This past Sunday our entire family returned to church for the first time since our 2nd daughter was born in February (our 2-year-old and I have been going just by ourselves). This was also the first Sunday I have been home in over a month so I was beyond exuberant to get another opportunity to listen to our minister, Randy Simmons. The message Randy delivered was one that became a topic of prodding discussion between my wife and I. I also could not stop thinking about how this relates to sports, coaches and players.

The message was titled “Three Kinds of Love”, and was based upon 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Up until this point my impression of love came in three forms:

  1. Loving (to do something)…”I love fishing”, “I love traveling”, etc.)
  2. Loving (family)…”I love my mom and dad”, “I love my daughter”, “I love my players”, etc.)
  3. Being IN Love (with someone)…”I am IN love with my wife”…I’ll stop there before I get in trouble 🙂

Many people categorize love into only two categories, conditional and unconditional.

Randy’s Three Kinds of Love were not even on the same planet as my previous interpretation(s). The following Three Kinds of Love may change your life:

  1. “IF” Kind of Love
  2. “BECAUSE OF” Love
  3. “IN SPITE OF” Love

“IF” Kind of Love

“IF” kind of love can be found in the bible in 2 Samuel 13:1-15. Whether you realize it or not we all experience “IF” kind of love on a daily basis. “IF” love is a conditional love that you should avoid and grow away from. Here are a few examples as they relate to players and coaches:




“BECAUSE OF” love can be found in the bible in 1 John 4:18. “BECAUSE OF” love is once again a conditional love that is a result of a particular outcome, that determines your love. Here are a few examples as they relate to players and coaches:




“IN SPITE OF” love can be found in the bible in John 3:16Romans 5:8, and John 14:15. “IN SPITE OF” love is unconditional love and is the best kind of love you could display to everyone in your life. Here are a few examples as they relate to players and coaches:



Moving to “IN SPITE OF” love will be life changing not only for your career, but with every relationship that you create. Start doing a self-evaluation today and consider the reasons you do what you do or are with the person you are with. Is it a conditional “IF” or “BECAUSE OF’ kind of love? Or are you living unconditional “IN SPITE OF”?

As I asked for some feedback from my peers regarding this topic, it become very clear that I needed to add a Bonus 4th Kind of Love:


“IN SPITE OF” love could be view by some with a negative connotation whereas you see flaws in the person, but you look past them and still love them anyway. “BLIND LOVE” is no more evident than with our families. As a father, I have never once viewed my 2-year-old daughter as having flaws or had the mindset of loving her “IN SPITE OF” her occasional “terrible-two’s” outburst. In my eyes, she is and always will be perfect.

Moving to this 4th stage of love as a coach may seem impossible, but I believe it can be accomplished. As coaches it is almost our job to find flaws or weaknesses in players and help them to improve. Sometimes however, we hold onto these flaws and are unable to truly move to another level with the relationships we have with our players. More times than not this is because you have not found your WHY (you coach). Once your find your WHY in coaching, the flaws in your players will begin to disappear and you will begin coaching your players like you never have before.

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