The Effective Sports Coach

In this day and age of mega salaries for professional athletes in any sports, it is not surprising that many still consider the talented players key to any successful sports team. Owners of professional teams and fans very commonly forget the effective sports coach is the most important person in the team. Instead of spending obscene amounts to lure the best players to the club, owners of sports franchises should invest the most optimum money in the effective sports coach.

He will determine the success or failure of the team. But what exactly does an effective coach possess? How does an effective coach deal with his players? How can the sports coach plan and conduct his campaign such that his players and team ultimate reach their peak performance in sports? These are some of the questions we will explore in a good coach in this article. If you were to study the history of effective coaching, you will not fail to notice that very often these coaches produce very cohesive teams.

Teams with a common goal, and players put the team and others before themselves. There is something magical about a team build on successful team spirit, and all effective sports coaches know this. That is why it is paramount from the on start that the coach builds this strong team spirit and cohesion right from the start. More than anything else, it is a team who knows the true value of team work, team spirit and team cohesion that will produce the most successful results and performances at the end of the day. Sports coaches do not need star players who play for themselves. They need players (not necessarily the most talented) who will die for the team. With these players, the coach can do wonders. Hence, for any aspiring person who wants to be an effective sports coach, build a team first before you train a team.

When team work and team spirit is no longer an issue, the sports coach can next turn his full attention to preparing a solid team for competition. To be successful, thorough preparation for sports competition must be the main aim of a coach when it comes to training the team. Thorough plans must be made for the season, right down to when and where the team breaks for their off-season. No details must be spared to prepare the team for competition. In every training session, the effective sports coach must let everyone know his own personal goals for that session. He must also dictate down to the number of repetitions each player must do for their drills. In effect, the he is reducing practice and competition to a science. As in science, the more certain an input is the more obvious will be the result. So when he decides even what time players must sleep before games, he is not overdoing it. The effective sports coach does his job well by merely being thoroughly prepared on all fronts.

One of these fronts that sports coach must ensure that it is at its optimum is in the field of sports psychology. He must include in his plans, target setting as a group, mental imagery practice, relaxation training, visualization training, mental psyching methods, and constant affirmation training and so on. All these sports psychology training must become part and parcel of a player’s regime that he breathes, eats and sleeps on them. He must ensure that this aspect of training is believed by players. Players who do not believe in this form of approach to sports must be weeded out right from the start. Which explain why the effective sports coach must begin his preparation by building the best team with the most common goals and perspectives in sports? Sports psychology, more than anything now, will determine whether the effective sports coach can produce results.

Knowing and executing the fundamentals of the game is also important. The sports coach must strive to ensure that his players master these basics fast until they become habits to the players. No matter how simple these skills are, players must understand their importance and perform them to their best. He will always have these skills practices included regularly in his training plans. If at any time these fundamentals are forgotten or taken for granted, then he must return to the beginning and tell the players about the very basics of the game, without which, peak performance in sports will not be possible.

Another important thing that sports coaches pay attention to knows his opponents and his team. Only when the effective sports coach understand his opponents and his team, will he be able to come up with the right game strategies to win the game. In this respect, the coach must consider his job to seek out scouting opportunities of his opponents and seek out their strengths and weaknesses. Once that is known, he can than derive the most creative and effective tactics to overcome his opponents and ensure that his team come out on top. The old maxim of “know thy enemy and thyself, and victory is assured!” holds true all the time under these sports situation.

And finally, part of knowing his own team, is management of his own players. Every team will be different. Therefore it is important for the effective sports coach be able to handle his players individually under differing circumstances. The job will no doubt be easier if the team has been first built right at the start. That is why the first factor is so important for the effective sports coach. To be an effective sport coach requires not just a passion for the sport or game. The sports coach must be able to build a team from a bunch of individuals, prepare them thoroughly, instilling sports psychology concepts in the players, work on the fundamentals, study his opponents and his team, and also manage his players effectively. Only when the sports coach masters these few areas will he be successfully in achieving peak performance in sports.

A Brief Theology of Sports

A number of years ago I was a speaker at a camp for young people. When the first group game time came, one of the leaders began by telling a parable based on Genesis 1-3. He described the joys of playing games in the Garden of Eden where the emphasis was simply on the joy of play. But one day the serpent entered the garden and tempted the Eden-dwellers with the idea of points. They gave in to the temptation and began keeping score in their games and this led to all kinds of evils – competition, lust for winning, cheating, anger and fights. They lost the simple joy of play.

The leader told this parable to let the young people know that this week at the camp they would be introduced to non-competitive games. There were no points, no winners or losers, just the joy of play. But there was one serious problem – the games were totally and completely boring. Day after day less and less of the young people showed up for the game time so that at the last one there were only a handful of young people there.

Is this an accurate portrayal of a theology of sports? Obviously, I don’t think so. I’d like to present a brief and broad theology of sports. If you don’t like that title you can think of it as, “Why we should watch the Super Bowl!”

History can be summed up in three words: creation, fall, redemption. So when you are looking at the theology of an issue you need to ask: What is its relation to or reflection of creation, of the fall, of redemption? In considering the issue of sports, I have added two further words to expand our consideration – incarnation and salvation (both which are, of course, tied to creation, fall and redemption).

Creation – God could have created everything to be gray and serviceable. Rather, He created a great diversity of color, size, shape, smell, texture, sounds, and tastes. Why did He do this? He did it so that the creation would be a reflection of His person and, in particular, His beauty. It is a masterpiece of function and form. The creation is a work of art.

Art is sometimes thought of as consisting of two types: visual art – like painting, sculpture, architecture, and, performing art – like drama, music, dancing. The Lord included both visual and performing art in the creation. Visual Art: flowers, mountains, trees; Performing Art: oceans and rivers, planetary orbits, clouds. Some things in creation combine the two.

Sports are a reflection of this creative activity of the Lord. They also combine visual art (painted fields/courts, team colors and logos) and performing arts (the actual play). Sports reflect the function and form of creation. There is beauty in a play that is run to perfection, in a well-thrown ball, in a diving catch, in turning a double play. Those things can bring excitement and happiness because they are a reflection of the way the world was created to be. They are a display of art (or artistry, if you prefer).

The Lord also created things in a specific order, not in a haphazard way, and He placed within the creation laws or rules by which nature operates. Sports also have an order to them and have rules by which they operate. Just as there are consequences for rebelling against the created order (such as disregarding gravity), so there are consequences for not following the rules in sports. Sports reflect the nature and principles of the creation. As in nature, this reflection, when done well, honors the Lord and gives the fan joy.

Fall – In the fall, man rebelled by sin and the curse which resulted from that fall touches every part of every thing – there is nothing that escapes. This means that we would expect to see evidence of the fall in sports and, of course, we do. There are sins of attitude as well as sins of action.
The deadliest of these sins is the idolatry of sports – when it holds the highest place in the affection of the heart and in the thinking of the mind. When life is planned around when games are played or when a person’s entire outlook is impacted by whether his team wins or loses, he has crossed the line into an unhealthy and sinful obsession.

There are also other wrong attitudes – when winning becomes the only thing that matters, when a person will do whatever it takes to be successful, when personal glory becomes the end-all, when people become arrogant or angry. These are all sins of the fall. The fall is reflected in sports by actions such as the use of steroids, of fixing games, of corking bats, of bench-emptying brawls, and a host of other things.

Incarnation – We are embodied beings and the incarnation validates that our bodies are more than merely containers for our souls. Even our eternal state will consist of bodies – glorified bodies but bodies nevertheless. The Christian life is not about condemning the body but bringing it into subjection to honor the Lord.

Sports are one of the things that help us to do that. Playing a sport requires discipline and the disciplining of the body for sports can carry over into our spiritual lives. Sports require determination, delayed gratification, a toughening-up of the body. Sports can also teach how to work with a team, how to submit to authority, how to encourage those not as naturally gifted as others, how to hit hard. And they teach patience. Even time on the bench can be sanctifying.

Sports are one way that we honor the truth and reality of the incarnation and glorify God by using our bodies in God-honoring ways.

Salvation – The history of salvation is a drama. A drama, to be effective, depends at the least on knowledge, motion and timing. In the drama of salvation, the Lord had a game-plan, knowledge, before the beginning of time. At the creation this game-plan was put in motion, what we know as the people and events of unfolding history. And it was all done according to God’s timing – Galatians tells us that Christ came in the fullness of time. That drama continues today. It is what C.S. Lewis called the true myth.

Today, actors/actresses in drama need to know their lines (knowledge), they need to know where they are supposed to be in a scene (motion) and they need to know when they are to play their part and say their lines (timing). Great drama also has that sense of being a true myth.

This dramatic notion of knowledge, motion and time is reflected in sports. The knowledge is seen in the plays and strategies that are a part of sports. The motion is seen in the carrying out of those strategies and they are only successful if the timing of everyone involved is correct. Sports portray drama action and also have that mythic aspect to them. It may be that part of sports appeal comes from the fact that they are universal in being part of human life. Some would say that sports transcend entertainment and take on a meaning that is significant and important in the lives of people who enjoy and devote time to sports.

The heart of our salvation is the saving work of Christ – he gave himself for us, body and blood.

Sports are one of the only arenas in life where you can offer your body for the good of others. Many plays in sports – a block, a diving catch, a physically demanding gymnastic routine – are the giving up of the body for the sake of the team. This is a display of the gospel.

Redemption – Redemption is the delight in restoration. When that redemption is accomplished completely at the consummation it becomes glorification – that will be full joy and unhindered delight. The joys and delights of this life are gifts of grace. They are never completely satisfying but they give a taste of what that complete satisfaction will be like.

Sports, for the fans, are one of those gifts that bring joy and delight (also at times disappointment so we learn how to deal with that in a healthy and godly way). They are to be enjoyed in themselves for what they are – a gift of grace. The enjoyment never lasts or is total but it is a taste of that complete satisfaction that causes us to long for more. So while a sport can be enjoyed in itself, it points us to more than just this momentary enjoyment; it reveals the longing for everlasting joy. The sports fan who recognizes this greater purpose is viewing that enjoyment from a biblical perspective. Temporal enjoyment is a gift but it is not an end. When treated as an end, it borders on the idolatrous. We must train our joy to be experienced as part of God’s purpose.

Like all other things in life, we are to take sports captive and make them obedient to Christ. Sports viewing and sports participation can become transforming activities when we view sports as one of the ways that God is extending to us His grace and in recognizing that it is a means to long for the greater joy that only Christ can give.

There is much more that could be said. I have not even touched on Paul’s use of sports’ language and his use of sports as a metaphor for the spiritual life. I have not talked about how sports can be used as an evangelistic tool to spread the gospel. I have not mentioned how sports should blend physical strength and courage with meekness and love. I have not referred to the relationship between sports and our spiritual warfare. But I hope I have given enough to make you think – and perhaps to think of sports a little differently than you have before.

Top Reasons Why Athletes Should See a Sports Medicine Doctor

The life of professional athletes isn’t easy. They have to participate in intensive exercises and training activities constantly to deliver maximum performance in front of an audience.

While these activities are crucial for athletes to stay in shape, they can also damage their body.

Sports medicine is a growing healthcare field dedicated for treatment of injuries related to sports and exercise like fractures, dislocations, sprains and strains, tendonitis, overtraining syndrome and degenerative diseases.

Besides injury treatment, it also focuses on helping the athletes improve their performance prevent future injuries.

Despite being a relatively new medical specialty, it has become essential for athletes thanks to its ability to address their specific needs and concerns.

Who is a Sports Medicine Doctor?

A sports medicine doctor is a licensed and trained individual who focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of injuries related to athletic activities.

These specialists treat their patients using physical therapy, orthopedic surgery, massage therapy, exercises, and other techniques so that they can return to their desired activity level quickly, safely and successfully.

They also teach the athletes on nutrition to help them maintain an optimal level of health and fitness and achieve their sports performance goals.

The sports medicine team includes sports physiotherapists, sports massage therapists, sports orthopaedic surgeons, sports podiatrists, athletic trainers, sports dieticians, exercise physiologists and sports biomechanists.

Common Sports Injuries:

Some common sports injuries athletes suffer on the filed include ankle sprain, groin pull, hamstring strain, knee injury, tennis elbow, Achilles tendinitis, concussion, shoulder injury, hip bursitis, quadriceps strain and shin splints.

They can also experience the exacerbation of pre-existing health problems like diabetes, asthma, allergies and arthritis.

Reasons to Visit a Sports Medicine Doctor:

There are many reasons for an athlete to see a sports physician.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

(1) Customized Care:

Sports medicine doctors are specially trained healthcare professionals who have an in-depth understanding of what could be the impacts of an exercise on their patient’s body. They collaborate with physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons to develop a customized treatment for their patient.

(2) Injury Prevention:

Sports physicians can provide the athletes with expert advice on the how to prevent injuries during the practice or play and how to reduce the likelihood of resurfacing a previous injury. They also conduct pre-participation physical exams of their patients to determine whether they are fit enough to resume sports activities.

(3) Pain Management:

Sports injuries may lead to several orthopedic issues that often cause chronic pain, making it difficult for the athletes to return to the game and carry out their activities.

While the primary aim of sports physicians is always to diagnose, treat and resolve the injury, they also use pain management therapies like electrical stimulation, spinal decompression, prescription medications and injected medications, to help their patients prevent or defer the need for surgery and continue their daily activities without any hindrance.

(4) Rehabilitation:

For an athlete, a return from an injury can be a complicated and lengthy process. If you find yourself sidelined by an injury, a sports physician can help you restore your movement and function and return to same or higher level of fitness quickly.

(5) Improving Athletic Performance:

Sports physicians diagnose and treat uncomfortable conditions to help you deliver your maximum performance, both on and off the field.

They also suggest you exercises and techniques to improve your strength and balance that contribute to your success as an athlete.

(6) Improving overall Fitness:

Sports physicians help athletes prevent muscle sprains, strains and tears to keep their bodies in shape.

They also conduct full body and musculoskeletal examinations to help them maintain their overall fitness.

(7) Non-Surgical Treatment:

Sports physicians try to avoid surgery in less severe cases and instead focus on treating injuries with non-surgical methods like physical therapy and acupuncture.

These treatments are often non-invasive and require shorter recovery time.

(8) State-of-the-Art Surgical Treatment:

In the cases where surgery is indispensable, sports physicians use advanced surgical procedures, like arthroscopic ACL repair, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, hip arthroscopy, stem cell therapy and rotator cuff repair to restore the function of injured areas.

(9) Education & Nutrition:

Sports medicine doctors teach you how to fuel your body properly to deliver greater performance consistency.They also focus on each athlete’s dietary needs depending on his/her general health and athletic goals.

(10) Rehabilitated Mobility:

Sports injuries can impair your mobility and flexibility, thus preventing you from conducting your athletic activities. Sports physicians help you restore function, increase strength and flexibility, improve range of motion, and prevent injuries from occurring.

(11) Improving Confidence:

An athlete fights with different type of injuries on the field that could make him/her self-conscious. Sports physicians address their specific needs, thus helping them regain their confidence and enjoy their game.

Sports Apparel – A Fashionable Accessory

With the passage of time you will find that sports apparel whether national international or Olympic is becoming more sophisticated and trendy. The present day sports wear is so much more advanced giving the user a better and more comfortable fit. Even the materials used for sportswear are so varied, ensuring ease of use to the wearer.

The sportswear industry has been booming since quite a few years now. This could mainly be credited to the fact that the youth of today are becoming overtly interested in sports and games. Moreover being associated with a particular team is the other contributing factor especially now that there are ever so many television channels telecasting sports events, be it big or small. And supporting your most preferred team with their respective colors has more or less become the order of the day. You will find that people even wear sports apparel for parties these days flaunting their support of a specific group.

Stores typically involved in the selling of sports goods also stock up sportswear because they feel that they can tempt youngsters with the exciting and attractive colors of the apparels. Invariably those supporting a particular team will buy the whole gamut of sportswear ranging from jerseys to hats to be and feel a part of the whole affair.

Now there is another reason for this unadulterated popularity for sportswear especially for those who are in the teams. It is not only to flaunt your image as a supporter but sports persons wear such apparel both for show as well as safety. Most of the sports fabrics and other material go through various treatments that make them withstand pressure and at the same time are very comfortable for the user.

Earlier sports shoes only had rubber soles, but with the advances in technology, all sorts of features have been incorporated into the shoes like airtight soles, padding both on the soles and the sides of the shoe offering the sportsman optimum comfort and security. Different sports and games have different shoes.

In the same way you will see that certain sports shirts have extra padding on the shoulders and the chest to protect the wearer from sudden impacts that involve bodily contacts in games like soccer, baseball, rugby etc. Also the other most necessary apparels are the knee and the elbow pads for protection against hurt and scraping.

Even minor items like a sports carry bag are custom made to suit the convenience for the users. Some of these bags can even be adjusted to fit the volume of sports gear that is being carried. So as you can well see, the trendy sports apparel and Olympic apparel are here for good.