Would I want to play for me?

That question haunts me.

The first team I coached was a basketball team full of 6-and-7-year-olds at church. I was 16.

Since then, I’ve coached (in order) travel baseball, high school baseball, tee ball, machine pitch, travel baseball, and college baseball.

That adds up to a few hundred kids, high school, and college players I’ve been privileged to call my own for a time.

And that question still haunts me when I consider what kind of experience they have each had under me.

Would I want to play for me?

In his incredible book, InsideOut Coaching, Joe Ehrmann frames it this way: “What does it feel like to be coached by me?”

How would it feel? Would I look forward to being at practice? To having a game on the schedule? To our team being in a tournament?

We’ve traveled down this “Coaching on Purpose” path for a while, but I hope you stop and spend some quality time with this question.

Would you want to play for you?

No. I would get tired of being yelled at.

No. I don’t like always hearing about when I mess up.

No. My friends are there but we don’t really have any fun together.

No. My coach says a bunch of words I can’t understand and then gets mad at me when I can’t understand.

No. I don’t think that guy likes me very much.

(Insert your own self-evaluation here)

OR, another option…

Yes. He’s the only person who smiles at me all day.

Yes. He seems to like me, even though I’m not the best player.

Yes. I keep messing up the same things, and he just goes back over it again.

Yes. Life at home has been tough, and that guy gives me a place to take a break from it all.

Yes. He makes sure all of my teammates care about each other.

(Insert more reasons here)

You get the point. Wrestle with the question. And, by the way, just because you coach at the high school or college level doesn’t mean this doesn’t matter. It matters more than you think.

Would I want to play for me? Let it haunt you this week.