Bridging Leadership Lessons from the Workplace and Those Experiences Shaping Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Leaders
When you finally realize that you don’t know everything, that is when your ability to have an impact on others in a positive manner dramatically increases. Whether engaging mentors - directly or indirectly - or continuing your lifelong learning through classes, experiences or reading posts like this, the desire to learn, grow and be better is fundamental to happiness. I have written two posts recently, A Coach Getting Coached and Tough Conversations are a Part of Coaching, that highlight the advantage of continuing to grow.
Recently, I received a newsletter from Coach Mac at Basketball for Coaches that I felt was a good one to share as it really hit home for me on what you are seeing in the game of basketball today. It also can be applicable to the business solace as well. Maybe not in the same physical way, but in the emotional way that people check-out or distance themselves from others. I feel my post on Expect Excellence the 2nd Pillar of Impact ties in well with Coach Mac’s reference to the “next play” mentality.
The article below has been copied from Coach Mac’s newsletter with his permission. Be sure to visit his website at www.basketballforcoaches.com to expand your perspective and to continue your learning Beyond Today.
Selfish players create 4-on-5 disadvantages
Thursday July 7, 2022
Something that really grinds my gears:
When a player falls to the ground (without injury), and it takes them 5+ seconds to get back to their feet and get back in the play.
This happens ALL THE TIME when a player drives and doesn't get a foul call.
The offensive player ends up on the deck after flailing their body looking for a foul, and instead of springing back to their feet, they just sit there...
Throw their arms up.
Stare at the referee.
Shake their head.
After about 5 seconds of making sure everyone in the gym knows they were ROBBED of two free throws, they slowly get to their feet.
Oblivious to the fact that they just forced their teammates to defend a possession 4-on-5, which likely resulted in two easy points.
Selfish play if you ask me.
And that's why I believe every coach should have a policy similar to Shaka Smart. (Current head coach of Marquette)
His rule is simple:
"If you're down, you have one second to get up."
That seems like an easy-to-understand, straightforward rule to me.
A rule that "forces" players to have a *next play* mentality instead of allowing them to whine and sook about a call that the referee isn't going to go back in time and change their mind about.
So, once you have that rule in place, here's a great drill to practice getting back on D after a player goes down and springs back to their feet:
It's called "Corner Recovery," and you'll find full instructions for how it works on pages 27 - 28 in my "22 Small-Sided Games" booklet.
Which is downloadable here:
Championship Coaching Course
- Coach Mac
Make it Fun: Play U to 42
(Originally posted on Dec. 29, 2009, as Have Fun While You Practice - Part III. Revised on May 3, 2022.)
This is another installment in the Make it Fun series. When you enjoy what you do, it rarely seems like work. Keep your workouts balanced and include games to increase the enjoyment and to add competition. Previously, we introduced a game to work on Free Throws and another shooting game that you treat like a round of golf. This is a common shooting game that I call U-to-42 where you shoot from established spots on the court and you work on multiple aspects of your game - shooting, ball fakes, ripping the ball, pull-up jumpers, and lay-ups.
Setting Up the Game
Start with five shooting spots along the 3-point arc: each baseline corner, each wing, and the top of the key. At each location, you make 4 moves.
Scoring is straightforward forward
Each spot is worth a total of 8 points so after you shoot from each spot (20 shots and a total possibility of 40) you will then finish by shooting two free throws with each one being worth 1 pt. to give you a total possible score of 42.
Learning From the Game
Keeping track of your make and misses at each spot can help you identify areas of your game on which to focus. Are there certain locations where you shoot a higher percentage than others? Do you hit more pull-up jump shots when you go to the left versus the right? Are you more comfortable shooting catch and shoot 3-point shots than attacking the basket?
Set yourself personal goals and compete against yourself trying to improve each time. Build in rewards and punishments. Introduce the game to your friends and when you are together, it can be a fun way to compete while also getting up shots. When you are not together, you can shoot them a text: “38 in U to 42. Try to beat it.”
To help you get a feel for the game, you can add a chair to serve as a “defender” to help as you attack or have a partner play soft defense to contest shots and help with attacking angles and finishes.
You can always adapt the game to where you are at your current skill level. In this drill, if you are in 5th grade or below, avoid the 3-point shot. Move your spot in a couple of feet. Focus on your technique and not heaving the ball to the basket.
As you improve your score, you can add complexity at all the levels.
At the 3-point line you can introduce jab steps, or a dribble move to create space. I don’t recommend the step-back 3 point shot unless you are an elite level player. There are much easier and therefore, much higher percentage shooting options than the step back. Don’t get caught up in the hype videos. Play the percentages.
For the pull-up jumpers, you could add in a second dribble to set up the defender for step-back move or you introduce a shot fake with a step through when the defender goes by you. Maybe you introduce a secondary move after the first hard dribble to change direction and create more space. Use your creativity.
There are so many options available for you on attacking the basket. There are many variations of dribble attacks to get around or split defenders. Introduce double moves as you attack the rim to keep the defender guessing. YouTube is loaded with finishing videos that you can practice such as floaters, Donuts (Rondo), Pro Hops, Euro steps and countless others.
What I have always loved about basketball is the endless number of games you can play while you practice. You are limited only by your imagination. As the youngest of five kids with a significant age gap, I learned an entire world was open to me when I shot baskets. Imagining I was playing at Boston Garden with Larry Bird or taking Magic Johnson to the hole at the Forum. Playing in the NCAA Championship for the Indiana Hoosiers, somehow always winning 100 to 98 on a last second shot or free throws. That imagination helped instill a love for the game that will continue to grow Beyond Today.
(Originally posted on Dec. 22, 2009, as Have Fun While You Practice - Part II. Revised on April 20, 2022.)
This is another installment in the Make it Fun series. If you want to avoid burn-out, you need to make workouts fun for players. Break up the monotony of the grind and allow them to work on their game in a fun and carefree environment. This is a fun shooting game called Hoop Golf. Just like golf, Hoop Golf can be fun and challenging. It allows you to keep your score and measure your performance against yourself as well as others.
Setting Up the Game
You can choose to either play 9 or 18 “holes” by picking 9 or 18 spots on the court that are in your range. Having fun is important but getting better is the ultimate purpose. Make sure the shots are the type of shots that you will be taking in games as well.
As in golf, the objective is to get the lowest score possible. In golf, your score is based on the number of swings you take on each hole. In Hoops Golf, your score is based on your shot attempts at each spot. You shoot from the first spot until you make the basket, then move to the next spot. Continue until you have made a shot from each spot.
There are two aspects to the scoring process that is best to record to allow you to compare progress over time. The score of each individual spot and the overall score. Work on lowering your score as you attempt to "Ace" each hole. Obviously, a perfect score of 9 or 18 depending upon the number of “holes” is the goal.
Learning from the Game
By keeping track of how many shots it takes to make a basket at each spot, you may find that some “holes” or spots are easier for you than others. This can provide valuable information on where you should be focusing your time in practice and where your money spots are for games.
As your score gets lower, you can always make the course tougher by moving back the "tees" or by adding moves to the shots or using an opposite hand.
You can add PAR scoring to each hole to provide targets or acknowledge difficulty of the shot. Tightening up a Par of 1 for FTs but 2 for a 3 pointer. Providing handicaps scoring to various players depending upon their skill level adds complexity to the game but may also provide some added excitement as they try and lower their handicap.
As the Coach, you may want to “design the course” for each player to focus on their weaknesses as well as areas of scoring opportunities based upon your offense. Track progress over time allowing the individual to compete against himself but also allow for friendly competition among teammates.
This is a great game to play alone but also with a partner(s) to allow some friendly competition.
It’s important for players, coaches, and parents to keep things in perspective when it comes to sports. It needs to be fun if they are going to maintain a passion. They also need to use these opportunities to get better in a less stressful environment. Balancing the enjoyment with the development will help fuel the passion Beyond Today.
My last post was targeted at parents who were trying to determine if it was okay to play their child up a grade in sports. This is based on parents trying to challenge and develop their kids putting them in a position where they will have to face tougher competition. They typically are looking for life lessons that they hope will prepare them for high school and beyond.
So, on one level, you have the parent challenging their child. On another level you have the trophy chasers who put their high end select travel team into school division tournaments or AAA baseball or softball teams to build up their resume by heading to smaller communities to take on single A teams. That’s not illegal but bordering on being unethical and for sure lacking honor and sportsmanship. Coaches who would rather win against bad teams than lose against good teams fail to do the one thing they are responsible for - develop their players as competitors and people.
But there is an even darker side to youth sports, even beyond the craziness of parents in the stands (yes, that will be a future post as well!). Where parents and/or coaches are so blinded by winning or generating fame that they will knowingly bend, break, and trample the rules without a second thought.
Now, driven by the power and hype of social media, the new trend is for parents to play their kids DOWN a grade! Welcome to the Crazy World of Sports literally March Madness. Holding kids back a grade is understood when they are young based upon educational, physical, social, or emotional development struggles. Prior to Kindergarten, it is commonly recommended by the school system that boys born in the summer months should wait for the following year to begin school.
Some of you may remember almost 20 years ago when a dynamic pitcher took the U.S. by storm throwing a perfect game in the Little League World Series. Danny Almonte was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the Bronx to be with his father. He led his team to the U.S. championship game but lost when he had used up all of his innings to pitch. He struck out 62 of 72 batters and only gave up 3 hits! A dominant performance for any 12-year-old. But the sad reality is that he wasn’t 12, he was 14.
The teams and coaches had complained that the young man didn’t look like a typical 12-year-old and definitely didn’t throw like one. For any of you that have had kids play travel ball, you know the feeling. How many times have you said, “Did he drive here?” “Is she a player coach?” When it came to light, the team had to forfeit all its games and they were stricken from the record books. The rest of the team had to pay the price because a parent was more concerned with their child's fame and success than the rest of the team or simply, honor.
Did the coaches know? Did the parents know? What about the kids? Was he able to keep up a like for 2 years never revealing his age? It’s more plausible in this case where birth certificates are not common when moving to a new country. But it isn’t only in those situations.
Around 2004, I took a mix of 1st - 3rd grade boys to play in an AAU tournament. We were playing up in the 3rd grade division and in our first game we were throttled something like 60-2. I was amazed at the size of these kids and how in 3rd grade they were shooting step back 3 pointers. Something that wasn’t as prevalent then as it is now. The referee came up to me after the game and said, “Just because this is a kid’s game, doesn’t mean the coaches don’t cheat.” I looked at him quizzically, and he said, “There’s no way those kids are in 3rd grade.” Our next game we were defeated soundly again but it was much more competitive. I talked to the coach before the game about the previous team we played, and he proceeded to tell me that a couple of the kids were 5th graders. He knows this because he coached one of the kids in football! Needless to say, that team did not advance when this was brought to light.
Now fast forward to today, with social media highlighting every play. Select teams have media specialists who market their players to all the national websites and sources. It is a huge business where every parent thinks their child is the next LeBron or Zion. With social media highlighting individuals more than the team, and hype versus substance is what is celebrated, parents are looking to get a leg up on the competition - defined as everyone who is not their child!
Welcome to the world of reclassifying! Initially, this was seen as a way to prepare for college and common practice with the eastern Prep Schools so players can get another year of development before entering college. For those very gifted high school seniors, some will reclassify to enter college sooner to fast track their way to the NBA and get round the rule requiring a person to be one year removed from high school before entering the draft.
But I’m not talking about high school seniors. Parents have begun to reclassify their 7th or 8th grade child, to give them the advantage of being a year older and more developed than their classmates. Many times, they will do this when moving between schools such as Middle School to Junior High. It is not about their development, but the positioning of their child for near term success. These are kids who are already physically developing and may be on the older end of the grade who will then be held back so that they can be a dominant player against kids that are 1 to 2 years younger than them.
Interestingly enough, in the basketball community, this isn’t met with outward disdain as you would expect for someone who is trying to game the system. In many cases they applaud the move, typically because they are hoping he will play with their travel team or school team. As an Old School type of basketball fan, I struggle with this mindset. Especially, when the parents and the “Hype Team” surrounding youth basketball shamelessly post highlights of the 15-year-old dominating the 13-year-old team.
Parents should know better, and you would think they would feel guilt. But they don’t. You can say the kids should know better, but if it is being pushed by the parent, well, chances are they may have a different view of right and wrong. Plus, when their twitter followers and Instagram posts are being shared, the euphoria can be too much. So, while these parents are clearing the pathway for success today, what will the future hold? What happens when the gym lights go out and the highlight dunk doesn’t translate to the real world? The question is whether the glory they are feeling today will lead to success and impact Beyond Today?
Originally Published: 9/1/2009
When I originally wrote this post in 2009, it was targeted to parents who were trying to determine if it was okay to play your child up a grade in sports. Now, driven by the power and hype of social media, the new trend is for parents to play their kids DOWN a grade! I will save that topic for a follow-up post.
Having spent years coaching and leading a youth feeder program, I have watched players and teams come and go. Regardless of the year, there are always some talented players that need to be challenged at a higher level. While the off-season brings opportunity for high level travel teams, there is still a primary focus on developing within your community/school program that will lead to success in high school. In the smaller rural communities, you find the natural allegiance as you move from Elementary School to Junior High to a single High School. Where your current teammates will also be your future teammates.
In the larger cities, there are typically options for which high school you will attend. Many schools don’t have a true Junior High team. So, the travel team is the priority and many times you see players transfer high schools to play with their travel ball teammates instead as in our smaller communities, where you are playing with your neighbors. Our programs focus on school ball and are driven for the success of the community. We are talking about the Out State Hoopers.
The higher-level players will surely go play on travel teams once their school season is done which will provide additional challenges. But what about during the season? As parents we waiver between our desire to see our child be successful and our desire to protect. Is it better for them to struggle and play against older/stronger competition or for them to be successful against kids their own age? It is a tough question and made tougher when you, the parent, are also the coach.
I have had first-hand experience with playing my child up with mixed success. In baseball, my oldest child was physically able to play at the same level but was not ready mentally - especially when you consider he was a summer birthday that did not stay back a year. The reality was that he was typically 1 to 2 years younger than the other kids and if the team played up a grade, he could be 3 years younger. In basketball, he was always a lower end player on the older team but gradually improved to earn more playing time but still not the top performer.
When he finally played with a team made up of his own grade and against teams in his grade, he was able to find success. You could see the light turn on in his head as he was able to slow down the game and the work from playing with older kids allowed him to play at a different pace and with different skills than those in his age group. After that, he was able to translate success at that grade level back to playing on the older team as his confidence skyrocketed.
There is another instance where a younger basketball player played with an older team and was their point guard and a dominant player at the older level. As the kids on that team moved on to school ball and played with only their grade, they found a huge gap in their team as they did not have a player ready to take over the point guard position. That could have a huge impact on a high school program as gaps exist as the sophomores thru seniors enter the same playing arena.
So, when is it okay to play your child up? Well, it depends. It depends on the child; it depends on the child's team, and it depends on what you hope to gain. In our program, we follow the guidance of our High School coaches and their perspective on the child's development. Do they want them staying with their grade and helping to build chemistry and improve as a team? Or do they prefer this player to be challenged so that they can elevate their own game which will encourage others to raise their game to keep up? Below I have listed a series of pros and cons that hopefully you will consider when determining whether your child should play up a grade.
Advantages to Playing Your Child Up
Challenges to Playing Your Child Up
Personally, it was not the right thing for him in baseball. It actually hampered his development. In basketball, I feel it helped my child's development initially, but he needed to have success and he was able to achieve that, by playing against his age group. Balancing his playing between the two different age groups worked well for his personal and athletic development.
I updated this article at this time because travel basketball and baseball seasons are underway. Also, High School playoffs are nearing an end and for those seniors and their parents, it is tough to see this chapter in their life come to a close. As someone who has already seen three of their kids graduate and have watched countless teams wrap up their careers, it’s a great reminder for you newer parents who are smack dab in the middle of the chaos of youth sports, that this is just a blip in time. While such a big part of your world right now, you will look back and realize that it was an extremely small part of your life and your memory. Ultimately, it’s just a game. A game that prepares them for life, but a game, nonetheless. Enjoy your time and remember that the relationship between the parent and the child is much more important than their success on the court. It is that relationship that will make these memories so special Beyond Today.
(This post was originally titled, Husker Chant, and was posted on September 10, 2009.)
While I am in no way a Husker fan or supporter, the Head Coach of my son's 5th/6th grade football team is a Husker fanatic. Complete with the Tommy Frazier reference on his license plates. (Kids, go google Tommy Frazier and Nebraska football and you will understand.)
The coach introduced a pre-game ritual that he borrowed from his beloved Huskers. It is a powerful message to send to our nation's future about development, fairness, and sportsmanship. It doesn't ask for an advantage… just an opportunity. A chance to grow and develop to allow them to compete. It basically talks about the right way to win and if you lose, you still need to keep things in perspective and thank your opponent for competing and congratulate them on their victory.
Typically, the Coach would lead, and the team would repeat the line. The first paragraph was spoken solemnly and with respect. The last paragraph is shouted with emotion enabling the young players to feed off it and as they gather in the huddle with the speech rising to the climax, the last sentence is emphasized with an exclamation point after each word. Then a simple breakdown of "(Team Name) on 3" and they would hit the field.
This year, a couple of our "seniors" (a.k.a. 6th graders) have taken upon themselves to lead this ritual at the end of practice, assuming the leadership role that had previously been performed by the head coach. Another sign of the development of not only young players, but young citizens that understand the power of leadership.
THE HUSKER PRAYER
Dear Lord, the battles we go through life,
We ask for a chance that’s fair.
A chance to equal our stride,
A chance to do or dare.
If we should win,
Let it be by the code,
With our heads and our honor held high.
If we should lose,
We will stand by the road
And cheer as the winners go by.
Day by Day!
We get better and better!
A team that can't be beat!
WON'T! BE! BEAT!
Our young people are always watching, learning, and growing. They are nourished by what they are fed and what they consume. Each day we have opportunities to provide “healthy” options that will help them grow into successful, well-balanced, contributors to our society. Finding those moments to interject life lessons and build excitement for those around them have lasting impacts Beyond Today.
Have You Done Your Homework?
Originally posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009. Revised & updated on January 19, 2022.
Homework! A word that strikes fear in the heart of your typical student almost as much as the word "Test". Why? Probably because it takes time and effort that they would rather spend doing something else.
Whether or not you, as a student, likes doing homework, you typically do the homework that is assigned by your teachers at school, and you typically study before tests to improve the likelihood of performing well on the test. The same expectations exist for you in football, basketball, or whatever sport or activity you choose!
In basketball, you need to work on your ball handling and dribble drills at home – as part of your homework. You need to work on free throws and form shooting at home – as part of your homework. You need to work on these skills the same way that you are taught in practice. Taking advantage of muscle memory to help secure repetitive motions that hopefully will result in greater confidence and competence in the respective drills.
If a teacher shows you a certain way to perform a math problem and states that she wants it done her way or you will not get credit, what do you do? Do you do it your own way or the way that she is teaching you? Same in basketball. Practice at home so that you will be prepared for your test – which is the game.
If you do not do your homework, you will struggle on your test. Some people need to study more than others. Some can retain information through hearing and then can immediately put it into practice. We know that these kids exist in the sports world as well. If you do not do your homework in basketball, more than likely you will struggle in the games. Those that get by now with little homework or do not use good study habits may find themselves enjoying success now, but as they progress through Middle School and onto High School, chances are things will change. It may not happen until college, but at some point, the lack of discipline, effort and practice will come back to haunt that student. The same can be said for sports. It is evident by the play on the court who is doing their homework. As in school with a Teacher, a Coach provides your final grade with your playing time. So, the question is simple: Will you be on the Honor Roll, Beyond Today?
Revised & updated December 28, 2021. First Published September 29, 2009, How Do You Find the Time?
Let's see, I need to have Sam to soccer practice at 4pm, Mary to gymnastics at 4:30, Ryan with his personal basketball trainer at 4pm and then to football practice at 5:30 and oh, yeah, it would be nice to have a home cooked meal!
This scenario is playing out across the country as parents cram more and more into the lives of their kids trying to make sure that they can take advantage of the opportunities that we did not have during our youth. It seems that many of us are guilty of this practice...and it's not just the sports minded people. You also have music lessons, dance recitals, scouting, book clubs, nature clubs, math clubs. Uggghhh! It is a never ending “fill the void”, “follow the pea while I shuffle the cup”, “battling the clock” while trying to make sure your child gets enough sleep.
We all want what is best for our kids but at what price?
To keep things in perspective, we should ask ourselves:
Are they having fun?
Are their activities impacting their studies?
Are we spending any quality time as a family?
We also need to keep in mind that not every kid is the same. Don’t pressure your child to keep up with a teammate. They may have different goals and passions. If you have multiple kids going through this process, it’s even more critical that you don’t make assumptions and treat them the same. While it’s obvious growing up that they have their own distinct personalities, we tend to compare them to their siblings and try to follow the same path that worked for the older child.
The bottom line is 20 years from now, will your child thank you for these opportunities? Will your family be stronger? Or will you be asking yourself why you didn't spend more time just being family? Ultimately, the answers to these questions are relevant to the happiness of your child Beyond Today.
Don't Lose Site of the "AHA" Moments
This is a blog post that I wrote in February 2010 when I was coaching my oldest son’s 6th grade basketball team. I completely forgot about the blog posts I had written back then that focused on the development of young players and sharing coaching perspectives with youth coaches.
I have always loved sports - playing and watching as a kid to coaching and watching as an adult. What I have truly come to relish is how much the lessons of sports help in the workplace and in life. The arena of sports is one of the most perfect settings to see the opportunities for leadership on display - the successes and the failures. While I am talking about coaching a 6th grade team below, change out the names and the skills that are being taught and is it really any different? The pressure to win causing you to lose focus on the development of your team? We have all felt that at work.
I hope you enjoy this post because it is a perfect example of how those AHA moments can bring joy Beyond Today.
Don’t Lose Site of the “AHA” Moments
Originally posted Feb. 10, 2010, on bringitstrong.com
When coaching youth sports, it is easy to get caught up in the winning and losing. Why do you coach? To get the trophy? To get another medal for your kids? Are you getting paid? Is there a real national championship on the line? If you are like me, then these are not the reasons. I have spoken before about coaching to develop instead of coaching to win. It's easy to forget that when each weekend you are playing to be a "champion."
This year, I have a new team that is mostly made up of inexperienced players in comparison to the three players that I have coached previously. While I knew up front that this would be a year focused on teaching and developing players, I lost sight of that fact as we began our tournament season and the competitive juices caused me to feel the pressure to win.
As our season is nearing an end, I think about our 17-5 record and am pleasantly surprised. However, I am more pleased with the progress of all our players. Watching kids shoot the ball with their opposite hands. Seeing a kid utilize a move in a game that we have worked on time and again in practice. Being able to give a big squeeze to a kid that finally executed what you have asked from him and seeing that feeling of pride on his face. Being able to give playing time to all the kids even in crucial situations. Sitting back and watching your kids share the ball, help each other off the ground, congratulate each other on a good play and smile as they walk off the court.
That is why I coach. For those moments when a young athlete says "AHA" and they just get it. That is coaching to develop and when you do that, winning will take care of itself.
A trait that I have picked up in 30+ years of coaching sports, is the opportunity to indirectly coach players who are not on my team. It could be the players on the other team, the opposing coaches, the parents of my players, the referees or the obnoxious fan that doesn’t quite understand the game. I admit, this trait is probably extremely annoying if you are on the receiving end of my coaching, but what I have found is that most of my targets don’t understand that I am specifically talking to them. Most of the time, it probably never sinks in but in some cases, it will cause them to think and reflect. Maybe not immediately, but later when they think back or come into a similar situation.
My wife calls this my passive aggressive coaching moments and seems to now take joy in being able to spot them and will always ask for more details on the “why” behind me taking action. There was an incident when my oldest son's team was not playing well against a team that I felt was not as good as our team, but they were more aggressive and physical. We were down 20 which is not something our team was accustomed to, and we were struggling emotionally. The last straw was when a cocky kid on the other team took a cheap shot at one of our players and then started talking trash. Well, our team responded, specifically my son. He proceeded to take over the game and knock down deep 3 after deep 3 and complimented that with defense on their trash talker, repeatedly taking the ball from him that led to easy baskets for us.
The result of his intensity was an almost 40-point swing as we stormed back and pulled away in the second half. As the game was winding down and our team was invigorated by the coming victory, the other team’s frustration reached the boiling point when their trash talking player ran by my son and threw an elbow at him right in front of the referee, who did nothing. Yep, nothing. Let it happen. I’m assuming he felt the game was over and why bother. My son turned to the referee and hollered “Hey ref, are you not going to do anything about that?!”
I immediately called a timeout and stormed towards my son who was standing in front of the other team's bench looking at the referee and began hollering at him so the entire gym could hear. “You don’t act that way! You are a better person than that! You had a great game, and you threw it away by showing disrespect to the referee! I don’t care if that Coach or the kids' parents tolerate his behavior but that is NOT how you will behave!” I drug him back to the bench, took him to the end of the bench and sat him for the final minute of the game. The gym was silent.
I sent a clear message to my son, the opposing coach, the referee, my team, the kids' parents and to the entire gym about the behavior I expect and what I won’t tolerate. I reinforced that regardless of your individual exploits, it is the character you display that really matters. It is HOW you win or lose that reflects your values. After the game, the dad approached me and apologized. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if that was going to be his response, but it obviously sunk in with him and his son. We played against each other in the coming years and the respect grew during that time.
Is this an example of good coaching and parenting? Probably not, especially in today’s feel good about yourself mentality. It was tough coaching AND tough love for my son. For those in attendance, it was probably uncomfortable with half of them saying “right on” and the other half incredulously asking, “why do you let him coach your son?” I know this approach isn’t for everyone because it does publicly embarrass the kids and because of that, I have regrets when I reflect. But when I go back and talk to the kid who I called out, they understand, they know why, and they typically won’t do it again.
They say success and learning is built on failures and responses. If that is true, then I am successful beyond belief because my failures have been numerous over the years! Right or wrong, those events happened in my past and hopefully, I will continue to refine my approaches to improve the effectiveness of teaching and coaching without unintentional negativity to others. It is this desire to raise the expectations through accountability in a positive way that will help young people to maximize their impact Beyond Today.
Tom Brown - a husband and a father who is simply trying to make a difference. Using my experience as a Manufacturing Executive to connect leadership from the boardroom to the hardwood to help teams grow and develop to make a difference in the lives of others.
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