Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Basketball Diaries

Part I: Real Life Hoosiers… sort of.

This is the true story of a rag-tag group of underdog basketball players who came together with their awesome rookie head coach to win their league championship!

Ok, so my group my not be considered “rag-tag”, and my assistant coach isn’t the town’s basketball-loving drunk, but take away some of the technical stuff and my basketball story practically parallels with the ‘Hoosiers’ plot.

This year I’m coaching the U-14 basketball team (“Team 7” to be exact) and I have to say, it’s been waaaaaay more fun than I thought it’d be. I’ve never coached before, nor did I plan on coaching this year, but when our sports director asked me about it, I thought it could be pretty fun. I assumed I’d be with some kids between 6-8 years old and I figured this could be great practice for when I coach my own kid’s team (it’s on my ‘Life Goals’ list).

Surprise – I got middle schoolers! Usually, middle schoolers suck. They’re moody and think they know so much more than they actually do. PLUS, they don’t realize that middle school is your ugliest time period. Your limbs are out-growing everything, voice changes, acne, and you start becoming an “adult”. Not a glamorous list. This, however, was great because I don’t have to teach middle schoolers basketball, I just have to teach them how to play basketball better/correctly. I can do that, right?

I asked both my brother and our friend, Nathan, to help with coaching. (Coaching 101 rule 1: Get help.) I thought it’d be a good idea to not only have help, but also have other perspectives to share.

Our first practice finally comes around. For about 5 minutes before practice started, I had my “moment before the moment” when I realized I had no idea how this was going to go. What if the kids are all-stars and think my teaching is stupid? What if I start getting nervous and stuttering and teaching poor mechanics? Or worse, what if these kids just completely suck?

I blew my whistle (Coaching 101 rule 2: have a whistle) and practice officially begun. From that point on the best thing ever happened. I realized that coaching basketball came naturally. All of my years of playing on various teams with different coaches actually paid off. We started with some light stretching and some warm up shots. Of course we did our lay up drill (standard) and then got into some partner drills. Because this was our first practice, we wanted to basically see what we had. Our main focus was defense and rebounding. If we were going to be good at something, it was definitely going to be defense and rebounding. Our kids have a lot of hustle and showed that they wanted to learn and play, and that made the job easier. We finished the practice with a scrimmage and ran some laps for conditioning. I had to admit, I felt really good about this team. I was excited for our first game and to see how the kids played.

Coach Jeremy & Team 7

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