Here’s the second speech of my Toastmaster series (view Speech #1: Love Stories) which I prepared almost five years ago.
My brother helped me edit and organize the content.
94ft is the length of a basketball court. As a player, this was the distance I had to run back and forth. And 94 feet is the distance my voice covers as I cheer, instruct and pump up my team. I have always been this way, very loud and vocal during games, as some of you have seen during the Hungy Hoops*. The difference nowadays is that most of that “noise” is coming off the court, as I am now playing a different role. I am now the coach. I never really imagined myself being one but somehow it just happened naturally. A team from our summer league invited me to coach, and we won. The following year, we repeated. It just kept coming and somehow all this winnings, made me thirst even more and I wanted to dig deeper into this role. I wanted to find out what would make me a truly successful coach.. a great coach.
So far, in my experiences there are three things that has steered me towards this goal.
First of all, it’s the passion to win. I am a very driven individual, always striving to be the best that I can be, and I expect nothing less from my team. As Samuel Jackson said in the movie Coach Carter, “Average is just NOT good enough. PERIOD!” I do NOT push the team to win at all costs, using dirty tricks and what-nots, instead I try to instill in them that winning attitude. That determination to never settle and to keep improving and honing their skills. I continually push them to the limit… to be the best that they can be. So that soon, winning becomes a habit.
However, you can only win if you somewhat enjoy what you are doing. So another thing that one needs is that appreciation for the game. I believe that in order to coach about something really well, one must enjoy that something. One does not need to be a star player, heck I am no star player, but one must be a student of the game. By this, I mean, one must continuously learn about the game. The keyword here is continuous. Knowing the basics and fundamentals is very important but it is equally important to be in touch with the latest developments. New drills, new training techniques…
Those who know me have seen my dedication to the game. I often end up awake late at night watching videos and reading articles on the latest offensive and defensive strategies, coming up with my own practice drills and a lot more.
All this winning and loving the game is necessary but we must not forget that coaching is about the people. Finally, I believe that a successful coach is one who truly cares about his team, his players. For the players to respect and follow a coach’s instructions, one must have made that connection with each of them and in order to do that, one must understand the individuality of each player. The coach must allot time to really get to know each of his players. He must know what works for each player. Does the player respond well to simple instructions? Do you need to coach him one-on-one? Or, from time to time, maybe the coach needs to get on someone’s face.
I was guilty of this before. I just blurted out instructions here and there, not realizing that some players are not used to that. I got in some of my players’ faces, not knowing that they couldn’t handle that well. That it was making the situation worst. It was a good thing that one of my players was brave enough to talk to me about it, and I have changed my style since then. Until this day, I make sure that I try to talk to each of my players individually to see what they need help on. Our conversations would often go beyond sports and basketball, talking about their family, their studies, their work and even their love ife. In showing them that I really care for them even off the court, I am able to gain their respect on the court.
So there you have it.. In summary, it is again all about my favourite subject. Love. Love for Winning, Love for the Game, and most importantly, Love for your Players. As I continue on towards this journey, I now know that to be a great coach, my influence has to go beyond those 94 feet…
*Hungry Hoops was a friendly basketball game organized for the benefit of Food for Hungry Minds.
I had scheduled this to be posted mid-June but I decided to post it earlier because of an article (I had posted earlier) which really made coaching all worth it. Proof that my influence somehow went beyond those 94 feet: Enema; When the losing team is not a loser after all.