Despite the News: Coaches Change Lives for Good

It Was a Long Time Ago, But Some Things You Never Forget

One guy was puking his guts out. Groans could be heard from nine others. Heavy breathing and small clouds of vapor hovered in front of all of our faces, as we gasped for air in the cold October night. None of it seemed to faze coach Cimo’. “You play like you practice boys. You play like you practice. I want everything you can give me in these last sprints. Everything.”

It’s a mantra you don’t soon forget when you’re 17 and two and half hours of the high school football practice is in the past. The rest of my teammates went to the showers 30 minutes ago but the ten defensive backs on the team were still out practicing.

Coach Cimo’ knew we were undersized. He knew we were not the fastest. And he knew that if we weren’t better coached, better conditioned, better skilled in identifying and executing our reads, and just generally tougher than our opponents, we were not going to be able to get the job done. So he worked us harder than anyone else. He drilled us in our reads until they became instinct. And he pushed us beyond limits that we thought we had.

“You play like you practice boys. You play like you practice. I want everything you can give me. Everything.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about coach Cimo’. He was one of a long line of coaches who powerfully marked my life. He’s in my “hall of heroes.” Coaches come in all sizes and styles. And despite the recent spate of despicable coaches in the news, most coaches at every level, whether in sports or life, are people of great integrity and passion for their specialty and love for their proteges.

A coach knows the objective. A coach knows that the job is to prepare those under his care for a mission. A coach knows that the battle ahead will always be tougher than youth and inexperience thinks it will be. So a coach works to prepare for a future that will have more success than failure, more victory than losses, more opportunity than closed doors.

Every church planter needs a coach.

A coach is someone who knows the terrain ahead because he’s been there and scouted it out. He brings back information, sifted through experience, and gives it to you so that you can make better decisions and have more success. He doesn’t make decisions for you. He doesn’t control your decisions. He helps you achieve the best outcomes. He pushes sometimes. He challenges sometimes. He celebrates sometimes. He affirms sometimes. He confronts sometimes. He loves at all times.

A coach helps you practice well so that you play at your maximum God-glorifying best.

Every planter needs a coach and every planter is in training to become a coach. Every Paul had a Barnabas. Every Timothy needs a Paul. If you are planting without a coach, contact me at I’d love to hook you up with a coach to help you serve God in your generation.

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