Monday, December 03, 2007


In a moment of weakness I volunteered to coach my 10 year-old son's basketball team this season. I love basketball, and I love my son; but teaching 5th graders to play basketball is kind of like teaching your cat to read the newspaper. That is, it's really hard and most likely they're not going to get that much out of it.

I've got a pretty good team, but chances are that even most of the boys on my team won't be playing in middle school. None of them really have any interest in playing basketball in the technical sense of following a particular offensive or defensive scheme. It's just basically another hour of recess for them. They want to play 5 games of simultaneous 1 on 1 in the best school-yard tradition. Which is cool. This is a rec league and its primary purpose is physical fitness. Still, i cling to the misguided hope that i might impart some real basketball knowledge to one or two of them.

My dad was a high-school coach in Indiana for 40 years, and pretty good at it too. I'm not quite sure what his secret was. Clearly he possessed greater rapport with fellow human beings than do I, and it probably didn't hurt that he was fairly large and somewhat intimidating. It might just be that his players could sense that he wanted to coach as much as they wanted to play.

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