“… that according to the riches of his glory, he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ my dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” –Ephesians 3:17-19
I just started my 8th season of coaching volleyball at the collegiate level, and God has entrusted me with 15 amazing athletes on my team. Here are 3 things that I hope my athlete’s know this season:
1. My Opinion Isn’t Ultimate
My opinion of you does matter, but it isn’t ultimate and I hope it doesn’t define you. I don’t want you to worry about the opinion I have of you. I chose you to be on my team. I want you on my team. I’m excited you’re on my team. If I chose you to be here, imagine how much more God chose you. God chose you to be His. He wants you to be His. He is excited that you are His. He made you His through Jesus. I pray and hope this season that you can grasp that love- just how deep God’s love is for you- how wide and long and high and deep it is. That’s the opinion that matters. You are enough, because He made you enough through Jesus.
2. I Will Challenge You To Be Excellent
I love to win, and I hate to lose. I’m competitive just like you. My job as a coach is to draw out the best in you. I want you to be excellent. In fact, I will challenge you to be excellent in everything you do--sport, school, nutrition, fitness, friendships and relationships with others. It’s my job to demand you to be great. My hope is that as you experience God’s love for you, that you would be rooted and grounded in it, and that you would want to be excellent in all areas of your life. God has blessed you with amazing athletic abilities. I hope your response to these giftings is a “thank you performance.” Every practice, every competition, every moment of your life is an opportunity to praise and thank God. That produces a desire for excellence in everything you do. Be excellent. And don’t worry, I’ll be right here demanding excellence from you every day.
3. I Coach Because I Love You
I love sport, and I’m passionate about it. But, what I’m more passionate about is you. I coach because I love you and I want to see you grow. I want to see you fail and I want to see you succeed. I want to see you push yourself past what you think you are capable. I want you to learn who you are. I want you to leave my team strong and confident. I want you to know your value and worth. But, ultimately I hope that you will know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, and that you would be filled with the fullness of God. I coach because my own journey through sport has taught me all of these things, and I want you to know them too. I coach because I love you.
Athletes, my prayer for you is Ephesians 3:16-19. I pray that Christ will dwell in your hearts through faith, and that you will trust in God’s opinion over mine. I pray that you will experience the depth of God’s love for you, and that you would strive to be excellent as an overflow. I pray that you would filled with the fullness of God, and that you would enjoy this season to come.
Sarah is currently the assistant volleyball coach at LSU, where she is entering her 8th season coaching at the Division I level. She played collegiately at the University of Kentucky where she was a 2 time All-American, SEC Player of the Year, and is also in the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame. After her collegiate career, she played professionally in France for 1 season before starting her coaching journey. She is passionate about watching athletes figure out who they truly are during their collegiate years, in hopes that they come to know Jesus.