Coach, Put Jesus In

 

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Jesus was tough, selfless, humble, coachable, 100% all in, dedicated, willing to sacrifice and take one for the team …

On top of all that he could heal the sick and the injured, walk on water, produce free food, calm huge and angry crowds …

Why wouldn’t you want Him on your team?

Why wouldn’t you put Him in?

In other words, as coaches, let's talk about Jesus more with our athletes. Let's point to Him as the best example as often as we can.

Just imagine if every single one of the players on your team was as virtuous and hard working as Jesus.

That would be a dream team.

All effort with no attitude.

Yes, thank you I’ll coach that team.

Whenever we see a teammate who runs hard, gives 100% effort all the time, always has great attitude and never complains ... that teammate inspires us. We admire them and we would do anything for them. We love that teammate. And we should. That is one of the beautiful aspects of team.

In the same exact way, Jesus was all of that for us. He gave every drop of His blood for us. It is physically impossible for someone to give more than Jesus did.

If we can help our athletes to see Jesus in that way, as the ideal teammate, as the friend who would do anything for them, there isn't a more impactful path for them to develop a life-long relationship with our Lord and grow to love their faith and live it because they want to, not because someone is making them do it.

Coach Mike Orlando will be one of our speakers at our upcoming Director of Sports Ministry Conference.

Here is a short example of bringing Jesus into the team.

 
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Click on the image to watch video

 

One of the aims of the conference is to equip and inspire every diocese and every school to have a person who will help the coaches integrate virtue, mentoring, ceremony and Catholic Identity more intentionally into their team.

There is no better place to reach our young people who are athletes than in the environment of the team.

Click here to register.

 
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Coaches Pat Aiello and Jim O'Dea of Pinecrest Academy Lacrosse in Cumming, GA started two new traditions at the Varsity Level this week.

Being that SportsLeader is for coaches by coaches, after 12 years we have learned so many different ways to integrate our faith into coaching. Sharing them and helping other coaches do the same is one of our favorite parts of our mission.

Maybe you have some great traditions you would like to share.

Building The Fortress

As a team including the coaches, we gather before the game and "bring it in really tight" with the coaches in the middle, this is our fortress, our arms of protection around each other as a family. During this time, we recite the St. Patrick breastplate prayer:

Christ with me, 
Christ before me, 
Christ behind me, 
Christ in me, 
Christ beneath me, 
Christ above me, 
Christ on my right, 
Christ on my left, 
Christ when I lie down, 
Christ when I sit down, 
Christ when I arise, 
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, 
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, 
Christ in every eye that sees me, 
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Coach's Prayer

During stretches/warmups, one of the coaches, (in our case the head coach has volunteered for this), should go to each student athlete while holding a crucifix and pray with them for whatever intention the student asks for. This is a great way for the coach to serve the player spiritually as well as create a strong bond with the player in faith.

You simply approach each athlete and ask them, "What would you like me to pray for - for you right now?"

And then pray for and with them.

As I spoke with Coach Aiello, he told me, "that was one of the most powerful and inspiring things I've ever done as a coach. I will always do it before every game from now on."

What a tremendous memory and what an inspiration for all of those athletes to see their coach living his faith because he loves it.

 
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Prayer

Lord, give me the Strength and the Courage to talk to my players about You. Help me to be a witness for You and may my words and actions point to You and give You glory and honor. May I help them see that You are what we should all strive to be. Amen.

 
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Luke 9: 23-26

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Matthew 11: 6

And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.

 
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