Hoops There It Is Coaching Articles

 

 

 

“Isn’t It Time for Change in Youth Sports”

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I have been coaching for 17 plus years now. I have been playing sports for about 42 of my 46 years now. As a kid growing up in Jersey City, winning mattered most to ME and all my friends. My parents were busy raising four kids and attended a FEW of my games BUT never practice, tryouts, and most of the games they attended were all star type games. Times have certainly changed hasn’t it.

When I started coaching in 1999-2000, I knew little about the “Art of Coaching.” I was still that kid from Jersey City wanting to simply win! Embarrassing when I look back at myself. I self-proclaim myself as the worst coach EVER. Ironically, I was coaching my daughters’ CYO teams. What a shame on ME BUT I didn’t know any better at that point. I was doing what and all I knew. So I had a lot to learn, BUT was I willing to dig deeper to become a better coach?

In 1999-2000, I became a volunteer softball coach for Roosevelt School in Elizabeth with John LaRocca, Ed Davidowski, and Joe Cortcio (Later along Kelly McCracken)Those four names would change lives forever because this is where I started to learn and the “Art of coaching.” They gave me insight and allowed me to learn more about coaching, the team, and most importantly myself. They allowed me to work on so many new things and step outside not only of my box BUT everyone else box. I invented progress reports, held special team meetings for team bonding and created a unique practice culture we still use today. Engaging and encouraging at the same time. There are times to be tough, forgiving, understanding, always encouraging, break off a joke or three and explain “how this applies to the real world.”

The following year, in September of 2000, I was given my very first coaching job on my own as a middle school soccer coach!!! I played baseball and basketball growing up and little to NO soccer. My brother was an all state soccer player, so I tapped his knowledge like how many played on the field at one time!! Ha! Oh boy, here we go. Most of my Elizabeth players spoke ONLY Spanish while I spoke ONLY English…It was a challenge but my coaching journey began. I learned SO MUCH that season and actually WON our first championship that November 7, 2000 and my life was forever altered.

That chilly November night, I saw Elizabeth children from then Cleveland-Holmes School rush the field in a celebration upon winning the district championship. I really got to know those boys, while they learned English and I learned Spanish. Also learned that many had tough homes and this was to be “The Greatest Moment of Their Lives Ever” maybe. I stood there and instead of celebrating with them, I watched them…I was in Awe of the moment realizing that this may be their highest point EVER. Saddened but INSPIRED to become the best coach I could ever be truly started at that moment for sure.

I have learned a lot about myself since that moment and I now know, the self-realization NEVER stops. There is always a better version of me inside of me. I have changed a tremendous amount since that November night. I learned to listen, watch, study, research, understand, analyze and beat myself up many times. We talk things out throughout a season and then some. A true labor of love.

Rule one-expect the journey to be challenging especially since being competitive is built into my Jersey City DNA. So I had to face the person I have always been. Developing my players OVER winning. I still struggle with that BUT so much better now. At least I am honest. I am so much more balanced now and keep each player’s development above all. We try to win every game BUT also try to come up short with great effort. NEVER QUIT!!!! Players are placed in opportunities to be successful based upon the coaches opinions at that time. Starting lineups always change and final 5 on the floor have been at their best that day/night. I still love winning BUT love seeing players and families watch grow more and more every season now. I have learned that a child improving really is the greatest victory. Sounds corny BUT we are working with families now and not chasing that championship. Don’t get me wrong on Father’s Day weekend 2016, our program won a championship with the girls that Friday night, lost a championship for HS girls Saturday, we lost a semi-final with our boys Saturday afternoon (a real heartbreaker still)..and we went 5 for 5 in winning championships on Father’s Day. We have learned to also win under this developmental philosophy as well. Obviously, as players return, they continue to grow and improve. In the long run, we get there too just with stronger families and players. The best of both worlds really for ALL.

Rule two-Parents raise the players in their own reflection. Many parents bring their childhood and upbringing with them into this world. So I learned to start meeting the parents halfway on this journey. Parents have an investment in their child in many ways these days. I had to do my research and learn on the coaching job, about dealing with and working with parents. This was a great hurdle. After all, I was dealing with my own upbringings too BUT now, I had to face “my parents!” Most parents have to learn their child is not as GREAT as they think and NEVER nearly as BAD as they feel either. Every child has strengths and weaknesses. As a coach you work from their strength such as athleticism or intelligence and build them from there while addresses areas of need like skill set and demeanor are improved! I am learning that if parents know you truly care about and love their child(s), they will “buy in.” We now have an amazing group of parents that either “get it” or are enjoying learning to “get there.”

As the years have passed, I have started realizing that the parents were vital part of the process. The players would generally follow in suit. Our program now spends approximately 30-45 minutes per parent to talk to them about their child(s) and themselves. I then explain all about our program and OUR philosophy. At the end of the meeting, most people have a good idea about us and we about them. Most people join us and some do not and find another place to play.

Hoops There It Is Basketball is finally becoming a leader in youth sports. We are a character and skill building program. Notice character comes first and from there we can accomplish everything but never in one season. It is amazing what can be accomplished in a season with us now though when the parents trust the process. Development over wins and understanding we are building a total player from the mind through the body. We teach them to act like they have done something before and always be about team and NOT self. Even in the “selfie-generation.” Children are asked to stay in the moment, forget mistakes and keep playing harder. In fact, we encourage mistakes in practice and in games. How else can we develop unless we encourage them to take chances and make mistakes. We fully support that effort and are seeing wonderful development more and more every season.

We don’t need the star players, we are comfortable building them! Each child has a star in them. Sounds corny but it is true. Some just won’t be sports stars but they get to be a part of a positive sports experience and belong to a community where we build confidence.

That is the key ingredient of the secret sauce. We build confidence in EVERY child. We provide the knowledge, skills, culture, and environment throughout the season and with the parents support the skies are the limit. Children enjoy a coaching and parenting partnership and they thrive because of it. You see, most will NEVER end up going pro in sports but we ALL go pro in something and having a healthy understanding that effort, demeanor, understanding and teamwork are the keys to success are taught with us.

We also send the message that someone is always working harder, character is best tested when no one else is watching, don’t get bitter get better, stay in the moment, perfect practice is better than doing it wrong to get it done, ask questions and listen more than you talk go on in every practice and game throughout a season or a journey with us.

Most programs hire a litter of coaches and send them off to coach their teams. I coach and train every team. I attend almost ALL our practices daily and as many games as I can possibly be there for throughout every season. My influence is on every family that works with OUR program. Hoops There It Is basketball has very limited (3-4) and trained coaches under my mentorship. I taught high school, middle school, elementary and even preschool from 1996-2015. I earned a masters degree in Educational leadership in 2009. I am a trained educator who also was a director of school discipline committee and school leadership committee. I love working with coaches, parents and players especially and educating them on the learning process. When they understand it and see it, the process only grows deeper. Everyone grows differently and we work through the process.

I use the social networks to ONLY promote positive aspects of the experience. I want to celebrate wins and loses. If we win a great picture can be captured and analyze our loses by stating we learned we have work still to be done.

 

 

 

 

“Do We Need This When We Grow Up?”

 

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I remember during my ancient times growing up and learning the multiplication tables by memorization. You had NO other choice. Get the index cards out, write them down and learn them. Thanks to liking basketball, the two times tables came easier and honestly not hard for me to count that way as a kid anyway. The 5 times table was another most of us caught onto pretty quickly followed by 1 and 0. 10 times table was effortless until I got to 10 X 11…LOL

Now, the 7 times table was also easier for me thanks to my love of the NFL football on then only Sundays and Monday night. Also playing football in the middle of the street in my old neighborhood helped me. We were pretty good at everything up to 63 back then and of course 7 X 10 and 11 due to the obvious pattern. To this day, I still relate it back to that when working with my child OR someone else’s child with 7 times tables. “If the team scored two touchdowns how may points would they have?” Simple right? Maybe not so…. The blank stare begins Ha …and of course the two-point conversion confuses the child but that is not the point.

Here is the difference, thanks to endless days games on Thursday night, Sunday, Monday and the many other networks”Red Zone” and NFL ticket, children don’t watch NFL like I watched so they don’t have to follow the game like our generation. They also don’t have the patience. Also, with the emergence of fantasy football, Sports Center, YouTube and other avenues to simply “catch up”, this generation doesn’t and usually won’t follow the game very long! They don’t have to!!!

So one of the more difficult times tables doesn’t help this generation like it did ours. I would sit for hours and watch football as a kid. Our kids don’t and if they are watching the game, most are simply doing it for us as a favor….So many other things they can be doing and going outside to play a pick-up game with their friends is usually NOT one of them. We would go out at halftime, play a pick up game of two-hand touch and have to use those 7 times tables every week and have a non-planned playdate. Our parents weren’t looking for us either. Not really sure what my parents were doing while we were being kids honestly. Sounds funny now but true. We would either have a routine to meet at halftime or simply use the house phone. We would play during halftime and get back in the house for more football.

I think one of the greatest assets to our generation was we had to plan on our own and sometimes sit there amongst ourselves and complain or argue about what to do next. We played our sports or other activities (skateboarding and roller skating) daily. We were passionate about every win and sour about every loss. But we developed our own rules for every sport/game and it became common place for our neighborhood. We would play against other neighborhoods as well. The understanding of networking was built into our regular day. Managing rules and learning to agree on things was part of our everyday life. We were our very own general managers (GM). Today we continue to do that with our children but maybe it is time we let them get some of that role too.

As someone who now teaches sports for a living, it is a dream come true kind of world for me. I am starting to want to go back to my roots though and get the kids to play games minus my (and other adult) influences. In basketball, pick your own teams, call your own fouls, decide what point wins. Choose your own tie breaker rules. It is time, I bring them back to a time where they are in charge of developing their skills at that time.

This generation is much smarter than I ever was at their age. Due to the use of technology, social networks, apps, and the basic way the world is these days. Children lose their childhood so much faster. Not complaining just stating. We are starting to live in a world where every choice your child makes matters. I believe that creating a place for them to simply play is a start. They can rely on each other and himself (herself) and work on and build their skills and fundamentals. They can play for the “love of the game.” I would love to be there and see them just playing with no help from us. It is a pick up program. I want to put into action for them but also for us adults and allow them to develop the skills of creativity, teamwork, problem solving, and self-reflection to name a few. No post game speeches from me, mom or dad. Let them internalize it and grow from it. There is a value to that.

In the world we live in now where travel teams like mine are more common and you don’t have to be elite, families are trying to keep up with everyone else, there is more of a need for training than there used to be for sure when we were kids. I get that of course. Our program, Hoops There It Is Basketball, tries to provide a quality basketball program but character building is the foundation first and foremost. We promote team mentality, taking chances, its okay to make mistakes in effort, never quit, practices drills and skills on your own time and developing an overall person not just a basketball player. Championships are great but building champions are so much better.

I am a parent and want my child to be safe before anything else. So having an adult there to simply provide that safe place makes sense to me. Especially for the younger ones. We had tons of freedom and this allowed myself and my friends to make some decisions we all wish we didn’t. Today, having a place where a child can have the best of both worlds sounds really cool to me. The world is much smaller than it used to be with cell phones and social networks so finding a place to play that is safe matters. We can provide that place. It would be awesome to have them just play!

I love that my child watches the YouTube videos and studies the games. I wish I had that when I was young. I had the George Michaels Sports Machine on Sunday nights and thought that was the best show ever. No Sports Center for me back then. :c Oh well, I grew a deeper appreciation for highlights because of it. The world has changed and I love so many of the changes but still appreciate the world we grew up in. It is not too late to bring it back and have our children appreciate our generation. After all, we are still our own decision makers!

So maybe so where in the near future, the kids will decide to play a pick up game and go by 7s. Who knows?! Some of the stuff we learned in school, we do use as an adult and some of it makes more sense to me now. The values we learned growing up serve a greater purpose today just like when our parents allowed us freedom to explore in our childhood. I guess that was their generational impression on us. Now it is our turn to do that for our children. Let’s bring back love of the game and help create more free thinking children so that some day they can make their mark on their children.

 

“Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Was it Worth the Wait?”

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Let me preface this article by stating I am a life long Red Sox fan! Some may already stop reading here…LOL   I was rooting for history to be changed last night for the Cubs even though I love and respect Terry Francona obviously because he was once a World Series manager for my Sox. But it was time for Cubs to change their culture. Indians won’t be far behind with leadership like Tito Francona anyway. So it made it easier for me to root for the Cubs winning that much more.

So what made the difference in getting these two teams to the pinnacle of sports in debatably the best baseball game EVER? Leadership!!!   You need the players to make that happen BUT it is about Cubs leadership Joe Madden (manager), Theo Epstein (general manager and his staff) and on the Indians side Terry Francona (manager), Mark Chernoff (general manager and his staff). The owners Thomas Ricketts (Cubs) and Larry Dolan (Indians) had the insight to hire the best support team for their programs and investing in their teams.

When I earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, I learned a valuable sentence worth about $40,000 but it will stay with me forever, “Great leaders create new great leaders.” I live by that terminology with my own Hoops There It Is program and in my teaching career.

By now, we are all learning the story lines that Jason Hayward of the Chicago Cubs during the 17-minute rain delay going into the 10th inning of the World Series. He called a players only meeting and took leadership in that meeting reminding them that they were a great team and to do what they do best! Several players said he inspired and refocused them with his leadership and actions. But the better thought may be who taught and trained Jason to take that approach and become that leader at that vital time? It clearly refocused a younger cubs team. Let’s praise the leaders who built those great leaders such as Jason Hayward or David Ross the 39-year-old catcher for the Cubs who retired after that game last night.

Joe Madden has always been known as a unique cultural leader since his days as the Tampa Rays manager. He has different dressing themes during their away games trips bond his players and staff. He built a unified culture where all his players became one through these themes. This is an amazing idea and somewhere along the line, he was trained to have this mentality. I would love to learn more about his upbringing and history to better understand what made this man such a great, influential, and powerful person in the lives of the people he leads. His leadership last night made history. It is worth saying that some of his decisions may be able to be questioned during the series and throughout the playoffs BUT Joe Madden as a leader is without question was the amazing difference so many people lives last night. Not just the players, staff and organization but the endless Cubs fans who waited beyond a lifetime for this day. There are wonderful stories coming out already about manager Joe Madden pulling out his dad’s baseball hat out of his pocket and placing it on his head during a post game interview, getting choked up because he and his dad had this dream some day they would win the World Series. Another man drove from North Carolina to Indiana and listened to game seven at his dad grave with him. The woman who is 104 and saw the Cubs finally do it. It was not only Joe Madden, Theo Epstein, and Mr. Rickett that helped this happen but all those influential leaders that helped build those men and those players and staff.

This is not only about the players, their families, and fans and on watchers. Isn’t this what makes America great again! Belief that if you work hard, find patience, great leadership and trust the process; the seemingly impossible becomes I’m possible! I feel in love with the Cubs this season. I am a Red Sox fan but as a man nearing 50..yikes did I type that? HA. I am rooting for great and positive things to happen in life. Just like the special needs basketball manager that hits the basketball in the final game of the season, the player who did not make the team always has a place in our program. On the bigger scale, I appreciated Derek Jeter final season. He changed the way we approach challenges not just baseball. Thankfully my son saw David Ortiz walk off the baseball diamond for the final time as a player this fall. He mentioned “That is the last time we will ever see Big Papi.” as he stood way too close to the TV screen. Is it really bad for your eyes? ha Maybe we should stop rooting for just the laundry but rather for the people with character; character trumps (no pun intended) all as I get older.

Terry Francona and Joe Madden along with their organizational leadership built strong willed people who were willing to trust the message. Look at the character of their players and staff to never quit and battle back through the entire playoff and World Series run! I applaud those who helped built Joe Madden and Terry Francona. They impressed those players young and old to “buy in” and succeed. It is not easy and takes a great will power to get people to follow you especially when you are coming from a traditional losing culture. Not any more!!!

When we were growing up Bob Uecker was a really funny ex-baseball player. A commentator during this World Series mentioned that Tito Francona was actually pronounced as the second funniest person behind Mr. Uecker. He reaches his players throw his sense of humor and calming demeanor although Tito can get fired up when needed as well; Tito and Mr. Madden are great leaders that know what their followers need and when they require a change in direction even if it is a temporary one.

John Wooden was one the best coaches of ALL time for college UCLA basketball but also in any sport ever. In reading a book about Coach Wooden, I loved finding out that his dad was the major contributor to his upbringing and in his success in his future coaching years. The journey to making someone into greatness can be more interesting than the final product. After all, once they get to that point, a new bunch of journeys have begun for many others.

The 1980 USA olympic hockey team led by coach Herb Brooks as the misunderstood coach at first but he had a vision and changed the lives of all those players, their families and the United States as Al Michaels makes the historic call “Do you believe in miracles?” against USSR semifinals. Footnote: United States still had to beat Finland in the gold metal game but how many people were forever changed thanks to Brooks’ history. What made Coach Brooks the way he was leading up to those historic events? Greek philosophers thought that in order to appreciate history you need to see it from its origin. I find this to be true.

We all lead differently;. Everyone brings the chapters of their lives with them into their leadership whether it be parenting, work/career, friendships, family, coaching or religious efforts. Each event has a highlighter impact on our journey. Self-reflection helps this process.

Those Chicago Cubs are no longer the lovable losers. They are now winners and will go forward forever-changed thanks to leadership. The Indians are not losers; they took it till the 10th inning of the 7th game. They simply haven’t won yet in my opinion. They are all better for the experience. There is NO substitute for that experience. All those Cleveland Indians players will be profoundly changed and hopefully they can make greatness from it. How many new great leaders are found on both of those teams from this amazing sports championship?

On June 19, 2016 (father’s Day) our Hoops There It Is basketball won a program record 5 championships in one day! We won 6 out of 7 championships that weekend. As I sat in the car with my son late that night (10:35 pm) after coaching all 5 games that Sunday, I found myself joyfully laughing at loud in the car. When my son asked me “why you are laughing?” I responded “You don’t remember when you used to lose every game by 40-50 points every weekend.” I don’t need championships to feel validated but sometimes it makes others notice your efforts. This allows me more trust in others to bring their child(s) into our program and experience a positive youth sports experience. My journey is littered with my own challenges. What does your road look like?

Winning takes time and I think it is totally worth the wait even if it take 108 years. Now, Let’s go Tito and the Indians in 2017!

 

 

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The “Dog Crap Rule” Meets Shirts vs Skins

  • Published on November 7, 2016

If you have gotten past the title of the article OR the article struck curiosity in your person..GREAT! You will be more knowledgeable about human nature and smiling soon enough. Now let’s get to it:

The “Dog Crap Rule” (DCR): Everyone steps in it correct? I have never met someone who wants to step in it. And if I ever do, I would hope there was a good reason for it..Ha Everyone in their lives has stepped in it. It is an unpleasant event in your life and sometimes, untimely if you have to go somewhere. I once had it on my pants walking home from grammar school. Still one of life’s great mysteries. Yuck!! Anyway, it is okay with being upset or mad when it happens to you. You have five minutes to stay mad, but after that, it is like you took it off your shoe and placed it in your pocket and chose to take it with you. It may sound vile or gross but dog crap is littered through life and we all walk into it. If you can not let it go, then everything about you will stink especially your attitude and the robust stench of the dog crap will affect everyone you come arose thereafter. The DCR is something I battle at times too. Passion for your beliefs vs. reality of importance. So part one of the title is down, shirts and skins will come together later in the article!

Anyone who has ever coached, taught, mentored, or parented understand their roles are blessing but also have their challenges. Yesterday was no different for my life as a coach and a parent. My basketball program had a game this weekend. My son happens to be that team who had a travel basketball game on Saturday. The game was a challenge, we were learning about ourselves (strengths and needs), which happens every time we get together for practice or a game. It was a back and forth game; Up by a few and down by a few and even battled back late and ended up coming up short. All the elements were their for me to step up as their coach (dad) OR crash and burn. As the game got tighter, I had a choice to make, we always do right?! There were also other outlining stories involved beyond the basketball with all that too but such is life.

This fine day I burned. I knew I was burning and could have been a better coach, parent, human being. Of course, I did not want to burn but it happens. We fall, we crash, we beat ourselves us, we dust off and eventually we grow. The process stinks but it is all part of the personal, professional, and spiritual growth so many of us go through often. I was aware of my demise but was swept up in it and battled, but it was not my day to be coach or dad of the year. I beat myself up good and hard the rest of the day into the night and knew sunrise would bring a better version of me. Always goes that way for me in my career/calling AKA life. See there is a dog crap. And instead of letting it go…I placed it in my pocket and showered myself in it…Yeah that is gross…I am such a work in progress.

We have all been there! We deal with it with our children, spouses, siblings, friends. coworkers, strangers, even our parents when they get older. We fall at times and feel awful for it. It is a part of life. Especially for those of us who truly want to do the best for others more than ourselves. I had many lessons while a middle school Elizabeth teacher (1999-2013) where I let one (or several) of my challenging students get the worst of me. Ultimately, it is my choice on how I deal with everything. It is never someone else’s fault. But I feel short of my potential.

So, I researched and found a great article about finding a blooming flower growing amongst the field of weeds. So even if that day, where many of my inner city students were getting to me (I made the choice to let them in), I tried to remember, amongst them were flower(s) trying to grow. It often brought me the ability to refocus. And the saying “Someone is pushing my button” only means we are the creators of your own buttons. Remove your own buttons! By the way, I am still working on that. I may have an airplane dashboard by now Ha….back to the story

One of the unique challenges for my life (career) is that most coaches have a bad game and are done and get to go home and keep it moving. That day my son’s team played at 9 and 11 and the younger team who was winless played at 10 and 12. So I four straight games 9 am (bad game for me #1). I managed through the 10 am game and they got their first win! Should of got rid of the dog crap after that right! Wrong…What the heck is with me? I fell back further in the 11 am game, another tough game for me which we lost and finally battled myself to be better in the in the final 12 noon game where we went from winless to a two-game winning streak. It was certainly okay to remove dog crap there too.

I had all the opportunities to pull out of that and say one team will have a better day and see the good about the new winning streak for this young team. In hindsight, I couldn’t get out of my own way. I think I may own my own dog crap factory!! Its not that at all, normally I am a upbeat, funny and inspiring force for people around me. But one of the pros about me and today worked as a con, was that I care so much about every player on every team and not just look at the program or the team. I am in every journey throughout a season or a career. I truly want the best for each player and that family. Today, just wasn’t our day for that team’s players and maybe some of their family in hindsight.

So its a little after 1 pm, I was able to pack up, grab a bite to eat (hadn’t eaten yet..doesn’t help or slept much) with asst. coach and some of the players and dissect what the heck happened in the games today. Of course I am stuck in the negative. I was not ready to be the better person yet. I challenged the players at lunch with us to work harder and smarter. Explained my points of view and thoroughly tried to figure out how to improve myself, my players, and my program. Barely focused on the wins today but normally I would find the positive. Today, dog crap owns me! Lol

Finally, around 2:30 I was able to get time alone to really dig deeper into me. I was mad at myself, disappointed, and saddened that I was not the best coach I could be. I was in the process and beating myself up in an effort to find a better human within me BUT first I had to hate myself a bit longer. I have a pastor in the program who says “Don’t get bitter get better” I was moving from bitter to better…So this is my healing process. I am cleaning off the dog crap now. This is a good thing.

Of course, the day was far from being over. I still had 4.5 hours of basketball clinic tonight and I was an hour from that now while still on my ride home. By the time I got to the house picked up supplies for clinic and grabbed an an iced coffee, it was time to get to the gym. I ran into a lot of familiar faces in the gym, I had to find a more upbeat me. The clinic had some k-2 graders learning the basics with my asst. coach, a few middle schoolers from the travel program (some were in that game) who still were not ready for my coaching ( was trying to train them..grrr.. lol..I decided to walk away and work with two college basketball players who clearly “wanted it!” I dug my heals in and decided to give them all my knowledge and passion in an effort to help them and restore my own soul. It Worked!!! Yay… I am now ready to de-funk myself and my dog crap.

Between 5:30-8:30 pm, I had many of my new winter players coming to work with us for the first time, I had found my smile and felt like a better coach again. Still knew I had a lot to make me a better coach and prepare my players better going forward, but the worst of the “I am the worst coach storm ever made” has passed through. Now it was time to assess the damage and start the rebuild. Been here many times and no FEMA aid was coming, I had to rely on myself, my staff, my family, and those two college players who needed me BUT I needed them more than they knew…Thanks boys for taking my advice and working on my drills and listening to my insight. The inspiring happy coach was alive and well…Dog crap was well behind me now.

The new players saw the coach I wanted them to meet and there was a lot of smiles, learning and cool music. I loved working with the new players and meeting their families. It was a fun clinic/scrimmage and finally the smile was across my face. Everyone had a positive experience and I was again leading children in feeling good about themselves while they played basketball.

The last group had players that ranged from one 5th grade boy, several middle schoolers and a few high school ballers, and my two college players running a shirts and skins game. We had a good laugh because it was such an “old school” moment. Some of the players were so confused when the oldest players said let’s go shirts and skins. I honestly don’t know if they understood what they were talking about. After an awkward moment, we all laughed and got into the game. Coaches sat this one out. Maybe because there were enough players and maybe….ha The drills and games were so much fun and really challenged everyone that walked through the gym doors that night.

Once clinic was done, we packed up and had a great night. Finally, it was time to head home. I was able to help my asst. coach find his own peace and discussed my own process. We want the program to provide the best possible opportunities for every single family. We had a great post-day chat in the chilly fall night and both headed in our own direction.

Sunday was here….we had another set of games and I was determined to be a better coach today than yesterday. Looking for my own allusive “coach of the day” award. I was a better coach today, I grew and learned from yesterday’s collapse. The funny thing is that I will fall again. I will be aware I am falling and will attempt to catch myself. I get a little better every time. The point is that we all fall daily, weekly, and heck sometimes hourly… lol It is how we manage through those moments. I am trying to find the “stay cool” balance…I am getting better chasing that ability. The DCR is always there for us to follow. Often I follow it, sometimes, we just need that shirts vs skin moment and a good laugh to pull us out of it…Find your smile. “This too shall pass mentality.” I get all that but sometime not in that moment. Although I am better at recognizing it as it is happening. John Wooden, Hall of Fame coach says make each day its own masterpiece, well this weekend I made a Picasso! LOL

Finally, tonight while talking to one of the people I respect SO much that entrusts his son in our program, I was informed that his child has grown confident while with us and told me that his son is about to make the honor for the first time EVER! I was overjoyed for his family and especially the child! We made a small positive impact in their lives. Another parent said we are getting the most of her daughter on the court…All good stuff…

Whether your storm today, dog crap is a part of life, maybe I should stop wearing pockets and maybe that is why in grammar school I had in on my pants! LOL Took 30 years to figure it out. Just grow from it…