Some years ago, I was invited to speak in front of business people and my topic was self-discipline. I thought it was going to be easy task, to come up with a good ten-minute speech about something that I have dominated for quite some time. As I was going through my narrative, explaining my own story, and how I became a disciplined person, I got to think quite a lot about the people who influenced me and my surroundings. And most importantly, how I ended up in the coaching business.
I want to write few things about becoming a basketball coach and having all the tools for it as well. Basketball has been my life since age 12, and even though I retired from playing at 36, my love for the game stayed the same. Last years of my playing career, I already started the process of thinking what is next for me. Where should I put my energy and time, a new career. I had some different options at that time but I didn’t want to leave the game I loved. I have had tremendous passion for basketball as a player, and I thought that I could continue in the game in a different role. But which one? Could have been a scout, manager, strength coach or agent?
I have chosen to be a coach and right away I knew that it was the right decision. Learning process was a very quick one, once I discovered, how much I know and how much I still must learn. I think that one crucial fact (something that occurred to me later), is that both of my parents spent their careers in education. Being brought up by two professors instilled in me many good habits, seeing first-hand what education all is about. And in many ways, coaching is like teaching, it is just in different field.
As a basketball coach, I feel that I am also a teacher of sort, and not only basketball. If you want to be a good coach, it is not only about basketball, skills or tactics. You must have communication skills, relate to your players, constantly evaluate them and yourself at the same time. And coaching doesn’t stop at teaching. You must motivate your players, you must inspire them, you should guide them in their career paths, no matter if they are young or are already in adulthood.
What is most fascinating about coaching for me, is that I constantly must solve situations that I never thought about or never had to deal with. I believe that it makes me a better coach, and many times I tell my coaching peers, it makes me a better person. I believe that life is a long process of learning, and the process never really stops.
At age of 42, I came to crossroads in my coaching career. I have an opportunity to take the road towards professional basketball, a result driven coaching style, and to leave behind the youth basketball, where teaching comes first, and results come second. I feel that I need to continue to get better as a coach and a change must happen. I am sure that I am more than ready for it, and I am eager to start. And no one ever said that there is no teaching on the senior professional level.