Saturday, July 24, 2021

Mistakes

Mistakes


We all make them. Typically a day does not go by without us making some form of a mistake in our day to day lives. Some mistakes we make were a result of poor decision making on our part, some are a result of us not paying attention to what we are doing and some mistakes we make are a result of us being unwilling to acknowledge certain truths in our own life. At the end of the day, mistakes are inevitable. We will make mistakes for the rest of our lives….sorry I don’t mean to be a downer, but it’s just the simple truth. I realize I have written about mistakes before but this is what I have been thinking about recently so that’s what I am going to write about haha.


So what does this mean for us and our walk with God? What does this mean in terms of our coaching, training or athletics? What does this mean in terms of our own personal development? It means that even though we know mistakes are going to be made, the only things WE as individuals will ALWAYS have control over is how we respond when we make those mistakes.


We will go through life and we will make what we consider are “big mistakes” and “little mistakes”. We will say the wrong thing at the wrong time, we will respond without love towards others, we will make choices out of selfishness and pride and we will do many other things that have the potential to pull us away from God and from others. The true victory is not in limiting the number of mistakes we make (although I do think it’s important to strive for that), but it is in how we choose to respond after making those mistakes. 


The world wants to define people by the mistakes they have made. In today’s media, all we tend to hear about is what people are doing wrong. So by default I think it is pretty natural for us as humans to do the same. It’s easy for us to look at our lives and define ourselves by the mistakes we have made. Whether that be intentional or unintentional, I think many people tend to look at themselves through the lens of what mistakes they have made and that is one way of how they limit themselves in what they believe they are capable of.


God views us so different from that. God looks at us through the lens of Jesus and I believe that is the lens he wants us to view ourselves from. Trust me when I tell you, I have such a hard time with this! Maybe some of you can relate but I feel as though I am always my own worst critic and that I, of all people, am completely undeserving of anything good that has comes my way. It’s easy for me to look at my past sin or my past mistakes and to put myself in the box of being defined only by those things.


Guilt runs very deep in my heart at times and it’s hard to process. I feel as though it is my responsibility to feel the guilt of every poor decision I have ever made and that I should hold onto that guilt in order to “keep myself humble”. I have learned over the years that this is just one form of my pride being displayed through a false sense of humility. I feel as though if I can get myself to feel guilty enough for a mistake I have made then that is my way of showing God that I am sorry for what I did. I realize that this does not line up with how God describes His grace. I recognize that this is not the way God wants me to handle and view my mistakes but this tends to be my default. 


This is one of my all time favorite scriptures in the Bible because it reminds me of why my imperfections are what draw me towards God. 


“Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:6-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬


Paul struggles here as he refers to this “thorn in my flesh”, he doesn’t tell us exactly what it is but we know that it is something that attempts to pull him away from God. He refers to it as a “messenger of Satan that was sent to torment him”. He begs God to take it away, he doesn’t want to deal with the stumbling block that potentially could keep him away from God. Instead of God just removing that thorn, he decides to remind Paul that His Grace is sufficient.


Upon reading this, I know one of my first reactions was something along the lines of being upset with God. Why wouldn’t God just take away this thorn? Paul was doing so many great things for God’s Kingdom. He was converting so many people and bringing so much glory to God’s name, why wouldn’t he just help Paul out with this? It just seems fair that God would help Paul out in this way. Obviously, God sees the bigger picture a lot more clearly than we do and he understands what we need far better than we ever could.


God wants us to understand that it is only God’s grace that gives us the opportunity to know him. He wants us to understand that it is through our weakness that His name can be glorified. No amount of works or service could ever earn us this grace. No amount of guilt that we feel or that we put ourselves though could give us access to this grace. No amount of good deeds could allow us to see God. Our strength doesn’t come from within us on our own, it must come from the grace God has gifted us. We only truly understand his grace when we are in a position of weakness and he is the only strength we have to stand on.


This will be a lifelong learning process for me. Coming from a mindset of how everything I receive has to be earned in some way makes it hard to wrap my mind around God’s grace. I want his grace to simply push me towards gratitude. Considering all that he has given me in his Grace can put me in the frame of mind to simply live a life of gratitude. When I am reminded of God’s grace in my life, I can always be brought back to gratitude and not guilt. God wants us to experience gratitude from grace. I don’t believe His goal is to push us anywhere towards guilt. Gratitude will always be a bigger motivator than guilt could ever be.


We apply this to coaching and athletics by understanding that mistakes are a part of the learning process. When we understand that there is always something more to learn and that the game is much bigger than ourselves, then we can allow ourselves to make mistakes and grow from them. So many of us approach our game with the mindset of “make sure I make the fewest mistakes possible” which I believe has its place in the mind of an athlete at times but if every time we step on the court or the field that is all we are thinking about, then we are missing out on a lot of the growth that we could be having. We get so afraid of making mistakes that we end up not putting our full effort into things. We do things half speed and half hearted because we know we can do that without messing anything up. We are afraid of what others will say when we mess up. We worry about how will appear towards others. We concern ourselves with things that are quite honestly…..not that important.


This mentality stifles our growth because we aren’t giving ourselves the room to grow. If we don’t take our training seriously or we don’t push our limits for what we believe to be possible for ourselves then we will never know the possibilities of what could have been. This is a daily battle that I fight to remind myself of. I will not allow my fear of failure to determine my effort or my attitude. No one is saying this is easy, but I am just trying to tell you the truth!









Wednesday, January 6, 2021

2021

Well....2020 was quite a year wasn’t it? There was a lot of loss, a lot of pain, a lot of hurt, and a lot of frustration. 2021 has had an interesting start as well. While I’m not hear to discuss politics or just complain about how tough the year has been for some people I do want to take the time to acknowledge that all that has gone on has had an affect on us. While we all are in the same storm, we are all not in the same boat. I recognize that this year has been harder for some people than it has for others. That doesn’t discredit one person pain over another’s. We are all hurting in some form or fashion, yes some more than others, but we are all trying to navigate this thing called life. 

I point that out for a couple reasons. First of all, I point that out so that we can all learn to be empathetic. Empathy may be the single most underutilized skill that we possess as humans. Notice how I said skill, meaning it is something that we have to practice in order to get better at it. No one is perfect, but we must learn to meet people where they are at. 


I think about how Jesus set the perfect example of this throughout his entire ministry. He always strived to meet people where they were at. In John 8 he comes across an adulterous women who was caught in sin. The Pharisees and teachers of the law wanted her stoned for this act and instead he chooses to protect her, to give her grace in her time of need. That’s meeting people where they are at. He met the Samaritan woman at the well in Samaria. He met the tax collector Zacchaeus as he was going through Jericho. He met the woman who was bleeding on the way to Jairus’s house. He met the dying thief on the cross. Both literally and figuratively Jesus met people where they were at. 

As we get ready to move into 2021 my hope and prayer is that I will move towards more empathy and less criticism. That I listen and show compassion to those in pain. In doing so, I hope that I can be an example of who Jesus wants his disciples to be to this world. 


A short life update from me, currently I’m still not in a formal coaching position. I’m taking some time to focus on being with my family. My almost 3 year old son and 2 month old daughter are my sole focus right now. I’m focusing on how I can physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepare to be the best father I can be for them. I always say this but hopefully I will continue to write more frequently with what’s been going on with me and how I’m striving each day to be coached in truth. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

My Coaches. My Mentors.

It is not by lack of sin that we will show the world that we are Jesus’s disciples. It is by the way we love each other despite all the reasons not to. 

-Micheal Burns, “All Things to All People. The Power of Cultural Humility”. 


It’s been a while since I have written anything and some of it has to do with not having/making the time to write while part of it is due to just not knowing what to say. This past basketball season was the first time since I was a little boy that I wasn’t either playing or coaching basketball. Although I haven’t been “actively” coaching, I still view myself as a coach. I still keep in touch with a lot of my athletes because the job of a coach doesn’t end when the season is over. It doesn’t end when your players graduate and move on to their next phase of life. 



That is the beauty of being a coach in my mind, it’s not confined to the basketball court, the weight room, the track or the classroom. It’s about life, it’s about the journey and it’s about people. I have had the privilege of playing with, coaching and meeting some incredible individuals because of the game of basketball and I know I will probably come across many more amazing people. Many of which are individuals with a very different color skin than mine....


The past few weeks I have felt a wide range of emotions regarding all that is going on in our nation today. To see the genuine pain, sadness and anger of many individuals regarding the injustice of today really breaks my heart. But what do I know about what it is like to live as a Black man in America?....well...nothing...and I recognize that I will never truly understand what that is like, but regardless of any of that, I can still strive to love every individual I come in contact with and I can still fight against injustice when I see it. 


In my many years of playing travel basketball, high school basketball and coaching at the high school level and even while working at the college level, I have only had one Head coach that was White. Every single one of my head coaches while playing travel basketball, JV and varsity basketball, and while coaching high school basketball as an assistant, have been Black men. As a matter of fact, my senior year of high school, I was the only White basketball player in the entire basketball program at my high school (JV and Varsity). 

I don’t say this for some type of recognition or special attention. I’m not saying this the prove to you or to anyone that I have Black friends and am therefore couldn’t possibly posses prejudices toward others. I say this because I genuinely believe I would not be the athlete and the coach I am today if it weren’t for these Black men in my life. My youth minister and basketball coach/trainer Corrie McClary who played for a Greensboro College Hall of Fame team, took a special interest in this scrawny little white boy who said he wanted to play high school basketball. He taught me the game of basketball and he taught me about what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus. Ronneil Herron, who played for the Syracuse University National Championship team in 2003, worked with me on my game during different parts of my playing career. He taught me how to be patient and to play within the flow of the game.  My JV basketball coach Jason Moseley taught me what it meant to play the game of basketball with passion. My varsity basketball coach Ben Laster showed me what it meant to play the game with confidence and discipline. When I had the opportunity to work for the UNCG basketball program I had the opportunity to see guys like Duane Simpkins and Jackie Manuel coach the game with precision and dedication to their craft. The last 6 years (excluding the past season) I had the privilege of working as an assistant for NC A&T Basketball Hall of Famer, Thomas Griffis. I coached high school basketball underneath his leadership at Grimsley High School. These are just some of the coaches I’ve worked with, this isn’t even the list of incredible athletes I’ve had the honor of working with.  I value the impact they have had on me and many of their continued friendship over the years. Coach Griffis and I would talk about how unique our coaching situation was, there just weren’t many (if any) Black head coaches with an associate head coach being a much younger White guy. We talked about how special it was to share this type of bond. We would laugh because he is really old enough to be my dad (he has a son that is my age) but even with that age gap I always felt that he valued my opinion and what I brought to the team. 

As I stated before, ALL of these coaches are Black and I consider all of these men to be my mentors. So many of my teammates were black over the years and I always considered them to be family and I would hope they would feel the same towards me. It breaks my heart that anyone would look at these men and assume things about their character, their life or about them as a person simply based on the color of their skin. I know it happens though, I know people have treated them differently solely because of their looks. Maybe it’s been me at times. While I hope that was never the case, it’s defintely a possibility and I just never recognized it. If that were true, I would want them to tell me. I would beg them to tell me because that is not the type of person I want to be and I value each of their friendships deeply. I’ve had many conversations with some of them regarding this. 

I owe so much of who I am today to these men. My life has been enriched and has been blessed because these men each took care of, guided,  mentored and taught me in their own unique way. They taught me how to play basketball...sure...but these men taught me so much more beyond putting a ball in a hoop. 

I don’t have all the answers to solve all the problems we face today but I know that I would stand by the side of each of these men because they have stood by me and would continue to stand by me in my time of need. A few of these men I still talk to on a regular basis because I need and I want them to be a part of my life. They make me a better man. I couldn’t imagine my life without any of these men.

As I stated before, I know that I could never completely understand what it means to be Black in America but hopefully I can continue to learn, grow and be a part of the solution and not the problem. I don’t want to ignore the pain that is currently going on in our world. It honestly wasn’t until about a few weeks ago that I actually realized how many strong Black mentors/coaches I have had in my life and I just felt the need to express my genuine gratitude for these men. I’m grateful for the role that each of them have played in my life. It pains me to think that people may look at these men as anything less than spectacular. I’m forever thankful for how God has put these men in my life. 


“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

‭‭John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭NIV‬‬


Always love,

Justin Drabot 





Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Cost to Benefit Analysis of Coaching

As many of you may already know, I recently decided to step away from coaching high school basketball. This has been one of the most difficult decisions that I have had to make in a long time...I don’t think I truly recognized how much I would miss it. I decided to give it up for now for a few different reasons. First and for most I wanted to make sure that I am around as much as I can possibly be around to watch my son Ryder grow up. Coaching high school basketball occupies so much of your time and energy. During the season that can mean early mornings and late nights. During the off season you are doing as much as possible in strength and conditioning as well as skill work to prepare for the next season. Most nights I would come home just exhausted from all the demands, but the truth is that I just love it.

The basketball court has always been a place where I can go regardless of what I am feeling. Everything just starts to make sense when the ball is put into play. Struggle, perseverance, victory, defeat, controlling your emotions and putting them towards something constructive, learning from your mistakes and focusing on the next play are just a few of the many aspects of the game that I just love. I was never a stand out player on the court but I love the game so much and it has continued to teach me more and more about myself and who I am. I have always been a believer that basketball doesn't help us develop character, it simply exposes our character. We see who we really are in times of stress and difficulty. We see the kind of person that we are when we win and when we lose. Then we are able to make the choice to be better or to come up with more excuses as to why we are the way that we are. I’ve always told my athletes, you can’t always control what’s on the scoreboard but two things are always in your control. Your attitude and your effort. Nobody gets to dictate your effort and no one gets to tell you what your attitude should be. Those two things will forever be your choice.

I love investing into these young men and getting to know them. I enjoy developing our relationships and watching them push themselves to grow and succeed. Of course I wanted to win games, but that for me was never the most rewarding part of coaching. I loved watching my athletes grind it out and experience difficulties and becoming stronger because of it. As much as I love doing that, I want to be sure I can experience the same things with Ryder. He may not want to play sports or be an athlete of any kind but I want to be a part of whatever it is that he chooses to be a part of. I’m not going to lie, I hope its a sport lol but if it’s not,, then that will be perfectly fine too. I want to be present when he goes through tough times, I want to be there when he experiences hardship, I want to be the one to push him to be better and helps him up when he falls down. I want to physically and emotionally be there.

I know that as Ryder approaches turning two, he may not always remember the things I do for him but one thing is for sure. He will know that I was there. He will know that I was present. Do I think I’ll ever go back to coaching? Yes, I think so. I love coaching basketball at a high level to much to ignore it. How soon will I consider going back? I’m really not sure. All I know is that if and when I go back, it’s going to have to be a situation where I feel like I can still always put my relationship with God first as well as my family before considering getting back into the gym. I want my son to see me be passionate about what I do and I want him to see me work hard to do the things I love to do. He should see me chasing my dreams as I help him discover his own. But before any of that, I need him to recognize that the choices I make reflect my love for God first and my love for my family next. 

On a side note, if you are a coach out there reading this, I am in no way implying that if you continue to coach that you are not being a good father. That is so far from the truth! I am only sharing from my experience at this point in my life. Everyone should do what they feel is best for themselves and their family. This is just the decision I have made for now.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Motivation vs Drive

Motivation vs Drive


A lot of people will talk about the important of motivation and how it leads to success. They will emphasize that with the right motivation, your opportunities to succeed will be endless. What exactly is motivation though? I mean most of everything we do has some form of a motive attached to it. Even mundane tasks like eating, drinking and sleeping are done with some level of motivation right? I mean we tell ourselves to try and eat better in order to have healthier lifestyle. We feel motivation to make sure we get enough sleep every night so that we can get the things done that need to get done the next day without feeling like we are dragging through the day. The problem is that just because we are motivated to do these things, doesn’t mean that these things will always get done or will always occur. So then what exactly gives us the ability to get these done. These things get done well when we choose to get them done. It comes down to the decisions that we make everyday and those decisions determine the outcomes of whether or not we get these things accomplished. 

Developing something I like to call “drive” is more important than any motivation you will experience. Motivation always comes down to a feeling that we have and drive will always come back to a decision that we make. Motivation comes and goes, sometimes we “feel” like taking care of our health, and sometimes we don’t feel or don’t possess the motivation to take care of our health.  (I use our health as an analogy but it can be applied in area of life you would like) I don’t always have the motivation to get up and go to work but I make the decision to do it because I know the result that it will hopefully bring, a paycheck so I can afford to live, eat and do the things I wish. So regardless of the feeling I have in the morning, I make the decision to get up and get ready for work.

So I would argue that developing an individual’s “Drive” vs  developing their “Motivation” is far more important and has a much better end result in the long run. If we teach people to work for a feeling, then we are leading them done a very dangerous path. Feelings come and go, sometimes we can control what feelings we may have and sometimes we can’t control them. The only thing that we as individuals have the power to control are the decisions that we make everyday. We need to make decisions every day based on what we believe is best for us. We cannot always control the consequences or results of our decision making but we always can control the decision that we make.

Why is this important? Everyday you are faced with choices. We may not always be able to control the results of our choices but we always possess the power to choose. I want my students and my athletes to understand this because when we truly embrace the fact that we have no control over results but only control of our decisions, then we can truly begin to progress as athletes and as individuals. Very few things in life are guaranteed, we aren’t even guaranteed to wake up tomorrow morning. When are faced with decisions everyday, when we are faced with important choices that we have to make, lets remember that you can only control what YOU can control. Honestly, when it comes down to it, the only thing we can control are the words that we say and the actions that we take. God gives us the ability to choose, what a blessing that is. We have the opportunity everyday so show the world how our choices reflect the love we have and the gratitude we possess for the life he has given us. So, what’s your choice?


Let that sink in. This has been an eye opener for me because I have so much in my life that I feel like I am suppose to control. I have so much that I feel like I am suppose to make happen but the ONLY thing I can control is myself. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Life is a Game of Mistakes

Something we have been trying to get our athletes to understand as we coach is that Basketball is a game of mistakes.  In the game of basketball you are always going to make mistakes, they are inevitable. You can’t avoid making mistakes and if you try to avoid making them then you probably aren’t playing that hard. The goal is not to simply “not make mistakes”, the goal is to respond to the mistakes you made in a positive manner. When a mistake is made in the game, are you the kind of athlete that just gets upset or blames someone else for it? Do you look for a way not to take responsibility for your own actions? How we respond to the mistakes we make is far more important than the mistake we made in the first place. This is all a part of the learning process. We have to open our eyes to see things like, what we could have done differently or how could I have done it better in order to really take our game to the next level. This really applies to any sport we play but even more so towards the life we are living. 

Throughout our life time, we will make countless mistakes. Some may have been avoidable, some maybe not. The most important aspect of the mistakes we make is how we choose to respond to them. We can get upset, blame other people, blame the circumstances, or choose not even to acknowledge it. When we do these things, nobody wins. I hate making mistakes, absolutely despise it. I have had to learn over the years that this is just a necessary part of the learning process God has put in place. No matter what direction I turn, I feel like I am making mistakes in just about every area of my life. 

God wants us to understand that we need him. In every aspect of life we need God’s presence in order to be all that we can be for him. Just like a good coach, God allows us to make mistakes but he wants us to learn from them. When we don’t embrace that learning process it’s like we are telling God we don’t want to learn what he has to teach us. In Isaiah 55:8-9, God talks about how his thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not like our ways, we can only see part of the picture but God sees the whole picture. Who are we to question the process he has put in place to learn? It’s painful at times to acknowledge and face our mistakes. It’s never a pretty sight but these are the things that remind us to turn to God and understand that he has a higher purpose for us, one that we could never imagine. 

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:8-9‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Out of Your Control

I recently suffered a pretty bad ankle sprain. Those of you who follow me on instagram (@coachedintruth) probably saw the hedious picture I posted of it! Anyway, with that being said, I’ve had a lot of time to sit and think about life and one of the things that has crossed my mind is the idea of control. We all like to have control one way or the other. We try to make ourselves feel like we have control because we believe control is what is going to bring us peace. The truth of the matter is that we actually have very little control of the things that go on around us. Many people complain that they don't see the results they want to see in their lives. They were told as a young child that if they worked hard and they set their mind to something that they would be able to accomplish whatever they wanted to accomplish. I'm not sure I agree with that....I believe there are always aspects of our lives that we have no control over. Sometimes they are good things and other times they are bad things. Now I do believe that the choices and decisions we make have an effect on the outcome of different life situations but I refuse to accept that it is all a result of me. God is in control of my life, not me. This does not void me of the responsibility of making sound choices but I would be arrogant to think that my life is solely based on the choices I have made.

There are times throughout the whole bible where God's people had no control over the circumstances they were in. Job is a great example of this. He was a God fearing man who had done everything God had asked of him yet he faced a lot of pain and suffering. If I was in Job's situation I would have been soooo confused! I mean why was God allowing all this to happen to a person that loved God so much! In life we are faced with choices on a constant basis and a lot of times we have no idea how those choices will affect our future. Sometimes things turn out exactly how we expect them to turn out and other times we are left completely confused as to why things turned out the way they did.


You can approach the game of basketball just as you approach life. You can prepare, practice, scheme, plan and take a deep look at every choice you will make throughout the time of the game but you will never be able to say with 100% confidence what the result of the game will be. There will always be outliers that we cannot see, there will always be situations we couldn't have predicted and honestly I think that's what makes the game so exciting. No matter how much you prepare, the unknown will always be present. 


So does this mean we just should throw in the towel and not prepare at all? I mean if we can't prepare for everything then why try to prepare at all if we are just going to end up being face to face with what we were unprepared for? That's where we are wrong because it's not about trying to be prepared for every situation possible, it's more about training ourselves on how we will respond when we are faced with the unknown or unexpected.

We are so concerned at times with having all the answers and we work our little fingers to the bone until we feel like we have accomplished answering all the questions but the truth is we will never have the answer to every challenge we are faced with. What we can do is resolve to having a godly mindset or attitude that we use when we are faced with the unexpected. (Colossians 3:1-4)


The truth of the matter is that God is the only one with all the answers. Even if he doesn't give us the specific answers to our specific problems, he does provide for us a way of thinking that allows us to process all that we go through. I love that about my relationship with God because it takes so much of the pressure off of me. God reveals to me exactly what needs to be revealed to me in order for me to see him. I don't have to have all the answers but I do know where to go when I have questions. Nowhere else on this earth provides such an outlook on life, God has promised us protection and he has made a relationship with Him available to us all. What other answer could we possibly ask for?