Coaches, What Are We Doing?

This video is a few years ago, but the message Coach Van Gundy delivers is spot on.  Our role as youth coaches is to teach skills. Period.

This year is my first season as an assistant coach on my son’s traveling basketball¬†team.¬† We are a “C” level team which means most of the kids have developing fundamentals – bringing the basketball up the court is enough of a challenge, let alone dealing with zone defenses, presses and the like.

In our first few tournaments we encountered situations where pressing and zone were allowed. Unfortunately, we ran into teams that decided that it was more important to press as long as the tournament rules allowed, then fall back into a zone trap once they had established big leads. What is the purpose of doing that? I think it’s exactly what Coach says in the video – the coaches are more interested in bragging to their buddies about their coaching prowess, rather than building skills. Even in a 40 point win, I argue by employing pressing they are not building skills either. Stealing the ball becomes their offense.

The other part that stinks, is that to attempt to avoid potential embarrassment in a tournament we have to spend over 50% of our practice time on press breaking. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get away from that and teach the kids how to dribble, pass and shoot? I’d like to propose that at lower levels we ban everything but man-to-man defenses.

On a positive note, we did run into one tournament where pressing was banned. It was a much better experience for the kids overall. Why can’t that be the rule?

Technology Easing Our Family Crisis

Last week my father suffered a mild heart attack.  During the process of diagnosing the heart attack, a CT scan revealed a significant mass in his lung.  To make a long story short, this heart attack probably saved his life.

As we have been dealing with this crisis, we have had the need to communicate with our sister in Colorado as well as extended family members.  During this process it occurred to me how much our everyday mobile technology and social media has made that task so much easier.  Also, it has helped us cope with long waits by providing entertainment options (e.g. music, games and media) and access to the outside world.

In this photo you see what I am talking about.  My brothers and Mom are enjoying a game of Monopoly on an iPad, and my brother is using SMS on his iPhone to continuously communicate with our sister.

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Andy, Charley and Mom playing Monopoly on iPad

 

Social media has also been a huge help on a few levels. ¬†First, posting updates on Facebook has allowed me to update my broader network on what’s happening with Dad. ¬†It has also invoked a virtual prayer chain in support of my family during this crisis. ¬†I was able to read to Dad many names of people sending well wishes. ¬†I got the feeling he appreciated the thought.

Coping with this whole ordeal would have been much more difficult without these tools.  Thank God we have them!