I’ve got a question for you: How fertile is the ground in your program?
Let’s be clear. I’m not talking about how many wins you have as a head coach, or how many championships your teams have won.
Rather, what’s the soil like in your program?
Do players consistently grow into the best version of themselves – both on and off the court?
Often a coach’s success is judged on their wins or championship titles, but coaching is a lot more like gardening than most people realize.
Successful gardeners know the best gardens are developed via meticulous attention to detail.
The same is true about the program where you coach.
Lou Erickson, a longtime cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal, put it this way:
“Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration.”
Lou was on to something.
Just like master gardeners commit to their garden’s success with perspiration — coaches who are master teachers develop fertile ground through their own version of sweat equity… connection.
Master teachers, like master gardeners, know you can’t show up expecting results if you haven’t put the effort in beforehand.
You can’t go out into a field and plant a crop on hard ground and expect it to grow.
You can’t expect player and team success if you’re unwilling to build connections with the players on your team.
If you truly desire to become a master teacher, you have to make sure you fertilize the ground and connect with your players first.
There are a myriad of ways you can connect. It’s not as much what you’re doing, but the fact you’re doing something.
Connect after practice — ask them about their interests outside of basketball.
Connect over the weekend — invite the team over and have a NBA 2k or Madden tournament.
Connect during the school day — eat lunch with different players throughout the week.
The French painter Clade Monet once said his garden was his most beautiful masterpiece.
As coaches, our players have the potential to be our most beautiful masterpiece.