|Coaching and Teaching some of Utah's youth|
Spending Time and Giving back to the Game.
By Coach Scott Fields
I am writing this post after a workout this morning, I am speaking from my heart and winging this from my cuff this morning. I just want to share with you what's on my mind at this time. Thanks for indulging me. I hope it sparks dialog and triggers deep thought.
There is a Chinese proverb that states "Give a man a Fish he will Eat for a Day, Teach a man to Fish and he will Eat for a Lifetime"
I am inspired to write this post in the wake of what is being reported this past week with the Little League World Series. It's true, I don't have all of the facts and I am not rushing to judgement here. I am writing this to all the Coaches who Coach for the next Endorsement, the next Win, the Next Sponsorship Check, the next higher level Coaching job. I am writing this to all the Coaches who live through their athletes.
I am also not writing this post to lump All Coaches in the same category.
I am aware that many AAU coaches get a bad rap. It is true, I coached my son for three years in AAU and I witnessed some things that I was ashamed I was observing. I coached my son, so I could help him and his friends develop and make a transition to the next level easier. It was bonding time and we made it Family time. I took my 13 years of college coaching and I took my 15 plus years of professional coaching experience to Teach the game I love to a great group of fine young men.
I coached my son for three summers his 15-16-17 yr old age groups. I was between Professional Coaching jobs in China and Venezuela.these were Spring and Summer times. I was with former NBA and NCAA standout Thurl Bailey. Thurl is well respected in our community, I will say this, it was Thurl who contacted me,and I was honored, this was his AAU organization. I was under his umbrella. I believe we are as good as the people we surround ourselves with. Thurl is well respected for providing opportunities for young players and respected in the Basketball community. Thurl and I shared the same vision. It was about the kids.
I will say it again. It was about the Kids.
I know I am coming strong, things we were teaching were Life Skills. But we used the Game of Basketball as a platform to do this.
I am careful to not generalize here, or make stereotypical remarks, what I am trying to say is the following:
Parents and Coaches, lets put our delusional thoughts aside here for a moment. The chances or percentages of your son or daughter or athlete becoming the next NBA or WNBA All Star are very slim. Almost a chance of none. Can it happen? Yes, but realistically, These All Star athletes are very gifted, they have been blessed with a tremendous skill set, they have a drive and ambition second to none. These athletes also have a work ethic unknown to many. I just want to put it all in proper perspective.
I have been blessed and I am humbled to have had the experiences I have had in my career. I am not going to name drop to impress, I am just going to say. I have been lucky and made multiple sacrifices along the way.
Coaches should be coaching the fundamentals. Drilling the fundamentals. Demonstrating the fundamentals, and repeating those fundamentals.
Dribble, Pass, Shooting, Rebounding ect.
I am not trying to come off sounding like a Charles Barkley or Kobe Bryant. But there is some truth to some of their comments.
We here in America have become lazy, complacent, we are not Teaching our youth how to Play the right way. I have coached Professionally in Europe and I have seen the benefits of a Club and their youth development programs. I see players today going to college programs and they don't know how to throw a rap around post entree pass. I see players who don't know how to use a screen. I see college level players who don't know how to take a charge or play help side defense? Is the the High School Coaches fault ? Yes! Is it the AAU coaches fault? Yes! Is it the parents fault ? Yes! We are all Quilty for enabling our youth, causing a since of entitlement. This is an issue with our current society. We live in a microwave society, We all want it. We want it now, not allowing time for the process. Not only should basketball skills be taught and demonstrated properly we should also be teaching the more important Life Skills.
I also believe that these life skills should be taught. On and Off the court.
I believe that teaching our youth how to represent them self appropriately. Looking a person in the eye, having a firm hand shake, speaking articulate.
We should be teaching our youth how to dress. I am not saying everyone should be in suit and tie, I am saying to them to be neat and clean. I am talking about pants pulled up, shirts pressed, shoes clean, not untied, pants sagging past the backside. Not wearing a hat inside a building or backwards, putting their phones and headphones down and off when in a classroom, or in public.I am talking about how to represent their Family, their Coach, their Team, their Community with Class and Pride. I am talking about teaching youth how to go into a restaurant, how to order, how to speak with their host with respect. I am talking about teaching older kids lessons on what it means to own and how to use a debit or credit card, Teach them how interest rates work. Teach them how to write out a budget. I know checks are becoming obsolete, but teach a young athlete how to write a check. How about Teaching a young athlete how to dress for an job interview? Taking the time to set up and run a mock interview. How many coaches talk to our youth about being a gentlemen? How to treat a women with respect. How to talk to your dates parents? How to open a door for their date ? I hope parents are role models ? But if not, they need to be taught. What about giving your arm to a gal? How to hold her hand to make her feel comfortable and secure in a crowd. Do you teach them how to properly introduce himself and friend to others? Do you talk to them and teach them how to fill out a job application? How to approach an employer? How to interview for a job?
How about how to pick a spouse or significant other, and then how to treat that person. Treat them like Queen or King everyday, make everyday Valentines or a honeymoon. Not to take that person for granted. Teach them how to communicate effectively daily with that girlfriend or boyfriend.
Teach an athlete how to cook for himself, how to use a microwave, how to work an oven. How about how to do his or her own laundry? How about teaching them to sow?
I am sad and very disappointed when I learn about Coaches who abuse their title and cross boundaries with members of the opposite sex for sexual favors....Are you kidding me! You are not a coach, you are a predator? And you should never be a Coach again.
I am pointing a finger at you, if you are a person who can't hold himself or his players accountable for his or her actions?
I am pointing a finger at you, if you are a person who tries to build a relationship to exploit an athlete for any type of personal gain.
I know it sounds political to use words such as Accountability or Transparency.
I am also sad to learn of Coaches who bend the rules to Win? What are you teaching our youth? Are you saying it is ok, unless you get caught? Are you saying it's ok, because we will win? Now like the Little League coaches who have it suddenly striped away, then have to explain why it was taken away?
What about teaching Honesty, Integrity, Loyalty, Humility, how about Teaching the art of Giving Back? The quality to Give to those who are less fortunate? How about Teaching Kids how to choose a friend wisely? Who about teaching future Leaders on how to stand up for a purpose? A cause? Teach kids what it means to help in a community project? Teach them the responsibility of how to clean a park, or a tagged bridge.
Teach a child if they skip a class they will not Play. Teach a young athlete if they are Late he will not participate. Teach a young athlete he they act out on the court or on the bench, they will not have a jersey. Teach them what sportsmanship is all about.
I have seen to many Coaches scared to teach discipline. I see Coaches trying to be friends, not coaches.
How many times have you seen a Coach afraid to talk to a parent about an issue? Coaches need to Teach parents how to be Parents, fill their athletes emotional fuel tank. Be supportive and Echo and support the coach with his choice on structure and discipline. I want to see more Coaches demand respect and Teach these previously mentioned Life skills plus many others. I want to see coaches not allow entitlement. I want to see Coaches Empower and Mold our youth to be productive citizens. I want to see Coaches hold themselves Accountable and Lead by example. l want to see Coaches who prepare and out work all other coaches. I want to see Coaches who take the time to Teach Life Skills, the Worlds current events and how it could effect them. I want to see Coaches who teach from others mistakes.
If you are not Coaching for the right reasons, please don't smear the title of Coach for those who honor and take pride in the title.
We all have to answer to the Person in the Mirror.
I want to see Values, Morals, I want to see more coaches who Teach that Life is hard, Life is struggles, I want to see Coaches Teach our youth how to handle adversity with class. I want to see Coaches Teach young athletes how to be selfless and grateful. I want to see Coaches Teach our youth how to learn from a loss. I want to see more Coaches Teach our Youth how to say "Thank You" "I appreciate you" and " I Love you"
I want to see Coaches teach how to talk with their Teachers or Administrators with class and respect when they struggle with class work or don't understand a lesson.
I want to see Coaches take the time to get to know and understand their Players and their backgrounds. I want to see Coaches teach players not to Judge, not to Hate. I want to see Coaches Teach Players how to talk with Parents when they are making unhealthy choices for their lives. I want to see Leaders being molded. I want to see successful hard workers being made for our communities. I want to see Coaches teach Responsibility. A successful Coach can teach Character with a loss. I believe a successful Coach can create a culture of all things Right.
We as Parents are not always right. We as Coaches are not always right. But we are correct in Educating ourselves and Empowering ourselves with knowledge of others daily.
I hope you have enjoyed this post. If you are a Players Coach, Teach and Educate your Players daily. Challenge your players daily to leave their comfort zone and Grow.
If you are a Coaches Coach, Teach your Coaches to Lead by example. How your coaches to a higher standard. Empower your Coaches. Educate your Coaches, provide resources for your Coaches with everything they need, not with what they want.
I will be the first to share with you, I have made mistakes in my past, I have made mistakes in my career, but I have learned and grown from each of those mistakes and I have not repeated those mistakes. I am not perfect, but I strive to be, thank you for allow me to grow with you on this journey. I am humbled by your support.
I hope that this post will trigger inspiration on your journey in sports and in life.
But I hope this inspires You as Coaches to always do it for the Kids.