The journey

I didn’t do a great deal tonight, I observed and supported the session as the Director of Basketball took the whole year group through a series of offensive movement sets. The player group consisted of Gold, Academy and U18 Premier players, a real mix of ‘long’ bodies, seasoned experience and talented prospects (relative to their age and stage). I was able to make comparisons, provide feedback and talk to plays as an assistant checking for understanding and correcting movement patterns. In fact, I had no issues giving up my practice in order to establish a position statement, a review of the year to date if you like. The session allowed me to assess our ability against the more talented groups within the club. In fact, I was quite excited to be able to appraise our players against a far more superior and talented group.

We ran hard, communicated, displayed maximal effort throughout the session and worked together to solve problems. I was more than happy with our effort, we looked as though we were coming together somewhat, as if we had clicked as a group and were ready to hold each other to account. I exchanged basketball and player specific conversations with the DB, we had somewhat opposing approaches in some respects, but I was also appreciative of his work effort, diligence and overall professionalism. I committed to learning something from the evening, hoping that my players would follow suit and take the opportunity to get better.

Over the course of the evening I had become acutely aware of the variance in motivation, particularly among my players and in comparison to some of the other young people in attendance. The very reason why some players attended training and wished to compete was different, but not just a little bit, but rather a great deal different. Surprising to me, it wasn’t as a means of getting better, rather, central to their attendance was companionship and friendship. I hadn’t expected to see players focused on laughing, sharing stories and approaching the practice with such casualness. In fact, I believe that we as coaches often neglect to consider this position, opting to treat everybody as performance athletes. Tonight was a good reminder for me, an opportunity for me to ask myself how it was I treated each and everyone of the young people I worked with.

At the conclusion of the session I said my good byes and left the gym hoping to get home in short order. I was tired, I wanted to unwind, and most importantly of all, I wanted a little time and space to reflect on where I was as a basketball coach. What was it that drew me back to the 94 feet day in and day out? As an individual and as an aspiring coach I was faced with challenges, hurdles to overcome if I was to be better, and if it was to be that I should succeed as a coach and achieve my goals. It was sometimes a tiring process, a long journey from where it was I had travelled. As I pulled on to my drive I was reminded of where it was I had come from and what I had achieved, the difference being nothing more than hard work, effort and patience, the very same things I ask of my players!!

Success is as much or as little as you want it to be, it is the difference between the space in behind you and the space in front of you and where you choose to stand!!

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