Eight years of coaching hoops has come and gone quickly! Not a day goes by that I am not jealous of my players. The thrill of suiting up in your school jersey and taking the court to compete against another team is like nothing else. I truly enjoy coaching, but I grew up wanting to be a player before I started coaching. Playing is always more desirable. However, coaching has been more educational for me. I have spent 6 years as an assistant (1 of those a JV head coach in addition) and 2 years as a head coach. I have been a part of 2 league title teams and 3 last place finishers. My teams have lost close games, won close games, been blown out, and blown out teams. I have gone to bed happy with the job I did, but have spent more nights replaying situations and thinking about what I SHOULD have done. Through experience and being surrounded by great people, I have learned significantly more about the game than I originally knew when I began coaching in 2007.
The most important thing that I have learned is that players are people. In fact, they are young people. They will make mistakes, they will lack energy on certain days, and they will take things personally. People all have their unique things about them that cause different types of reactions. Just because kids play basketball does not somehow eliminate their limitations caused by being human. For the longest time, I thought I needed to demand perfection out of them. One mistake was one too many.
There is definitely an importance to getting the most out of your players. But, as in life, mistakes will happen and failure will occur. In life, I have been told that through failure we find success. Thus, my mindframe has shifted from being negative towards failure to accepting faults as a means to encourage growth. One of my most concerned efforts to improve in my craft is to take away as many “don’t do” coaching cues as I can. Rather than tell players what not to do, I want to be able to give them a solution to encourage growth as opposed to discourage failure.
Turnovers will happen. Bad shots will be taken. There is nothing a coach can do to fully eliminate them. In order to develop my players, I must first understand they are people with a desire to do great things only to be limited because they are human. This is what eight years of coaching has shown me.
I guess I still have a lot more to learn.