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The Frustration Makes You Ask Yourself the Hard Question

By Coach Surface, 04/07/19, 10:00PM EDT

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But Then You Have That One Player......

I want to start out by saying that this article represents my own opinions and feelings about coaching....not the X's and O's part of coaching but the effort, the dedication, the emotional investment and the responsibility that any coach should feel as they go about doing it. 

I have been doing it...coaching that is, in one sport or another, for over 50 years.....yes, I'm older than dirt! I've coached mostly girls and mostly basketball, but have also coached many years of softball and coached boys in baseball and basketball as well. I have been fortunate to have coached along side some great coaches, like Tony Holloway,  the Woman's Head Varsity softball coach at Anderson University. And I have been along side Lee Larkins the last 15+ years. I consider Lee the best player-development coach in the state. Learning from  him has helped me become a much better coach in the sport I truly love. 

The reason I coach is because of the personal satisfaction I get from seeing an athlete, through their own hard work and dedication, go from where they are when you get them, to where they finally end up as an athlete and a young person when they age out. It is a feeling that is hard to describe but I can tell you, I have felt it many times and the feeling doesn't diminish with repetition.

It seems like in the last few years though, I have dedicated far more endless hours to Midwest Finest Basketball and the players within it, and have gotten far less satisfaction out of it than in previous years . I have to tell you I believe that the players we have today are not as dedicated to the task as they once were. They talk like they are, but in reality, they are just fooling themselves, and trying to fool me at the same time. Experience does not allow me to be fooled.

As this ratio of time investment-to-satisfaction level begins to flip the other direction, and I've gotten older, and I have seen my personal situation change, and see it continue to change month after month, I have to ask myself the hard question....Is it time? Is it time to pack it in? If it isn't fun or satisfying any more, why would I want to continue to put myself and my family through this?

But then there always seems to be that player.....the player that really, truly puts in the time...that does the work...that seeks your council....who wants to get better....the player who makes it all worth while.

This player isn't like all the many other players who just talk about putting in the work....who say that they want to improve, and believe me, Midwest Finest Basketball has plenty of those types of players...players who think they are working hard and putting in enough work. But that is what is so frustrating because I know they're not! Then there are also the other players who don't really try to fool anyone, especially themselves. They know they aren't putting in the work....they know they aren't working hard to try to get better.  They are just wasting their time and their parents money. They are the ones who really create a coach's frustration.

Thank goodness for that player, along with a few others like her that are in the club. They are the real deal...they are the ones, the only ones who make it all worth while. They never miss a practice or a workout session....and if they do, they actually have a legitimate reason and not some lame excuse. They complete every drill....do every push-up, stay into a plank until told to stop. These are my players....the real players, not the want-a-be players.

I may still have to hang up my coach's hat before I wish to because of other situations. However, as long as my personal situation lets me, and there is at least one, one true baller around who wants me to help make her better, then I'll deal with my frustration brought on by those others and be there to do what I can for those who really want it.....until I can't.