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Shoulda Woulda Coulda

I’ve witnessed my fair share of teams losing matches they should have won. It reminds me of the biblical story of Joshua 7, where Ai defeated Israel. In today’s post, I will look at lessons from Joshua, Israel's recovery, and how college athletic programs can apply these lessons to bounce back from similar setbacks.


The Power of Humility


One crucial lesson we can draw from Joshua 7 is the significance of humility. As 1 Peter 5:5 reminds us, "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble." Like Joshua and Israel, athletic programs must humble themselves, acknowledge their mistakes, and learn from them to avoid repeating the same errors.


Recovering from Defeat


After the defeat at Ai, Joshua and the Israelites didn't wallow in despair but instead engaged in introspection. They evaluated their strategies, tactics, and individual performances to identify areas of improvement. Similarly, coaches and leaders should self-assess and analyze their gameplay, decision-making, and execution. By pinpointing weaknesses, they can develop intentional practice plans to address those areas and improve their chances of future success.


In addition to introspection, seeking guidance from coaches, mentors, and teammates is crucial for recovery. Coaches provide valuable insights and expertise, offering a fresh perspective on the team's performance. Mentors who may have experienced similar setbacks can share their wisdom and guide on overcoming challenges. Teammates can offer support, encouragement, and constructive feedback, fostering a collaborative environment that promotes growth and improvement.


Through honest communication, teams can collectively identify the areas that need improvement and work together to develop strategies for overcoming weaknesses. This collaborative approach not only strengthens the team's bond but also allows for the sharing of knowledge and experiences, ultimately leading to a more effective recovery process.


Lessons God Wanted Israel to Learn


God wanted Israel to learn the importance of obedience and the consequences of disobedience. Similarly, teams must understand the significance of discipline, teamwork, and following the coach's instructions. By doing so, they can empower themselves and pave the way for success on the court. Proverbs 11:14 states, "For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers." This verse highlights the importance of seeking external expertise and advice for overcoming setbacks. By leveraging the available support, teams can maximize their potential for recovery and future success.


Dealing with Bad Seed Athletes


The story of Achan in Joshua 7 serves as a cautionary tale for dealing with bad-seed athletes, often referred to as locker-room vampires (Jon Gordon’s Energy Vampires). Just as Achan's selfishness defeated Israel and caused the deaths of 36 men, the negative influence of specific individuals can harm team dynamics. Coaches must address these issues swiftly, emphasizing the importance of unity, accountability, and the greater good of the team. Proverbs 22:24-25 warns, "Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared." It is crucial to identify and address negative influences within the team to maintain a cohesive environment.


Losing battles we ought to win can be disheartening, but it also presents an opportunity for growth and learning. By embracing humility, recovering from defeat, learning from biblical examples like Joshua and Israel, and addressing issues within the team, programs can bounce back stronger and achieve the victories they deserve.



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