February, 1995, the semi-finals of the state wrestling tournament in Illinois. Six wrestling mats were out and it was so loud you could barely hear yourself think. The semi’s are THE most exciting round at the state tournament. Our 125 pounder (my son) was embroiled in a tremendous match in which we had made a furious comeback. The last 1 minute of the match had been back and forth with points flying. As the buzzer went off to end the match the two wrestlers were emotionally and physically drained. The wrestlers had lost track of the score and didn’t even know who had won. My son looked to our corner and said, “Did I win?” He was nearly staggering. I clapped my hands several times hard and held up a fist. “OVERTIME! OVERTIME! LET”S GO!” I shouted. The match was tied. All I could do now was give encouragement in the strongest possible way.
There were also times on the football field where it was our job to encourage. The 4th quarter and you’re barely hanging on to a lead, or your behind by 6 and driving with 2 minutes to go. You look out to the field and you encourage your athletes to hang tough, suck it up, KEEP PLAYING HARD! Sometimes you don’t have time for strategy – there is only time to help them be strong.
3 Ways To Encourage
“Encouragement is awesome, it can actually change the course of another persons day, week, or life”. Chuck Swindoll
At this point I must give credit to Pastor Chris Chambers of First Baptist Church of Savoy. It was through his sermon on encouragement that I drew on many of the following concepts.
In Hebrews 10:23-25, the author talks about “how we may spur one another on…encouraging one another.” We all have a time when we need an encourager and we also need to be an encourager. It’s more than just compliments, although that’s important. It’s giving confidence and support. Here are 3 ways to encourage your athletes:
COMFORT – Uplift, gently strengthen. There are times when our athletes need a helping hand to be pulled up out of deep waters when they’re down.
STRENGTHEN – Give confidence, help to be strong when not strong. Are there times when our athletes have self doubts? When the confidence is waning?
EXHORT – Strongly encourage, implore. Yeah, this is what I did many times as a coach. It’s what I did on the wrestling mats and on the football fields. It is certainly what I was doing in that wrestling match that went into overtime.
I like these methods of encouragement and would welcome your thoughts.
By The Way…
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Coach L. Albaugh DBLITY
Coach Albaugh coached high school football in Illinois for 28 years. During that time he coached at every level and on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive and defensive line coach for four undefeated teams and was a defensive coordinator in his last 11 years, twice reaching the semi finals of the Illinois state playoffs.