14-in-1s: Second Chances (Part 1)

When I played basketball in high school my coach would make us do what’s called “14-in-1s”.  It’s a form of conditioning.  You line up on the sideline of the court with a partner behind you to count.  One minute is put up on the clock.  When the whistle blows, you have one minute to sprint to the other side and back… 14 times.  Hence why they’re called “14-in-1s”.

Well, I couldn’t break tradition.  I make my 8th grade basketball girls do this every day.  The first group goes.  Then when the buzzer goes off, the second group goes.

There is an incentive though.  If you make it… you don’t have to do it again.  Unfortunately, if you don’t make it then you have to do it one more time.

The girls are given a second chance.

As the girls run their hearts out in the 14-in-1s, it hurts me to watch when the whole team doesn’t make it.  There’s a few stragglers.

This season, God has really opened my eyes when they’re running their 14-in-1s.  It makes me think of all the chances God gives me to get things right.  I’m so glad He doesn’t just give me two chances!  I’ve failed, failed… and failed some more.  As a teacher, as a coach, as a friend, as a daughter, as a Christian.  I’ve missed the mark.  I’m not afraid to admit it.

The thing about the 14-in-1s is if you don’t make it the first time, you won’t make it the second time.  Your body is so tired from working so hard for that first minute, and one minute’s rest in between while the other group goes, is not enough.

I’m thankful the Lord gives us so many chances!  However, we can’t lean on that; we have to learn to give our best the first time.  Be obedient the first time.  Do it right the first time.  Try our hardest the first time.  Yes God gives us chances.  But if we stay stuck where we’re at, eventually we won’t even recognize the opportunities as chances anymore.  We’ll continue to miss the mark and overlook those opportunities, and that could even affect the lives of others!

It hurts me to watch the girls who don’t make their 14-in-1s the first time, to have to do it again.

I can only imagine how much it hurts God to continually see us miss the mark when we know exactly what to do and how to do it. Whether it’s with disobedience, sin, temptation, lack of Bible reading, or time in prayer, etc.  He’s given us the tools:  The Bible, the Holy Spirit, a great Pastor, and even encouraging friends who are in the race with us (which I’ll talk about in part 2 of this the next time)…

I’m thankful for God’s mercy, forgiveness, love, and grace…  But my advice to you tonight is don’t rely on getting a second or third or fourth chances. We never know when our chances will run out.

Life is Like Interval Training

So there I was, thinking about soccer… Well, more specifically coaching soccer.  And I got to thinking about how I condition the players.  I’m a firm believer that interval training works, if done properly.  Change of speeds and distance covered.  I think interval training is one of the most successful types of conditioning for soccer players.  That’s why I have my players do it a lot.  They probably hate me.  But they’ll thank me later!  (I had a senior who graduated in 2013 text me and say thank you for making her condition so much during soccer because she went running one day and someone asked if she ever did cross country.)  It was after she graduated but hey, I still got a thank you.

Back to interval training.  My two favorite types to make the girls do are 15-30-45’s and 120’s.  For those of you who don’t know, during a 15-30-45, they sprint for 15 seconds, then jog for 15.  Sprint for 30.  Jog for 30.  And finally sprint for 45 seconds, and then jog for 45 seconds.  No walking.  No resting.  And then… we go back down.  Sprint for 45 again, jog for 45.  Sprint for 30, jog for 30.  Sprint for 15, jog for 15.  And that’s just one set.

The other one I mentioned is called a 120.  The girls have 20 seconds to sprint the length of the field (120 yards, hence why they’re called “120’s”).  And then 40 seconds to get back.  So they basically have one minute to get down and back, but the first leg is a sprint, the way back is a jog.  And they have to do it in the allotted time.  They do five of these.  It’s pretty rough.  For them anyway.  I mean the only rough part for me is yelling how much time is left and blah blah blah.  Strenuous on the vocal chords.

But with interval training there’s an important part.  A key component.

To let your heart rate come down a little bit so you can prepare for the next round.  My girls love the rest part.  Obviously.  Actually they love the part when it’s over.  They get a one minute rest between sets.

But I was thinking about it today, and I realized that life is like interval training. We go all out sometimes, a full sprint ahead, then maybe we find a steady pace, but if we’re not careful we’re going to burn out.  If we don’t have that much needed rest.

I’m the type of person, I’m always on the go, especially when school starts back up (like it did this past week) and then again when basketball season and soccer season start.  I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t take a little rest, I won’t be at my best.  My friends won’t get my best.  My family won’t get my best.  My students and athletes won’t get my best.  My job won’t get my best.  And God won’t get my best.

And that’s unacceptable to me.  Sometimes, all we need is a little rest and we will find ourselves motivated and rejuvenated; ready to go and give it our all.  I’m thankful for a God who loves me the same when I’m at my best and at my worst.  But He definitely deserves my best.

So Until Next Time…

P.S. There’s a difference between rest and just being pure lazy and a sluggard.