More Than One Way To Win

In reply to Kelly Christopherson's recent post:

My youngest son has nearly finished his first season of under 10 basketball in a team much like your first few seasons – they have only managed one win against a team in a similar spot to them. They are mainly beginners and even at this age group have come up against very accomplished teams who have had it over them in terms of skill. But we’ve seen two types of coaching – the first from a few teams who smashed our team by scores like 70 – 0. Their coaches had their team playing intimidation basketball, pressuring them at all opportunities and went all out to amass the hugest score – at the expense of any confidence my son’s team may have had. Our coach is very patient and said that he didn’t expect anything in terms of results from the boys for at least half the season as he would be teaching a lot of foundation skills and concepts. But those big losses took a lot of joy out of the team. I’m not too sure what the coaches in charge got out of those wins either.

The last two games we’ve played have been against other teams near the top of the ladder. But their coaches were very different. After every score, they had their team retreat back to their defensive half so that our team had the chance to bring the ball back down the court. They weren’t playing the intimidation game – they could see from the first few minutes that they had our measure – so they concentrated on specific plays, specific formations in defence. And for a change, my son’s team felt like they could breathe, that they could work some things out for themselves without a gun player from the opposition swooping in and making them pay.

When they scored for the first time in the first of these two games, the opposition parents even cheered and applauded! Even they lost easily, they walked off the court feeling a lot better about themselves, felt like they had showed improvement and felt that the opposition hadn’t smashed them, and had shown them some respect even though they are a team of learners. The winners still got their win, got to improve by working on specific plays and left everyone feeling like the game was fun.

I really like our coach and he is great with the boys. But if we were looking to join one of the other teams in the competition, I know where I’d be taking my son. Thanks for sharing your story, Kelly.

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2 thoughts on “More Than One Way To Win

  1. Rob

    This reminds me of Kant’s premise that we should never treat others as means to an end, but only as ends in themselves. The first teacher in this story was obviously treating the opposition as means to an end- Immoral actions in a Kantian sense. Whereas the latter coach treated the opposition as ends in themselves- showing them a mutual respect that often found lacking out in the ‘real’ world. This is a fantastic lesson and example that more coaches and teaches should hear about.

  2. graham

    Good to see someone is teaching for understanding, teach the skills and the application makes it stick, great stuff.


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