Basketball Lessons

In Coaching, Leadership, Teaching by Brock Bourgase

After reflecting, I wanted to post some thoughts about how I feel regarding recent events in the news:

One of the best aspects of basketball is the opportunity to compete with diverse people. When you play the sport long enough, you realize that anyone can play, irrespective of their background, gender or stature.  When you want to win, you pick up the players who will get buckets, no matter who they are.  Success on the court is earned by skill and effort, as it should be in life.

When you talk to your teammates and opponents between games, you understand that everyone is a unique person.  They are not stereotypes or people to dislike but individuals with distinctive thoughts, values and abilities.  Everyone deserves the same respect and opportunity.

You would never exclude someone who can play from your team because of their ethnicity.  You would never refuse to talk to someone sitting next to you because of their appearance. This should always be unacceptable in the real world.

Coaching forces you to meet people where they are.  As younger coaches, we have all made mistakes and used the authority that comes with our position to resolve conflicts unilaterally.  Looking back, it’s clear that a heavy hand did more harm than good.  I have learned that the best way to reach a player is by common understanding and work something out that benefits the player, the coach and the team.

When we try to address important issues in our society, we need to work together.  We need to understand the other perspective.  We need to appreciate nuance.  The first step towards progress is realizing that there is a problem.  The solutions that follow must benefit everyone.

On a basketball team, all twelve players are responsible for overcoming adversity together.  At the moment, we all need to act as if we were teammates.  Coaches should think about how to include as many people as possible.  Players should try to help as many people as possible.