It doesn’t take long for a coach to determine who wants to learn and who doesn’t. On every youth, high school, or college team, there are players who soak up coaching and those who dismiss it. Here’s a quick lesson for coaches: give your best effort to those who are willing to learn. Clearly, coaches must coach all the players, but don’t waste your best time and energy on players who are resistant to coaching, regardless of their talent. Failure is their only teacher, not you.

Is this biblical? You bet it is. Proverbs 9:8–“Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you, reprove a wise man, and he will love you” (NASB).

The scoffer, that person or player who hates instruction, will not appreciate or receive what you have to say or teach. He must, unfortunately, learn the hard way. You’ll know the “scoffer.” He’s consistent. He never listens. He does his own thing. He cares only for himself. Don’t waste your best effort on him.

On the other hand, the wise person/player desires to become wiser and better at life and the game. Coach, pour yourself into that one. Give him your best. Teach. Instruct. Mold. Shape. Give, give, give. Don’t hold back. Offer him correction and he will love you even more.

Coach, you are probably worn out because of players who won’t listen and care only for themselves. But, do you have even just one player who receives game and life instruction? Find him. Focus on him. See what’s possible in and through him. Pray for more of him.

Here’s a prayer for coaches:

Lord Jesus, like you, I’m often surrounded by people and players who do not want instruction. Help me to leverage my best time and effort toward those willing to listen and learn. Make me a good mentor, especially for them. I don’t want to discount the others, but I realize they might only learn the hard way. Give me endurance and encouragement as I lead young people. Amen.