Try Not To Be Your Athletes Last Coach

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what make life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

I try not to be a child’s/young adult last coach. Whether they play for me or leave me. Once a young man have played for me, they have me in their life forever. 
I only make two promises to my scholar-athletes:

1) You will get a chance to compete, learn, and develop.
2) By the time we are finished, if we build trust in one another, and you listen, you will leave me a better young man.

How do you define a successful coach?

You can talk about X’s and O’s, winning percentage, being able to speak to reporters and press conferences, but my key in being a successful coach is building a positive relationship with my scholar-athletes. 
Does that mean be buddy-buddy with them? To baby and pacifier them? To adhere to their every need?  No, actually it’s quite the opposite. When you are genuine, honest, firm, direct, CONSISTENT, have an open door policy, allow the athlete to speak and have a voice, they will respect you more and build a better understanding of your expectations and guidelines. They may not always like it, but they will respect and honor it.

For me personally, when my scholar-athletes graduate, become married, find a passion and joy in a career they love, begin to give back to their community, and become productive young men/woman in society; to me, that is when I have become successful and have won as a coach. Now don’t get me wrong, we still need to win on the court, have talent, skill, and ability to win and produce on the court as well. Just like most things in life, a balance is necessary.

As a coach you will not alway have great kids that listen and do whatever you ask or want them to do. You still will have to face adversity, different personalities from athletes, to staff, to the parents. You will still have those tough young athletes that question your decisions, and are defiant, rather listen to understand they listen to argue and disagree, kids missing practice, scholar-athletes outside influencers and issues off the court, and have every excuse in the book why. How you handle these situations, and how well you are consistent with that approach, will determine whether you keep the locker room and your scholar-athletes respect. 

“I was told over and over again that I would never be successful, that I was not going to be competitive and the technique was simply not going to work. All I could do was shrug and say we’ll just have to see.”– Dick Fosbury

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