Everyday Game Face: Free Game Day Tracker

If you have your “game face” on, you know that you have “a serious or determined expression” because you are “try[ing] to win or achieve something.” Athletes are known for this focused disposition. Even though the term “game face” hadn’t been coined yet, the Apostle Paul seemed to be aware of the concept. He used athletic metaphors several times in his New Testament writings to illustrate the discipline and intentionality required in the Christian life.

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadow boxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-26)

The point is that discipline, self-control, and purpose, almost always come before success. As Christians, we should be all the more aware of this since we are living for what is eternal, not just the temporary successes that pale in comparison.

Two of my four kids are student-athletes. I see the stress they are under to win, especially as competition gets tougher the older they get. It is tempting for them to only focus on the upcoming game and not on the preparation required beforehand. It is also tempting for them to evaluate their performance in a game with the broad stroke of “I played a good game” or “I played a bad game” instead of taking the time to look for improvements, see where their hard work has paid off, and noting where they lost focus or showed weakness. Sports are a significant part of a student’s life and we are trying to broaden their experience beyond the court or field, and move it into their hearts.

To do that we don’t isolate their sports from their spiritual life. For a Christian, whatever we do or say, we do as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Colossians 3:17) So basketball, soccer, and volleyball are ways to show others something about Jesus. Our skills, mindset, sportsmanship, and even our losses matter not just for our school, or club team, but for the Lord!

We know many of you students who serve through TEAMeffort in the summer, are athletes too. We want to help you put on your game face and make your game matter beyond what the score board reads. We’ve created this FREE downloadable “Mindfulness Game Day Tracker” to help you.

To use it, you’ll keep track of the ways you faithfully prepare. Are you hydrating? Eating properly? Have you attended and done your best at practice? Have you been praying for yourself, your coaches, your opponents, and your teammates?

Then, you’ll set an intention (or more) for your game. Have you lost your temper and thrown the ball in anger when the referee makes a call you disagree with? Maybe one of your intentions will be to have self-control in contesting what you perceive as unfair calls. Have you been working on your serve percentage? One of your intentions could be to have a certain number of aces in the game.

Next, you’ll pick a verse to focus on for the next few games and think about it during your workouts, during the warm-ups, and any time anxiousness about the competition or your abilities arise.

Last, after the game you will take notes on the game. It may be best to do this 24-hours afterwards so you have a clearer head and better perspective. You can note some of the ways you saw improvement, things you need to pray about heading into the next game, and aspects to focus on in practice.

If you’re going to spend 10-15 hours a week practicing, playing games, and riding the bus with your teammates, we want to help you do it all with your game face on - for yourself, for all those you come in contact with, and, most importantly, for God!

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