there–perform and win. Things are more challenging in youth league, where winning should not be, but often is, the main focus.

Most youth league coaches played sports in the past. And, most are competitive. Because of this, many struggle to separate themselves from what is best for the children they coach. It is a natural, yet often overwhelming struggle. Some coaches appear to be in it for the kids and yet change completely when the game begins. Everyone is prone to this.

What is the answer?

Proverbs 16:2–“All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives” (NASB).

Everyone thinks what they’re doing is right. No one wants to believe his motives are wrong. We all see ourselves as squeaky clean. None of us wants to admit that we are coaching for ourselves, really trying to win at all costs. We hide that. Or maybe we don’t even see it in ourselves. Either way, we need help.

“The Lord weighs the motives.” For some, this sounds ominous, like God is waiting there to crush you if your motives are impure. Obviously, there are times when our motives bring serious consequences, but I see another perspective here, too. If I want to be sure my motives as a coach and as a parent are pure, I need God to weigh them and let me know. Only He truly knows. My friends don’t know. My fellow coaches don’t know. I surely don’t know. Only God. I must submit every motive to Him, let Him weigh it, and then have Him guide and correct me along the way. Only then will my motives be what they need to be–not about me, but about the Lord and the kids.

Here’s a prayer:

Lord Jesus, I give you my every motive in coaching and parenting. Put them on your scales. If they don’t please you, tell me, correct me, lead me, change me, guide me. Give me your motives. Amen.