I have to admit that somewhere along the line, coaching on purpose doesn’t feel worth it. It’s too difficult, requires too much effort, and takes too much introspection and focus. In my own coaching efforts, I reach that point of exhaustion, bewilderment, and wondering if it’s worth it…I reach that point at least once a week. And, then, I take a look again at the kids I’m coaching. I consider what they might be facing at home or school, and I get back to what I know is right for them. If you ever feel like giving up, just know that you’re not alone. There are others who are on this journey with you. We may be few in number, but maybe together we can figure out how to impact a generation of kids through the game.

Let’s keep going on the journey to coaching on purpose. For a quick review of what’s been covered so far, click here, or here, or here.

Last week, we examined how we were coached. All of us played for coaches who were either “for me” or wanted something “from me.” Now, here’s the sobering part. You’ve picked one of those ways as a coach and you’re just like someone from your past.

Here’s the question to ponder this week: who are your coaching heroes?

If you haven’t read it, it’s time to pick up a copy of Joe Ehrmann’s InsideOut Coaching. Trust me, it’s worth the money and then some. Ehrmann draws special attention to a shift in his thinking regarding his coaching heroes and role models. Oddly, but appropriately (read the book!), he settles on Moses, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and his college lacrosse coach.

What about you? You’re coaching because of someone. You coach the way you do because of someone. Who is it?

Here are a few ways to evaluate this.

1. Throughout your childhood and adolescence, what people meant the most to you? Why?

2. If you could take a trip back in time, what person or coach would you want to be?

3. What coach or person was and is larger than life to you?

4. In what subtle ways (talking, posture, walking, organizing, etc.) do you emulate a particular coach from the past?

5. Would you want your own children playing for your coaching hero?

6. From what other sources (like Scripture and literature in Ehrmann’s case) have you found people whose character traits would play well as a coach?

7. What would other people say about your coaching hero?

8. Do you truly coach on purpose, or are you just imitating someone else?

You’re going to live and coach like whomever you follow and idolize. Choose wisely.

As a side note, a friend asked me recently who my coaching mentors and heroes are. It’s a sobering question, but here they are, in no particular order: Robert Burns, Kerry Jones, Bill Miller, Richie Hawks, Mike Thieke, and Jesus Christ. By the way, not all of them coached a team and not all who coached became famous. But, from my point of view, they all coached on purpose, and that’s why I follow them.

As always, I’m praying for you in this journey. It’s not easy, but you’re not alone. Press on.