Friday, March 15, 2013
Far-reaching "Best Season Yet"
Paul Daniels writes: "Best Season Yet" is targeted toward athletic coaches. Coach Rebekah Trittipoe, the author, may have underestimated the appeal and usefulness of her book to all who find themselves entrusted with leadership, especially Christian leadership.
I'm a music teacher by profession. I conduct five performing groups. Early in my career, however, I also coached middle school and high school track and field. At that time, I was surprised by the similarity between the challenges I encountered as a conductor and as a coach.
Coach Trittipoe addresses these challenges in her book. Committing oneself to the team and the team's mission, submitting to the authority of the coach, motivating oneself to achieve personal and team goals, battling performance anxiety, dealing with injuries and illnesses, persevering when quitting seems like an attractive option, reacting positively to failure, using ones talents to serve others, working together as a team, pursuing excellence, maintaining balance and perspective on ones endeavors, and finishing "like a pro" are issues I deal with every day.
Just substitute "choir" for "team" and "conductor" for "coach," and it's "welcome to my life."
Trittipoe, a gifted athlete and coach, happens to use athletics to explain and apply timeless Christian principles to guiding a team through a season of practices and contests. The principles, however, transcend athletics and even the performing arts.
Any person entrusted with leading a group of people who must work with others toward a common goal could benefit from reading "Best Season Yet." Principles that benefit teams and performing groups can also benefit people in businesses, community organizations, and--dare I say it--churches.
The book is extremely well organized for its stated purpose. Each of the twelve weeks of a typical athletic season is devoted to one of the issues listed above. Each week begins with a suggested activity designed to focus the team's attention on the issue and stimulate thought and discussion. For each day of the week, then, there is a brief, extremely engaging reading in which Trittipoe moves seamlessly from 21st Century events to Biblical events in order to illustrate various aspects of the Christian principles that apply to the issue. There is a quotation from Scripture, a provocative question, and space provided in which each athlete can write his or her response to the question.
The reading for each day and the followup question can be accomplished in five-to-ten minutes at the beginning, during the middle, or near the end of a practice. Coach Trittipoe is well aware of the preciousness of practice time, and so she has created "Best Season Yet" with that practical factor in mind.
As a former coach and current conductor, I highly recommend "Best Season Yet" to any person who needs to motivate and inspire a group of people to work together toward a common goal.