“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

One of the things I have the privilege of doing is coaching girls volleyball along with girls and boys basketball at San Gabriel Christian School. I do so, in part, because some of my grandchildren attend and play ball there.

One of the things I try to teach them is how to play with PUP. PUP stands for Poise Under Pressure. In sports and in life, we need to be prepared to handle the “Big Moments in Life” when they stand at our doorstep.

Junior High athletics is a good place to start. Whether it’s serving match point, shooting a game tying free throw or being introduced at a championship game, how do you handle those “Big Moments in Life”?

Isaiah 41:10 teaches us that we need not be anxious regardless of what is going on around us because the Lord is there to help us. He will always uphold us during the “Big Moments in Life”.

Practically speaking in sports, when experiencing a “Big Moment in Life” don’t do anything you haven’t done before and do it as you have practiced it. Don’t try to hit your serve harder or more precise. Serve as you have always served it. Don’t guide your free throw or take extra pre-shot time to focus. Shoot it as you have always shot it.

I reiterated this to our girls’ volleyball team just before we played for the championship last November. I instructed them to play as they practice and as they play in regular matches. Don’t do anything special or try any harder to play well.

As the match unfolded, it was apparent that the best player on the other team was trying too hard. She was attempting to hit the ball harder and over-playing the court by stepping in front of teammates and taking passes away from them. We played with PUP. We played as we always played and practiced, no more and no less.

The net result was that we won the champion with relative ease holding our opponent under 15 points in each set.

Poise Under Pressure. How to do handle the “Big Moments in Life”?

Remember Isaiah 41:10 and then move forward with confidence and assurance that the Lord is with you so just do as you normally do in the presence of God.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:13. Read it and see how it fits.

Something to think about…