Life has a way of coming full circle, and for me, coaching my son in basketball at the YMCA in West Seattle has been an unexpected journey of self-reflection and rediscovering the joy of the game. As I navigate the challenges of coaching young children, memories of my late father coaching me during youth resurface, reminding me of the power of mentorship and the importance of finding happiness in the simple pleasures of the game.
Years later, as I stood on the sidelines at the YMCA, watching my son and his young teammates eagerly dribble the ball, I couldn't help but think of my father. His presence was there, and I felt deeply grateful for the lessons he had imparted to me. It was as if I had inherited his coaching spirit, and now it was my turn to pass on his wisdom to the next generation.
Coaching six to eight-year-olds requires a unique approach. Their attention spans are short, and their skills are still developing. As I guided my young team through drills and practices, I quickly realized that slowing down and prioritizing fun over competitiveness was essential. This shift in mindset was a valuable lesson not only for my players but also for me.
By focusing on the fundamentals and creating an environment filled with laughter and enjoyment, I witnessed the children's faces light up with joy. They were excited to come to practice, eager to learn, and eager to improve. In their unadulterated enthusiasm, I rediscovered the essence of the game—a reminder that basketball is not solely about winning or achieving greatness but about fostering a love for the sport and the camaraderie it brings.
Coaching at the YMCA not only allowed me to bond with my son but also allowed me to honor my father's memory. As I taught the children the same fundamental skills my dad taught me, I realized the immense impact a coach can have on young athletes' lives. It's not just about the X’s and O’s but about instilling confidence, fostering resilience, and teaching them how to navigate victories and defeats with grace.
Coaching my son in basketball at the YMCA has been a transformative experience. Through the lens of my father's coaching legacy, I've learned to appreciate the simple joys of the game and embrace the importance of fun and fundamentals. The laughter, the progress, and the growth of these young athletes have brought healing to my own basketball journey and reaffirmed the timeless value of coaching. As I continue to guide my son and his teammates, I aim to inspire them to find their love for the game and carry forward the lessons they learn on and off the court.