The following is beautifully written by University of Washington Assistant Coach Mike Neighbors and should be a must see/read for all coaches -- especially assistant coaches:
Have you ever wondered if you were supposed to be a coach?
Sacramento, California… ARCO Arena… March 29th, 2010… NCAA Elite 8… Stanford (34-1) vs. Xavier (30-3). Winner advances to the Final Four… Stanford had won their first three tourney games by a combined 98 points… Xavier attempting to be first non-BCS school to advance to Final Four in 11 years…20.6 seconds to play… 51-51 tie game… Xavier ball on the side coming out of a timeout… Shot clock is off…Ball inbounded safely… All-American Amber Harris cuts off a high cross screen and draws a double team from Stanford All–Americans, Nneka Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen… Harris finds a wide open Dee Dee Jernigan behind the defense… Amber fires a bullet pass to block… Dee Dee can’t convert the wide open two footer… Harris alertly scrambles for the rebound which she secures… As she dribbles to get space, she finds Dee Dee again even more open and closer to bucket than the first time with 9.5 to play...she misses again… and this time Stanford’s Kayla Pedersen rebounds…
This was the moment I knew I was supposed to be a coach.
If you don’t remember the play or have never seen it, check out this link to hear Stuart Scott’s ESPN call of the action and also what followed in the final 4.4 seconds before you read on.
So much of our daily routine as a coach is spent doing things in an office. We are on the computer researching opponents or recruits. We are manning a remote control watching film in preparation for an upcoming game or one of our own games/practices. We are on our phone chatting with other coaches about the latest gossip or news of the day. We are filing out paper work for an upcoming road trip. On top of that high school coaches are grading papers, filling out absentee forms, doing lunch duty, or meeting with a parent about a student’s generally poor attitude in your math class.
While vital to execution of our jobs, it is NOT what our players really need from us. If you as a coach can’t perform the necessary duties of your job without tiring out or burning out, you will never be there when your players truly need you.
I learned this one the hard way over the years. I found myself so wrapped up in “doing my job” that most times I wasn’t there to do my real job. Sure, I had some highlights. I was there at times, but wow did I miss out on so many more.
Over the last two years since that Stanford game, I have been trying to collect all the times I was there when a player needed me as well as the times I wasn’t. With help from other Newsletter group members and coaching colleagues input, I hope we can share a piece that will help young coaches from having to learn these lessons the hard way.
I can assure that your boss will never be upset if “your TPS reports are late” if you are tending to the welfare of one of your players. (Office Space reference for you non-movie buff basketball heads)