Train up a child

Read this morning about an athlete who had the world at his feet at a stage and things have gone array and was arrested with allegedly possession of drugs. It made me think, what could have been done differently when this young man was an athlete?

It drew me back to Proverbs 22v6 “Train up a child in the way they should go and when they old they will not depart from it.” This is a major challenge for adults and specifically parents. In the world we live in with fatherless families, due to various circumstances, it also highlights the role of spiritual fathers! My question is then, do we as coaches, not then also fall into this categories. Much is written these days of mentors and mentorship programs and their roles both within the sporting world and in everyday society.

Its about teaching, sharing, living life together and holding each other accountable. So it takes me back to my question – what differently could have been done when this athlete was a young developing individual? I don’t know enough about him personally and his circumstances to make a judgement and in any case its not my role to judge, but I do wonder the role that his various coaches, fathers, mentors could have or did play?

In my opinion its part of our role as a coach, father, spiritual father to live by this Proverb. Suppose the question remains – ‘Am I willing to?’

This has been a challenge to me personally over the last 12 years of coaching athletes at various levels and even closer to home over the last special 16months as Zoe came into our lives. This is a daily challenge to me and I feel should be to all coaches!


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