Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Coach vs Player-Coach

Being a basketball (or any sport) coach is a challenging task, even for the professionals.   In my years of involvement of basketball, I've been lucky to have been a player, coach and referee.   If being just a coach itself is tough, imagine being a player-coach.

I coached kids basketball for 14 years and the challenges were running practices, skill development, motivation and preparing the kids for the games.  Coaching during the game was not always easy but probably the best part of being just a coach.  However, my best skill as a coach was identifying a kid's best talent and putting it to the best use for the team.  After all, five Michael Jordan's or Lebron James' do not make a team.   You need the Rodman's and Paxson's too.

As I went away from coaching kids and playing myself more, I eventually started being a captain / coach to some of my adult league teams.  With the adult leagues I play in, there isn't practices.  I might have say in the players if the league was a draft league but this wasn't always the case.   Season by season, the challenge was you had a changing set of players with varying skill sets.

As time went on though, I realized the hardest past WASN'T figuring out the players on my teams.  That was actually the easy part.  The hard part was figuring out how much I SHOULD PLAY, especially if you're not having a great night.  You see, some of the other team captains are talented and highly skilled.  For myself, I am the jack of all trades and fit into a team in many different ways.   If I'm on my game, I'll play more for sure.  If my game is off, I might play myself more to see if I can work through things.  Otherwise, the hard choice is to sit yourself.

Coaching at any level is tough and it's even harder when you have to "coach yourself".  But I wouldn't keep doing it if it weren't enjoyable at some level.  :)

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