As a coach, every year is different. Whether you are at the youth league, high school, or college level, it’s consistently different. In youth league and high school, you play the hand you’re dealt, the talent that is given to you. Some years it’s great. Other years, not so much. At the college level, coaches recruit players but truly have no idea about the player’s makeup until he arrives on campus. Even when a group purports to be of great talent, other factors may render them unsuccessful. As a coach every year is different. This can be frustrating and debilitating without the proper perspective.

What do you do when you’re dealt a hand that isn’t a winner? When the players you’re coaching can’t take you to the Promised Land? Or, on the flip side, what do you do with a team full of stars? When you have players that simply destroy the competition based on pure talent?

Every year might be different, but coach, you don’t have to be different each year. There can be absolutes in your program or on your team that never change. Yes, it’s hard, but you can do it.

One of those absolutes is found in Proverbs 29:15–“A rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a youth left to himself is a disgrace to his mother” (HCSB).

The primary application of this verse pertains to the home, but let’s be honest. Coaches spend enormous amounts of time with players. Because of that, coaches must see themselves not as replacement parents, but certainly as partners and supplements to parental guidance.

One thing that must be constant every year, with good players or poor players, is the desire of the coach to impart more than baseball. Too often, coaches leave the talented players to themselves, failing to instill the necessary discipline and correction needed to be a great player and person for years to come. Too often, coaches leave the talent-less players to themselves, failing to engage them with dignity simply because they exist.

This must stop.

Coaches, you can offer much more than baseball to your players. From you, they need wisdom, correction, and discipline. They may not like it, but they need it. Refuse to leave them to themselves in these areas. Pray and learn what this means for the players under your influence. Players (because they are real people) left to themselves bring disgrace on themselves, their families, and the teams they play for. And, coach, you are at least partially responsible to do something about that. I’m praying for you!

Here’s a prayer for coaches:

Lord Jesus, you’ve given me such an incredible responsibility–coaching young people. I am desperate for your wisdom so that I can know how to impart it to my players. I don’t want to leave them to themselves and contribute to their ruin. But, I also don’t want to be overbearing. Show me the balance. Make me a great leader for my players. Amen.