WHY DO I COACH BASKETBALL?
I coach basketball for a living and have dedicated the last number of years of my life to the sport and all that it brings. Late nights, early mornings, long weekends, emotional players, demanding administrations, over involved parents and uneven working hours.
Oh, and did I mention low wages?
Of course, I’m painting a bleak picture and NO, the parents aren’t all over-involved and not every organisation is unappreciative, and the players are actually great to work with but the odd, long hours and weekend work is pretty common.
So, WHY do I do it?
“We have two hands because one is to help yourself and the other is to lift others around you”
The truth is that I don’t really care about basketball all that much. I don’t care about my players making that game winning shot, I don’t care about finals, I don’t care about that poster dunk and I definitely don’t care about the wins and losses.
WHAT? You can’t possibly be serious…
I am quite serious. I coach because of what coaching represents. Coaching, in my opinion, is one of the most undervalued, unappreciated and misunderstood professions that there is. On average, players will spend more time with their coaches than they will with their teachers or parents.
“The best way to find yourself is by losing yourself to the service of others”
Daily practices, team meals, travel games, away tournaments, strength workouts, conditioning etc. Through all the highs and lows, coaches spend time with their players.
Players don’t choose to go to school, rather they have to. However, players choose to be involved in sports. They choose to be involved in an environment that is dynamic, volatile and emotional. Their coaches choose to be there with them throughout that process.
Did I mention the low wages?
Yes! Coaches choose to be there with their players in that dynamic and often times emotional environment.
“Don’t give to receive; instead give to inspire others to give back”
There is no easy way out with the coaches. No default answers such as, “you’re grounded for a week“, “I’m taking your phone away until your behaviour changes“, “you’ve got detention after school” and “if you’re behaviour doesn’t change, then you’re not going to be allowed to play sports“.
Yes… Sports is so powerful and the imPACTT of coaches so great that by taking it away, it becomes a disciplinary tool.
The above excuses or examples are an over-exaggeration and of course, not all parents and teachers use them the same way, but you get the point.
Players allow their emotional baggage’s to pour out on the training environment. Frustrations of not playing enough minutes to the rough break-up to not getting along with teammates to the failing grades to the issues at home and much much more. Through all of those issues, coaches are right there to pick them up.
WHY do I do what I do?
I believe that as coaches, we have the ability to empower others and provide them with the tools that they need to achieve their maximum potential. Parents enrol their children into sports clubs because of the discipline and life skills that sports can teach them. Even if players are extremely talented and play at a high level, sports doesn’t last forever. The question then becomes, “Have they learned the skills that they need to be successful in life?”
We see it all the time in the professional setting. Following a remarkable career, players go broke as a result of mismanagement of finances to being involved with the wrong crowd to getting caught up in drugs or any other number of things. Have we, as coaches, failed these players?
As coaches, we can help imPACTT our players and that’s why I coach. Because, I can make an imPACTT in my players lives and provide them with the skills they need to be successful in any walk of life that they choose.
“Kindness in words creates confidence; kindness in thinking creates profoundness; kindness in giving creates love”
What does it mean to be an imPACTT coach?
It means being a coach that puts my players first and providing them with all the skills that they need to be successful.
“You cannot live a perfect life, unless you’re willing to do something for someone who won’t ever be able to repay you”
Take a second to think of a successful person that is not an athlete…
People such as Brad Pitt, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Colonel Sanders come to mind. These people share similar stories of being resilient and overcoming adversity, being disciplined and staying committed to the process, developing confidence that enables success, working hard consistently, making tough decisions and developing as leaders. These are psychological skills that every successful person needs among many others.
What about successful athletes?
Conor McGregor, Skylar Diggins, Roger Federer, Muhammad Ali, Steph Curry etc. are just some athletes that pop into mind. Along with the same set of psychological skills above, what unites them all is that they all have transferable athletic skills.
The ability to change direction and maintain balance whilst reacting to an external stimuli, the ability to move in all three planes of motion at high speeds, the ability to run and jump, twist and turn, the skill of peripheral vision and excellent hand-eye coordination. The skills of having relative strength, power, agility, reaction, endurance and strength are just some to pop into mind. Yes, I defined them as skills.
Successful people and athletes also have great communication skills. The ability to speak with their coaches and teammates about strategies or solutions, the ability to speak to media, fans and corporate sponsors in a manner that reflects positively on the club. The ability to communicate effectively at board meetings or negotiations to acquire a merger or million dollar deal. The ability to communicate with their employees and business partners that establishes trust and togetherness. The ability to listen attentively and recognise body language. The ability to resolve conflict and show empathy. These are all communication skills that successful people have.
Yes, these are all skills that can be learned and I believe that coaches are in a unique position to foster a training environment and allow the learning of these skills to take place. Players comes first and the above skills are transferable to any sport or walk of life. Of course, the specific sport that the players choose to do are also important and the correct technical and tactical skills of the game need to be developed, but technical and tactical skills are specific to the sport and not necessarily readily transferable to other ventures, hence they come after the psychological, athletic and communicative skills.
That’s why it’s important to be an imPACTTful coach.
- P – Psychological Skills
- A – Athletic Skills
- C – Communication Skills
- T – Technical Skills
- T – Tactical Skill
All too often I see coaches focusing predominantly on the technical and tactical skills of the sport, and yet after a close loss, phrases such as, “we aren’t mentally tough”, “we don’t communicate enough!”, “we didn’t want it more” or “they aren’t any leaders on this team” are the ones that are thrown around.
ImPACTT coaches teach those skills. They teach communication skills, they develop leadership skills, they build confidence and motivate their players to become great players and even better people.
I want to inspire people. I WANT someone to say to me someday, “because of you, I didn’t give up”
WHY do I coach?
Because I get to imPACTT more kids in a single season than most people would in a lifetime.
WHY do I coach?
Because I get to imPACTT players of all ages, gender and levels across the sport and show them that there is more to the game.
WHY do I coach?
Because being imPACTTful allows players to see that they can become anything that they work hard for.
“Giving to others grows your self-worth and self-esteem, even if you’re never paid back with gratitude”
I don’t care about my players winning games, scoring 30+ points in a game, throwing down a monster dunk, hitting the game winning shot, winning the MVP of the league. I don’t care about my players making it to the NBA, or playing in the Olympics Finals. I don’t care about my players going on to be the CEO of a million dollar firm or starting a charity to help provide education for the disadvantaged.
I CARE that my players grow and develop the life skills that they need to get them to where they want to go.
I CARE that as a result of working hard, sacrificing and staying committed to the process that my players win games.
I CARE that as a result of putting in countless hours in the weight room, managing their time carefully and remaining motivated that my players are rewarded with the 30+ point game.
I CARE that my players are consistent over a season and develop rapport and chemistry with their teammates and as a result get rewarded with MVP honours.
I CARE that my players are able to go on and become good citizens and treat people with respect and kindness whilst developing leadership and communication skills so that they become a CEO.
I CARE that my players develop empathy and strength and as a result want to give back to the world and make it a better place that they start a charity.
I CARE that my players develop the confidence they need to know that they can achieve and become what they set their minds to. I CARE that my players develop patience and perseverance through hardships and resilience through adversity and failure. I CARE that my players develop problem solving skills that they are able to find solutions and become dependent. I CARE that my players develop the leadership skills they needed to initiate change in their communities.
I CARE about the journey that each and everyone of my players goes through, the lessons they learn and how they apply it to others. The outcomes will come, but I CARE about how I imPACTT those around me and how they imPACTT others in their lives.
“When you’ve worked hard and done well and walked through the doorway of opportunity… you do not slam it shut behind you… you have an obligation to reach back and give others the same chance to allow others to succeed”