Thursday, October 7, 2010

Giving Back

In my first life, I was a basketball coach.  I loved basketball.  It's a great game that requires a lot of strength, quickness, agility and determination.  Coaching the sport is quite demanding.  Especially learning how to coach in the first place.

Most people think the jump from playing basketball to coaching basketball is easy.  Trust me, it's just the opposite.  Most great basketball players make really lousy coaches.  That's because there's a big difference between playing and teaching.  Things that came easy for a gifted athlete are difficult to teach to an average athlete.  That's why early in my career I went to every basketball clinic I could find.  I listened to some of the greatest coaches talk on a multitude of basketball topics.  I also developed the knack of picking the brain of every coach I met at those clinics.  Over time, I learned how to coach.

Yesterday, I served as a guest lecturer at a coaching class at Lewis University.  The class is taught by my good friend Dr. Ralph Miller.  Ralph and I coached together at South Suburban Community College for a few years.  We had great success, finishing 3rd and 4th in the nation on two occasions.  Dr. Miller is now retired from coaching but still teaches at Lewis University.  He asks me, as well as other coaches, to lecture his class every year.  Each year it's a pleasure to give back some of the knowledge that I stole from others along the way.  Giving back is also selfish -- It makes me feel good. When I am King, I'll encourage everyone to give back.


  1. I think that's true about many things - I also think that's why a lot of primary school teachers, despite knowing the theory, are great at teaching reading and writing - they had no issues with it at school, and so have a touch time when they run into the kids it just isn't working for.

  2. phonakins@ You are so right. I use to teach students with severe reading disabilities and I also did staff development with our teachers -- believe me it was easier teaching dyslexic students to read than getting my staff to use new techniques. It was easier to just talk about how lazy the kids were, instead of finding real solutions. Sad.

  3. This is why I am better at helping my son with math than with language arts. I have an English degree, and I can honestly say there was very little studying that went into it other than review prior to exams. It was as close to effortless as a college degree can be from a reputable institution.

    But anything math oriented? I had to work myself into a tizzy with that. I eventually took up through Calculus I and II, in addition to statistics and Boolean Algebra, and each of those classes came close to doing me in.

    I'm prouder of surviving those than my degree. Go figure.