By Dan Guttenplan
The majority of high school football players will not go on to play college or professional football, but almost all of them will have an opportunity to become better men, fathers and leaders in the community.
Dr. Tony Evans has made it part of his life’s mission to mentor athletes to help them become better people and fathers. He is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative, chaplain of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and author of over 100 books, booklets and Bible studies.
One of those books, “The Playbook: A Life Strategy Guide for Athletes”, co-authored by Evans and his son, Jonathan Evans, is a mentoring guide for coaches and athletes. The Playbook offers 16 character-building keys proven to gain victories in their lives. Coaches can use this comprehensive and palatable life guide to emphasize the importance of integrity, responsibility, teamwork, resilience, and more.
“We’re so involved with athletes since coaches are becoming fathers for a lot of young people who don’t have fathers,” Evans said. “What can we do to equip coaches with the X’s and O’s off the field? We want to help student-athletes become mentors.”
Evans says “The Playbook” is a guide for coaches when it comes to mentoring players. He has also helped create an app – iCoach – that is designed to challenge coaches and provide support within the coaching profession.
The iCoach app allows coaches to access strategies from NFL legends and other successful coaches. It provides coaches with instruction on how to build character in players and build a community with like-minded coaches. The app has information videos, motivational speeches, instructive plays and best practice drills. It provides coaches with an opportunity to network, compete against other coaches, upload professional resumes or connect with athletic directors.
“’The Playbook’ is a guide that gives spiritually based life principles,” Evans said. “It’s a guide to walking through mentoring process with students. The app uses sports figures to encourages coaches on and off the field.”
Evans posts a daily sermon to his website (tonyevans.org) along with videos that might prove useful for coaches. He also has a free Tony Evans app that is available in the Apple Store and Google Play.
Evans has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on more than 1,200 US outlets daily and in more than 130 countries.
Dr. Evans provided three tips for coaches who are trying to teach their players to overcome adversity on and off the field.
Give students a vision.
“A coach has to give people a vision, and within that vision, the coach should include challenges or adversity. He has to give them a vision that includes adversity to get to victory. If you talk about vision without adversity, it becomes unrealistic. Combine the two, and they can see the whole package and play together.”
Become a servant.
“One of the best ways to stay humble is by administering to people who are less fortunate than you. It shows you reality. Now you’re forced to be humble because it’s a humbling thing to do to administer something for nothing in return.”
Set internal goals.
“It’s easy to say, ‘I want to win a championship.’ That is an external trophy. Give them a vision for an internal trophy. They can reward themselves because what they did is give all they had to give. Create a mindset within them. ‘I want to be victorious not only in the competition, but in my performance.’ Change their perspective of what victory really means.”