Edit because it’s actually Tuesday, not Friday when I started writing this blog! 🙂
This basketball season has been a challenge for me, one of the most challenging I’ve had in the 15 years that I’ve coached! I’ve coached 5th graders through 12th graders, settling final on coaching middle school girls. Fits right into what I’ve been teaching, so why not? As I started my teaching career out, I’d always dreamt of coaching varsity ball as that’s where I started out, but as time has gone on, I’m happy doing this. The season is a little shorter, I get to coach whom I’m teaching, and the pressure to win isn’t as overwhelming (not that I enjoy losing!).
This year’s team drove me absolutely insane with the fact we just never “got” what the plan was. I run an offense that has the girls play, period. I’m not a big fan of sets at middle school age because you don’t learn to read the defense, read what the other team is doing and putting yourself into the right place. I run a motion offense that requires the girls to read defenses and adjust to what they see. Regardless, we were not successful. I had a great group of girls, but we were always the parts of a whole, never a true team, which is a regret of mine.
I’ve also toyed with the idea that this would be my last year coaching. One daughter on her way to college next year, one daughter who doesn’t know what she wants to do next winter, both weigh on this decision. This season’s frustration and lack of connect has weighed heavily on this as well. However, our last game (we got killed) we had a birthday. This player brought cupcakes for everyone, we sang really, really loudly (“OH. MY. GOSH. Who started singing????” Hint: it was me), and it was a good way to end a season that was tough. I took a picture of my cupcake and put it on my Instagram page (aniowaguy) and on my Facebook page. A former player, sixteen years ago, dropped a nice little note how she loved her two years in basketball and how she’s talked with her own kids and their friends about my influence on her.
Talk about being set back on your heels. Just when I was doubting what I do, that shows up? Talk about your signs! 🙂
So, when you don’t think you are making an impact, don’t feel effective, just stop to think about all the students/players you’ve had in your career. Think about the positive interactions you’ve had with those kids. I do have the advantage that, in a small town, I can what my students grow into. I know at this point, I’ve taught at least three students who have their doctorate, two laywers, teachers, engineers, and many other careers. That alone is a good feeling.
We do make an impact. Believe it. That person you’ve influenced may never actually tell you, but you have.
I may or may not be back coaching next year, but it’s never a bad thing to know that what I do does make a difference somewhere down the line.