The Olympics are over and it’s safe to say that team GB are extremely proud about their achievement. Clearly a lot of money, planning and expertise went behind achieving their record gold medal tally. But let’s not forget the background work of the coaches and support staff. Of note, the English Institute of Sport ensured cutting-edge sport science support for the athletes through strength and conditioning coaches, biomechanists, exercise physiologists, nutritionists, and psychologists but performance lifestyle coaches?
Ian Jeffreys explains:
“While as coaches we can closely monitor, and to an extent control, the activities of our athletes when they are in our environment, this is simply not possible when an athlete leaves… The type of environment that they create, and the activities they undertake, away from the training environment, will play a massive role in the overall level of recovery. Only by creating a Performance Lifestyle away from the training arena can athletes hope to maximise recovery and subsequent performance. A vital role in creating this environment is education and empowerment. To develop an athlete’s ability to make informed decisions in their recovery and lifestyle requires that we educate and empower athletes in a range of key areas that have the potential to affect their recovery and performance.”
Empowering athletes to make informed decisions in their recovery and lifestyle… this seems obvious but in practice this approach takes a lot more effort than simply setting up a few training drills… it means taking that bit of extra time to invest in the athlete and the person.
Have a read of 2 Corinthians 1:21-24 “It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. The reason I didn’t return to Corinth was to spare you from a severe rebuke. But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by faith that you stand firm.”
Here Paul shares his heart for the church in Corinthian. In the main, Paul is away from this group of believers but his desire is in the ilk of a performance lifestyle coach: he wants the believers to be empowered and so stand by their own faith, not his.
So here’s our challenge. As Christians in sports clubs let’s keep praying for opportunities to ‘say’ something about our faith in the Lord Jesus. Moreover, let’s rely on God for the heart and strength to go the extra-mile beyond ‘saying’. Let’s pour out our lives that our mates might learn to stand by their own faith one day. A practical starting point may simply be not to rush off after training but instead hang around that extra 10 minutes. In God we trust.