After every practice we finish up the day by doing some conditioning exercises that usually involve some type of running. Half gassers (running from one sideline to other sideline) was the run of choice on this day. We began running our gassers, and it was very visible that the team was on what I like to call cruise control. No willingness to compete, no high energy or enthusiasm could be seen anywhere. Being the old school, hot tempered coach that my head coach is, it really doesn’t take much of the team’s below average effort before he gets fired up. I knew it wouldn’t be long before the explosion would begin and boy did he hold true to his character. Coach let it be known that with this kind of effort, we were headed in for the fight of our lives on Saturday if we did not pick up the effort and finish the practice strong. The players responded and picked up the effort and intensity, and finished practice on a strong and positive note.
After conditioning was over he brought the team together and continued to expand on the lack of effort during the post-practice conditioning. He said something that he very commonly said in the past, but for whatever reason I found it very profound, and I thought it was more than worthy to share with those outside of our team huddle. He said, and I will paraphrase, the window of opportunity isn’t open forever in this game. You get very little time to play, and to enjoy it. It’s up to you to make sure that you take advantage of each opportunity that you get, because the window of opportunity closes a little bit more with each day that goes by.
He was talking to the players, but the message struck a strong chord with me and wheels began to turn in my mind. “Coachable moment,” I said to myself. Let me share with you my definition of a coachable moment because this will be a phrase that I will regularly use in my blogs. A “coachable moment” is any moment in which a player has created an adverse situation by either saying or doing something that causes a reaction, either positive or negative. The negative reactions serve as much better coachable moments, because usually pain of some kind is the end result, whether physical or emotional. As you may already know through your own experiences, pain is one of life’s best teachers. That doesn’t mean positive reactions don’t work just as well, but in my experience with young adults, the negative reactions seem to be a whole lot more frequent, and effective.
To better illustrate coachable moments, let me connect that moment in practice to a actual game. Our second game of the season was filled with adverse moments. We started off with very poor execution, and it seemed like we were in a slower gear than our opponent. We fell behind by two touchdowns in the first quarter. I brought the defense together as I always do, and I told them to remember the day they started off slow during conditioning, and our coach had to get on them because they were performing on a much lower level than their capability. I then said “well this is a direct result of that day”. And it was true. Our post-practice conditioning and our game day performance resembled greatly. I also reminded them that in the same matter in which they were able to finish strong in practice would be the same manner they could turn things around, start playing with a sense of urgency, and win the game. Surprising enough they responded perfectly. We came from behind, and won the game by a four points.
That’s a coachable moment at its finest; the ability to draw back from adverse moments from the past and taking note of the consequences of that moment, and then connecting it to the future to reverse your current position for a positive outcome. Moments like this can serve as an essential piece in situations like this in which winning is very possible, but only with a change in mindset.
This same philosophy can be applied to our life’s journey. Football is considered a young man’s game, because you only get a certain number of years before your body begins to breakdown, and peak performance gets harder and harder to achieve each season. In sports this is known as your window of opportunity. Life works in the same manner, and here is a coachable moment for you. We all have been granted the same amount of greatness; it is stored in the inner most, hidden parts of our being. So what is the difference between those that exercise their greatness and those that don’t? I’ll tell you. Once upon a time that individual had a goal or dream in mind and they capitalized on their window of opportunity. In the spiritual world there is no such thing as too late. When God plants an idea, suggestion, or thought in which greatness can be accomplished, the universe God is telling you that this is your window of opportunity to do exactly what you have always dreamed of. After your moment of revelation, it is now your time to execute that plan or idea. That is the time specifically set up for you to win. This is your time set aside for you to do whatever it is that has been laid on your heart. This again is referred to your window of opportunity.
The law of conservation of energy states that energy is neither lost nor destroyed but transferred from one form of matter to another. This explains why as time goes by and you have not executed your plan you see it being executed by someone else in the exact way that you thought of it. Funny isn’t it. After all, God’s plan will be carried out. Why don’t you be the instrument to carry out His purpose and reap the benefits of your own thoughts and dreams?
So I urge you, the next time God gives you a hot, fresh, new idea for something, receive it, accept it, and claim it. Your window of opportunity is now open, but won’t be open forever. You either use it or lose it. Now I didn’t say it was going to be easy, but if you keep on your grind you will be indeed rewarded in the end.
Written by Aaron DeBerry