Your biggest triumph

Heinie Wagner

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 14, 2001
669
Simsbury, CT
In contract to your most painful/worst loss, what is your biggest triumph in coaching?  Not just a game, but any victory or accomplishment.
 
Mine is easy.  I coached an 8th grade boys travel team this past season, it was a B team (top 10 players selected to A, next 10 to B).  A couple kids were very disappointed to be on the B team, but I could tell we would have a very successful season.  They were 4-12 the previous season, but  a couple kids dropped from A to B (including my son) and we had one new player.  We averaged 63 points/game, a ton for an 8th grade team around here and went 13-3 in the regular season, 16-4 overall, losing the championship game to a team from a town half our size, with only one team (i.e. really an A team) by 5 points.
 
None of the wins or even the season in whole, were my biggest triumph, that came with the Thank You card from the players.  There was a player who, going into the season, I knew would be my biggest challenge, attention issues, very emotional, parents divorced about year ago, argued with teammates, received several technical fouls the year before, was very concerned with his own points scored, with a father that was very concerned with his points scored etc.  I worked a lot with him, not just on basketball, but on controlling his emotions, not worrying about the things he couldn't control (officials, people in the stands etc), instead focusing on what he can control (effort, team work, etc).  He had an outstanding season.  On the thank you card, he wrote: "Coach, thank you for everything you did for us, you have helped me become a better basketball player and most importantly a better person."
 
I'll remember that for a long time.
 
 

BroodsSexton

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Feb 4, 2006
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Cross-posting here because, dammit, we were triumphant today:

I am coaching a 10-yr-old [basketball] team, with a bunch of kids who barely knew, at the beginning of the season, what a game of basketball looked like from the perspective of a player. Most had never played an organized game.

I worked all season with them on fundamentals of defense and offense, including introducing some VERY basic motion offense concepts to them, and working on forcing the other team to go left, with strong help defense. We lost every game but one, with a few close ones, but most by 10-15 points.

All of the teams make the playoffs. We were assigned a team that beat us already this year. I was sure today would be our last day.

But my assistant and I carefully selected our lineups, and developed a game plan that included running out the third quarter with a slowdown offense, and a scrappy defensive lineup, to bridge us to the fourth quarter when we could bring our scorers back (so everyone could play the requisite time).

It fucking worked. Our guys played a real game of basketball, with everyone doing his job. The shortest kid on the team got an open jump shot that he heaved in. We ran a couple of successful inbound screens under the basket for layup shots. Our top scorer, who actually sat an extra quarter to make everything work with the defensive third, bitched and moaned about sitting, but got onboard, and came back fresh in the fourth to close out the win. We even faced a press for the first time (because we were ahead by 6+ in the last three minutes--pressing is restricted in our league) and the guys responded to a quick press break we drew up in a time out--attributable to the concepts we have been teaching them during the year. They fought for loose balls and rebounds. We won every quarter. They could not have been happier. I was so proud of their effort.

I'm sure we'll lose in the semis, but for today, it was awesome. I just want to gloat.

The ref, who has seen us struggle and seen me working with them all year, gave me a very nice compliment on the game--told me it was beautifully played by our guys, and said he saw the coaching paying off. The opposing coach (who had started the game by saying "I guess this is your big rematch") came over to me afterwards and told me this was the worst his team had played all year, and that they had their shots, they just didn't go in. I just nodded and said "yup, that's how it is sometimes."

Can I get an AMEN!?
 

Heinie Wagner

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 14, 2001
669
Simsbury, CT
AMEN! Congrats, must have been a great feeling.

Good for you for taking the high road after the game with the ungracious comment from the opposing coach.
 

BroodsSexton

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Feb 4, 2006
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Yeah, I'm sure he's a good guy. But that said, we took his team to overtime in the first game (before losing by 10...), and we completely shut them down yesterday.

Their game plan, which I've never seen, is to set up a perimeter around the 3 point line, and have one guy try to drive through, while the rest of the team tightens the perimeter, and then kick it out if the penetration is stopped, and try to repeat, bringing the perimeter in. It was bizarre--almost like designed to get outside jump shots for 10-year-olds while constricting the lane.

We figured it out and told our guys to just crash the lane when one of their guys tried to drive, and then close out hard if they kicked it back out. We told them to think of our defense as a breathing animal--crash in when they drive, exhale and recover if they pass out. Predictably they took a lot of shots from far away when the middle clogged, and he's correct, those shots didn't fall.
 
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