Be Coachable

This summer I’ve spent a lot of time in work out facilities watching the next generation of athletes prepare for the upcoming season. Before the summer started, I would have bet that the players are different in that they don’t work hard. What I’ve found is that the parents are different, especially as it comes to AAU related sports. Parents are very comfortable walking up to coaches right after games with gripes. Walking on the floor at half time with Gatorade bottles and instructions for the game. Some of it has to do with the fact that parents are more educated about injuries, hydration, and the likes, but what I’ve told parents is that this should be treated school. Treat the coach that same way you would a teacher at your child’s school. As a I child growing up in Chicago, parents did not challenge the coach’s authority as often as they do now. Parents I believe get lost in what they see in the NBA and college via media outlets as the route their child is going to take. The reality is that only a minute number of the players that I’ve seen this summer are college recruitable kids. Of those, maybe 5 players will put on an NBA jersey.

More parents than ever think that their child is a true basketball player. When things don’t go in their favor, they blame the coach. Now, I’ll be the first to admit most coaches at the high school level and below is novice but so are the players. Everyone is learning. Also know that the coach is not trying to lose. He has the job of putting a group on the floor that can compete to win against the another who is trying to win.

I work with an AAU program and honestly the parents are realistic. Some get a little crazy, but nobody is perfect right? But all of them are concerned about how much their child is playing, whether the team won or not and the other kids not passing the ball. I’m here to tell you that your child is going to deal with that everywhere that he plays basketball, even in their own driveway at home. Second, the coach’s job is to put people in a position to be successful in the group. He’s not playing. He not passing to your child. He does not hate your child. In fact, if he/she is on the team, the coach probably likes them or something they bring to the table. Stop blaming the coach and focus on getting your child the proper individual training.

Basketball on the high school level and below should be used to instill values, respect, sharing, discipline, teamwork, and responsibility. These are the things that coaches talk about. The last thing the coach needs is to be undermined by a parent while trying to instill these values. Today is being used to be famous, popular and a way to get a college scholarship.

Not long ago I had a parent call a coach a coward because the coach did not play his son more minutes. I explained to the parent that coach wants to win and more importantly the team plays almost every weekend, two or three games a day. The kid will get his opportunity(s). The player and his family moved on to another team which may be a better fit.

As a basketball player, I never took time to enjoy the game until I was about to retire. That was a huge mistake. Have fun and enjoy the games.

Randy Holcomb

Randy Holcomb

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