Summer 2024

OneCoach: In Need Of Some Discipline

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteous and peace for those who have been trained by it.”—Hebrews 12:11

I stepped onto the practice field at Northside Christian Academy for the first time in August of 1992. I was a rising junior and was coming off a successful season at a public school. Northside had won the two previous Christian school state titles.

The instant my feet moved from the pavement to the grass at the edge of the practice field, my coach yelled, “We run on this field. We don’t EVER walk here.”

Whether it was leading soccer or baseball teams to state championships, or praying with professional athletes who were at the top of their game, coach John Zeller always had that “something” that most of us can only dream about: the utmost respect and admiration from all who knew him.

In our first soccer game, only minutes into the match, I netted my first goal and did a celebratory dance in full view of everyone, including Coach Zeller. I’ll never forget the abrupt ending as he grabbed me by the collar and pulled me to the bench.

A few games later, I got in trouble again and earned a yellow card. The penalty was a great deal of laps that I would have to run at the next practice. The game was on a Saturday. After returning to the school and grabbing a quick shower before my date, I was informed that I needed to run my laps immediately.

As I sweated my way around the muggy gymnasium that evening, Coach Zeller sat in a folding chair by the door. “You’re good Thompson,” he began, “but you’re in need of some discipline if you want to be as good as you can be.”

I’ll never forget the lessons he instilled in me those final two years of high school. He set an example that I tried to emulate in the years that followed – even when I became a coach myself.

God disciplines us in ways that are not always pleasant, but He will always see us through to the end and build us up for His glory. How is He refining and shaping your life today?

— Corey Thompson

OneCoach, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is an international community of coaches and spouses who have been uniquely gifted and called by God. Visit for more stories and videos.

– OneCoach: Be What God Has Called You
OneCoach: What We Teach
– OneCoach: Wisdom
– OneCoach: The Required Minimum Disciplines