Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Coaching the Baby Braves

Last year, I coached high school girls basketball. It was a fun experience getting to work with kids that I don't otherwise see throughout the day, travelling to new villages, and being where I love-on the basketball court. However, this year I decided not to coach high school for various reasons I won't go into here. However, when my principal mentioned the need for a 4-6th grade basketball coach, I jumped at that opportunity.

My early years of basketball are still some of my favorites. I had many coaches between 4th and 8th grade, all of whom molded me into the aggressive, competitive, crazy player I was for 9-12th grade. This experience helped me to decide that elementary coaching really is where I want to be right now.

We started the season with 33 players. Here they play co-ed basketball in elementary and I was at first SUPER overwhelmed by the number of kids. However, I fell back on the drills we used to run when I was a player and practices ran pretty smoothly. Shortly after practices started, I got a list of those students who were eligible to play this season. In high school, eligibility is determined by academic progress, attendance, and behavior. In elementary, eligibility is determined by if the kids get their physicals, attendance, and behavior. About the 3rd week of practice my team was cut down to about 18 players, all based on whether they'd gotten a physical this year.

This size group was much more manageable. We worked a ton on the fundamentals of defense, both zone and man-to-man. We didn't get much ball handling or shooting instruction because we had 3 or 4 basketballs depending on whether they were returned after P.E. classes.

My team got to travel 3 times to 2 different villages. We first went to Kotlik--which I already blogged about. Next, the first of March we traveled to Sheldon's Point or Nunam Iqua. The kids had a great time and made big improvements from the first game played Friday afternoon the last one Saturday just before lunch.

Our downriver tournament was the 3rd weekend of March and we went back to Nunam. We were in a double elimination tournament, and we lost both games. However, we came home with what I believe the be the best award--Sportsmanship.

All three times we traveled, the hosting staff and parents had very nice things to say about Alakanuk students' behavior and respectful attitudes. My team was very polite and respectful and people noticed. I am so extremely proud of them for their awesome behavior!! :)

I am excited for another year of coaching these little kids who are so eager to play, so happy to learn, and so stinking energetic! :)

Not all the kids, but those who traveled for Downriver tournament to Nunam.

Listening hard, or hardly listening?? You decide. :)

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