I have a new basketball contributor in Ron Sen. He is a primary and specialty care physician and assistant coach in a middle school girls basketball program. He is very passionate about basketball and they have a bi-weekly cable television sports program. One of his former players (Shey Peddy) is a first team A-10 selection and WNBA draftee. His twin daughters played four years in high school on teams that went 90-6 and won two sectional championships.
Why should your community entrust their daughters to you, the basketball coach? The community must know what you know. As we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Title IX, we know that girls who participate in sports have higher academic performance, better employment outcomes, higher self-esteem, lower teenage pregnancy rates, and reduced rates of obesity, cancer, and osteoporosis. Sports help girls win at life.
Coaching girls isn’t the same as coaching boys. They often come with a blank slate, eager for knowledge. But they aren’t preoccupied with time-wasting showmanship and they perform better when they know WHY they’re learning a skill or doing a drill. They understand the need for correction, but they often do better when corrected without being embarrassed publicly.
Being part of a team often means a lot to their self-worth. I remind them that when coaches correct them, it means the coach reinforces their value and potential. A coach who does not constructively correct his players no longer believes in them.
We set and share high expectations with players and families. We expect excellence in the classroom, with a former player in medical school and an entire graduating basketball class on the honor roll, including the valedictorian and second-ranked student.
Girls embrace having a great process and link intermediate goal setting to achieving better outcomes. Through shared feelings they live Phil Jackson’s mantra, “basketball is sharing.” They understand that sharing means communicating, help defense, and blocking out. They help each other via spacing, screening, and cutting, passing unselfishly, and taking quality shots.
As the saying goes, “players don’t care how much you know, they know how much you care.” Whenever possible, champion their spirit with the four words, “I believe in you.”
Ron Sen, MD, FCCP @rsen01 on Twitter