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Tag Archives: coaching

When Confidence Fades Away

There was a time in my life when I believed that I could do anything.  A few months after graduating from the University of Delaware, I felt like I was missing something.  This emptiness led me to pursue a leadership trade school in Minnesota called Tentmakers.  Following my completion of this youth ministry training in March of 1993, I was equipped with the tools I was previously missing.  This training propelled me to new levels of confidence.  Unfortunately, beginning in 1994 this confidence faded away, never to fully recapture again.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.

During my fifteen years of coaching, I’ve seen similar situations occur on the athletic field.  Golf is probably the one sport where confidence is essential.  One day golfers may flirt with shooting par and the next can’t break 50 for 9 holes.  Meanwhile, I’ve seen dominant pitchers be unhittable one day and the next can’t find the strike zone.  Confidence is like fuel that drives individuals.  When it runs out its easy for people to become lost, a shell of who they once were.

For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught, Proverbs 3:26.

There is a term which refers to someone floundering, flopping back and forth without any sense of direction.  This state is often a by product of confidence that fades away.  If you have ever reached this point in life like me, Solomon encourages people to lean on God.  While you may not regain the heights you once obtained, the Lord promises to restore hope to those who have endured the pain of lost confidence.

by Jay Mankus

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Keeping Your Heads Held High

After a fairly successful coaching career over the past 20 years in youth sports, I find myself with my greatest task to date.  After a couple of coaches bailed, I have volunteered to help a developmental baseball team at the 13-15 year old level.  Unfortunately, every opponent so far has been much more advanced, leading to lop-sided results.  Thus, at this point all I can do is encourage the players to keep their heads held high.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin, 1 Peter 4:1.

You don’t have to play sports to experienced being smeared or creamed.  Depending upon who you are, what you do or where you work, its not uncommon to come in contact with far superior individuals.  If these people carry an attitude, ego or pride, its easy to feel helpless, overwhelmed and unqualified.  Yet, even if you’re staring failure in the face, its essential to keep your head held high, knowing you gave your best effort.

As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God, 1 Peter 4:2.

The latter is the most crucial element in times of failure.  Knowing you are beaten is one thing.  However, the moment you give up mentally, its not worth even competing anymore.  Sure, human nature will tempt those who have gotten use to losing.  Nonetheless, those who cling to perseverance will be rewarded in the end.  You might not see progress right away, but the Lord will honor and lift up those who keep their head held high.

by Jay Mankus

 

And Then I Three Putted

Golf is one of those hobbies that parallels life.  Sometime you may be right down the middle while others will find you deep into the woods or within a hazard.  Unlike most sports, practice doesn’t always insure progress.  Thus, the game of golf can be cruel causing even professionals to waste an amazing shot with a three putt.

Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, James 1:3.

During my final year of coaching high school golf, I drove a par 4 with a 2 iron hybrid.  Unfortunately, when I got to the green, I had a 40 foot putt over a ridge to a hole on the other side going away from me.  Focusing on the line, I forgot to hit the ball hard enough, ending up 1o feet short.  Two putts later this once and a lifetime drive was a distant memory ruined by a three putt.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything, James 1:4.

In this life, its common to celebrate prematurely, before a day, round or year is over.  As over confidence or pride lures individuals into a false sense of security, victory is often replaced by defeat.  Thus, before you complete your next competition, project or task, finish strong.  Or else you may be like me, interrupting a moment of glory with the sobering reality, “and then I three putted.”

by Jay Mankus

 

Just Let It Go

Whether you’re a coach, parent or simply people watching at a local mall, it won’t long before a temper tantrum ensues.  Emotions are hard to control, especially for those who wear them on their selves.  Usually, the spark that ignites this change in behavior is fueled by the inability to let something go.  As the mind dwells on unfortunate events of the past, souls can be poisoned, transforming a nice person into a bitter complainer.

The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people, Acts 4:1.

Certain people go through phases, either as a result of cultural trends, a mid life crisis or trials in life.  Over time, most individuals break out of these unusual moods.  During the first century, Jewish leaders expected the disciples to go back to their normal lives following Jesus’ ascension.  However, as these men continued to preach, teach and minister to the needy, authorities became concerned.  Calling Peter and John aside, they whispered, “just let it go.”

They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead, Acts 4:2.

There are times in life that people face moral dilemmas.  Should you follow the law or God?  Perhaps, a coach, employer, parent or teacher tells you to do something which is in direct conflict with your belief system.  What will you do?  One of the main reasons God gave each person a conscience is to help you in these awkward moments.  Thus, when the Devil tempts you to look the other way, the Holy Spirit urges the soul to don’t let it go.  In the end, test everything, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 so that the choices you make will not be full of regret.

by Jay Mankus

 

My Dad

Since 1964, there have been several memorable songs in America and throughout the world.  One of the most popular, My Girl, was the first Temptation single to feature David Ruffin, the voice which transformed this group’s popularity.  However, on Father’s Day, I wonder why there hasn’t there been a similar song to honor dads, something like “My Dad.”  Although I will leave this up to professional song writers, I do think its vital to remember my own dad on this day.

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him, Psalm 103:13.

My father was six feet tall as a twelve year old, a size that probably saved his life as the Russians began to invade his native Lithuania.  Fleeing his homeland and hiding in the Black Forest for weeks, my dad came to America with the clothes on his back.  Nothing was given to him as he earned a second language English, devoted himself to education and fell in love with the game of football, playing for the University of Pennsylvania before moving on to the Wharton School of Business.  From here, my dad went on to live the American dream, working his way up the corporate ladder before retiring after thirty years of service with the same company.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation, Psalm 68:5.

Today, I wish I had the same financial resources which my father provided, yet a different calling took me in another direction.  Though I dabbled with a career in golf as an architect and P.G.A. professional, the Holy Spirit nudged me toward youth ministry.  Weaving in coaching, teaching and writing, I’m not sure what the ending of my story on earth will look like.  Nonetheless, I am grateful for a wonderful father, encouraging family and a faith that steers me near the narrow road.  From here, all I can do is honor my father and mother, provide for my wife and children and only hope that I can have as much as an impact as my own father had on me.  Happy Father’s Day to all of you dad’s!

by Jay Mankus

Taking A Back Seat To Your Children

In my younger days, naive and immature, I cared more about my men’s softball team than my oldest son’s T-Ball game.  Thus, as other men were coaching and influencing my son James, I got lost in trying to relive and hold on to my youth.  Learning the hard way, I realized Father Time couldn’t be beaten before I took a back seat where my children could be in the forefront.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3.

Unfortunately, too many young men never see the light, blinded by selfish ambition.  Fueled by pride, egos cause adults to remain the center of attention, long after their own high school graduation.  While hanging out in bars reminiscing about the Glory Days, far too many children are growing up without a role model to emulate.  Subsequently, teenagers often look toward pop culture to find meaning in life, only to be disappointed in the long run.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full, John 10:10.

After hearing the phrase “its better to give than receive” countless times throughout life, I finally tasted a piece of this fruit over the weekend.  As a proud parent on Sunday, watching my children all place in the top 3 of their age group, with James earning first, 11th overall, in the 2015 Blue Hen 5K, I realized all those times I went jogging with my kids finally paid off.  Although I was the only one in the family who didn’t medal, it didn’t matter.  I found joy in taking a back seat to my children, observing each one begin to find their niche, place and calling in life.  If you haven’t taken your seat, find one soon.

by Jay Mankus

 

What the Hell is Going On Out There?

Legendary coach Hank Stram roamed the sidelines for nearly 2 decades in the American Football League, most notably for the Kansas City Chiefs.  Thanks to Steve Sabol of NFL Films, Stram was regularly microphoned, giving the public access to Hank’s commentary on the game he coached.  Subsequently, archives exist of  in game reactions to his teams play on the gridiron.  One of Stram’s famous sayings was “what the hell is going on out there?”

After this past week of events in the world, perhaps you are like me thinking, “what the hell is going on?”  Tension on the Gaza strip, terrorists shooting down a passenger airline and countries falling apart at the seams.  Like a perfect storm brewing in the tropics, hurricane force winds are starting to impact society.  Have these signs always been there or has the world lost touch with their Creator?

Unfortunately, the only person you can control is yourself.  Despite this truth, failure is inevitable, Romans 3:23.  Thus, you have a world full of imperfect people, tempted by evil, power and selfish desires.  These elements create conditions where hell meets earth.  To answer the question what the hell is going on out there is simple using biblical terms.  Innocent children, Luke 15:11-13, are swayed by curiosity, seeking to find pleasure in life.  Void of meaning, prodigals wander around longing for a father’s love and forgiveness.  This vicious cycle continues til someone displays the love of Jesus.  Until the lost experience agape love, hell on earth will linger.  May God’s grace and mercy come quickly.

by Jay Mankus