What Helped Make Me a Better Coach

I have had many amazing opportunities as both a high school and college coach. Having the chance to now lead the Men’s Lacrosse team at Benedictine College has pushed me to deepen my understanding of coaching as a Christian man.

This past year I have gotten to know the Varsity Catholic (a division of FOCUS) missionary, as he leads my team’s bible study. I was fortunate enough to be invited by him to attend their leadership conference, SLS18, about a month ago. While I wasn’t sure what to expect or what God was aiming for me to get out of my time, it turned out to be one of those amazing opportunities coaching has provided me the chance to experience. 


I was lucky enough to travel with students from Benedictine College and a few players from my Lacrosse team.  Although I enjoyed the large group talks and the breakout sessions, the most enjoyable parts for myself were the small group sessions led by a FOCUS missionary from Benedictine. The group I got to participate with was made up of athletes from Benedictine that came from different backgrounds, teams, and denominations. Hearing their witness about what life is like being an athlete striving for Christ was extremely insightful. These men are leaders of their teams and communities, and they spend time each day growing closer to God.

The most impactful moment of my time during SLS was a Varsity Catholic talk given by Mike Sweeny and Fr. Burke Masters. Both men spoke of their experiences as Catholic Athletes. Mike brought forth a powerful image of all men and woman being yoked to the people they surround themselves with. Do your teammates push you forward or pull you back? Does your coach help guide you to be a better man? Do your upperclassmen seek out younger teammates to mentor? I left feeling inspired to yoke myself to Christ and to ensure I was actively seeking out my players who needed to be yoked to me. Coaches often focus too much on fitting as much into their practices as possible, but sports are much bigger than one drill or one win. Mike reminded me that my principle job is to guide and shape young men, not to have the best lacrosse team.

Most of the young men in my small group attended the talk given by Mike and Fr. Burke, so our next small group mainly discussed how striving to be the best athlete and being a better Christian are closely tied together. Both require hard work and accountability that often comes from a mentor. The older athletes reflected on who was younger than them that they can seek out, while the young athletes considered who they were “yoking” themselves to.

A team is too often only a term used for sports, but we all need a team helping us succeed in life and growing in our relationship with Christ. I am grateful to have the opportunity to lead my lacrosse team in that direction.

Coach Mark Blaise, Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach at Benedictine College. 

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