SIMPLE SATURDAY – If you as a parent or fan see a player on the other team do something great, tell the kid. Clap for him. Say, “Great pass, #22” or “Love the hustle, #10.”
As a coach, I don’t do this often because I typically have all eyes on my kids. But I do when I’m really impressed. I also make sure our kids know to pick up anyone who hasbeen knocked down. I tend to give out praise when the other team is on our end. If I see a player read our defense perfectly and make a great move or hit a nice J on the ball reversal, I’ll say to the player, “Great play” or “Great move.”
Last week was the exception, but the move was that big. I was at Milbank during a blow-out when I was sitting on the bench as an assistant coach on damage control duty. I saw an 11-year-old girl who was the second strongest player on this 12U team drive middle on a fast break, spin with power and finesse, and almost finish the shot with her left hand. She was fouled and went to the line.
Her teammate, Chardonnay, who is one of the toughest players in NYC girl or boy as an 11-year-old, was standing in front of me in the backcourt while her teammate took her free throws.
“That was a big-time move,” I said for our girls and Milbank girls to hear. “Char would have finished that, right?”
Chardonnay smiled and nodded.
It is our duty as role models to show and celebrate passion, intensity, and respect, in a civil environment.
If a player on the other team does a great job or they all do, and you’re walking out the door with them or on the elevator, tell them.
Win or lose, tell those who have earned the praise how much you enjoyed watching them play a game that brought us all together.