Coaching From The Sidelines

Are You Ready For Some Football?!

This time of year, most men answer this question with an excited “yes” as they raise their buffalo wing in the air! My excitement is even greater this year. My oldest son is beginning his second year in the Boys Club league. He took last year off to play fall baseball. I was a little disappointed but recognized that at that time, baseball was his passion. He is still discovering his passions.

When he told me several weeks ago that he wanted to play football again, I was very excited! Admittedly, I was a little nervous. He is in the 7-9 year old league and is almost 10 years old. He had the size to play but I couldn’t help but wonder what a year off would do after only playing one year. I didn’t know how he would do, he didn’t know what he could do and the coach didn’t know him at all. I wasn’t the only dad in this situation. There were some “first timers” gathered around me. Whether we wanted to admit it or not, we wanted our boy to excel!

The third night of practice, Nathan was tearing up the drills as he took his time and applied correct form. Let it be known that any athletic ability comes from his mother! There were a few things we needed to correct, but overall, he was nailing it! The coach even used Nathan’s form as an example! I was beaming all the while trying to play it cool. You know how that drill goes! Then, the unimaginable happened. The coach had the offense run some plays and Nathan was placed at the center position in shotgun formation! We hadn’t worked on this. He had never played center. The first snap was on target…it was perfect. Then the second snap came and the ball flew to Timbuktu. (I have to admit that even though it was a high snap, I was impressed with the distance!) The urge to run out to help came over me. After another high snap, Nathan settled down and made every snap after that on target.

I noticed the dad beside me doing the same thing I was doing with his son. He was talking to himself as though his son was right there. We were coaching from the sideline. We couldn’t run onto the practice field. We just had to watch as our boys learned their new positions and applied the things we had taught.

My son is growing up! There are going to be many other situations where I coach him from the sidelines. He will be out on the field of life making decisions and discovering what to do and how to do it. Dads, the huddle is so important! The huddle is your home. That is where your sons learn to be godly men and your daughters learn to become godly women. You are their coach! You are their dad! Now is the time to put values, morals and most of all, God into their hearts and minds. The Bible says:

“DIRECT YOUR CHILDREN ONTO THE RIGHT PATH, AND WHEN THEY ARE OLDER, THEY WILL NOT LEAVE IT.” PROVERBS 22:6 NLT

There will be times when you want to live life for them or rescue them, but trust that the things you have put into their lives will shine through. Trust that God will guide them as they make decisions. Sure, they may make a bad decision or a mistake. But, assure them that you are on the sidelines for them when they need to run off the field after a penalty!

My son still needs plenty on coaching. He is almost 10 years old. There is so much for him to learn. But, I’m seeing his independence come through. I’m seeing his decision making skills increase. He is by no means fully perfect and mature. He is growing! He has allowed the things that my wife and I have taught him to help him. I don’t mind coaching from the sidelines as much. I love to watch him succeed. But, he knows that I will always be there either in the huddle or on the side cheering him on!

I’m his biggest fan!

– Article contributed by David Giles, ARCA Racing Chaplain/Director of Redline Racing.