Saturday, December 10, 2011

Coaching Situations

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Talking basketball on my blog isn’t the safest thing these days.  Out of all the things I’ve ever discussed on this thing, basketball has gotten me in more trouble than anything else.  Funny how that works. 

Certain things have made me reflect on basketball, again.  One is the forced resignation of Maria Carrillo High School girls’ coach Steve Azevedo.  I didn’t know Steve personally but I gathered he was a coach of the old school order; mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding.  Well, it looks like the old guard of coaches is being forced to change their ways or risk the wrath of parents who are angry that their darlings are not getting the playing time.  Parents of players actually hired an attorney to look into whether they had a case against the girls basketball coach, prompting Azevedo to leave his position and prepare a response to the allegations. 

It’s a sad situation.  I’ve dealt with these things in the past and it’s often a cross between weak coaching and weak administration.  There’s been times when I’ve probably been too much of an aggressive blowhard and there have been times when certain admirations have capitulated to parents that have nothing better to do hunt for coaches.  Thankfully things have changed over the last few years.  Since I took the JV position, I’ve become much more in tune with teaching basketball than simply “coaching” it.  I’ve also mellowed in terms of letting things that are being said bother me; I’m basically at a point at which I think I’m a pretty good coach and confident in my abilities.  But I think proactive parent relationships are a big, big help.  Parents who have kids coming into my program already know that I’m intense, demanding, and require things like dedication, hard work, and a shirt-and-tie on game days.  I also have a parent meeting early in the year in which I explain that I’m loud, direct, and will constantly push their child.  I tell them that I will never talk about playing time and team management, but that everything else is totally transparent and that without them we can’t be a successful program.  I think we have established an excellent core of parents who really go the extra mile on driving kids, staffing the snack shack, and just attending every single game.  It’s made the last six years pretty dog-gone enjoyable. 

I think the main reason I’m having so much fun is because at this point in my life I can live without basketball.  I know, it sounds weird.  But I’m very content with my job as a teacher now and basketball is just as important as APUSH or Comp Gov or Econ.  If one goes by the wayside, I still have a massively fulfilling job working with kids.  Winning is fun (and lord knows I detest losing) but the whole thing is learning.  And that’s pretty cool.   

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