Thursday, April 3, 2014

Basketball Coaching... Who Knew?

Volleyball has always been my sport.  It's been my sport since grade 4 when Mr. Jacobs recruited me to the team he had in elementary school because in PE class he noticed that I could serve over the net from behind the line already.  It's been my sport ever since it made me feel successful and part of a team.  I've loved lots of sports as a spectator though: ice hockey (you have to specify when you have international readers), soccer (futbol for you international folks), gymnastics, martial arts and the list could go on but as an athlete (yes, even with all my chub I still know the athlete that dwells within) volleyball has always been first.  I've learned to love playing soccer and basketball, even running (or shuffling in my case).  But as a coach I've always had the most success and comfort with MY sport: volleyball.  So last year when I came to my new school and asked to coach MY sport, I was shocked to learn that MY sport wasn't played or coached at my new school, but that I could coach the youngest team of Boys Basketball.  Because I love what coaching does that teaching in a classroom can't, I said yes and so it began.  That first season was mostly a mess.  I didn't really have a great grasp on what I was doing and being injured in my back sure didn't help.  I survived the season but the boys grasped little of the game and struggled with their skill development (they loved the sport and our time together so that made all the difference), I didn't feel like a success but the guys who coached the older boys were happy with what I had been doing.  They asked me to help with the next age level up (Under 14s - Junior Varsity) and I agreed as it would be a good chance for me to learn.  The tryouts went well and the coach made great selections.  The team looked great and then the coach dropped out, leaving me to coach.  I wasn't ready but the U19 (Varsity) coach stepped in and I kept my spot as an assistant coach. *phew* I learned a ton that season, I learned about plays, defense, offense, player positions and the like.  And I learned what it was like to win a gold as a coach. It was stressful and wonderful.
Fast forward to this current school year and now I'm the head coach for the U19 and the U14 teams.  The U19 boys let me feel like I knew what I was doing (the reality is that they are an incredibly talented group of boys with a heart for the sport and for each other) and we took gold again, with only 1 defeat for the entire season.  I was on top of the world!  Now I'm in the midst of the U14 season and I've challenged my boys to step up a division (there are 4 divisions ranging from top schools in sport to the smaller schools that are just figuring it out and we are competing in the second division even though we are just a small school) and they are answering with heart and hard work.  I don't know if a third gold is in our future but I know basketball is fast becoming MY sport... well, it's tied for first anyway.

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