Recently, I had the opportunity to meet and train an international player, named Basi Prokofiev. He is one of the most hungry players that I’ve ever met in my life. This young man traveled all the way from Moscow, Russia to follow his passion and play college basketball here in the United States. He has traveled to Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina to work with numerous teachers like Tim Grover (Michael Jordan’s Legendary Trainer) and myself. Not only did I learn that nothing can stop someone who is determined to reach their goals, but I also learned that there are “coaches” out there who don’t deserve the title and hurt more than they help.
Unfortunately, Basi was taken advantage of by a “Fake Coach” who scammed him into paying his family’s hard earned money to play for a “make-believe” prep school! Basi and the other players lived in the coach’s home; not on a campus. They never attended classes. (I thought prep-schools were actual schools… I guess the coach forgot about that…) Basi even told me that he and another player from Russia paid over $3,000 to reserve a spot on the team, but never signed a contract, didn’t receive any recruiting aid, and only had two waffles and a bag of instant noodles to eat every day. When we finished the first day of workouts and went to grab something to eat, I never saw someone so thankful for a actual meal. Sad to say, this same scam and other forms of artificial coaching takes place everyday. Here are some examples of some types of coaches who don’t deserve the privilege of calling themselves “teachers”:
Coaches Who Don’t Study Their Craft:
I don’t know how many coaches/trainers that I see on a day-to-day basis on the grassroots level that make the decision to become basketball coaches, but fail to go and gain the knowledge and wisdom to build quality players and programs. A wise man always has a great and even wiser teacher. Make the decision to follw before you try to lead!
Coaches Who Are Only in it For the Money:
This type of coach is one that I have no respect for because their motives and intentions are warped. Typically, you see this coach with AAU organizations and with large showcase events, but it has even spread to into the world of training and skill development. These coaches do nothing more than attempt to amass the maximum amount of paying players and large numbers of paying clients, but ignore building real relationships. What impact are you really making? Are you striving to turn your ballers into better players or people? Or do you constantly stare at the clock during practice, waiting for it to end so you can collect your check?
I have nothing against coaches who have children that play for them. But when you make the decision to coach, you’ve taken on the role of a potential father/mother figure to more than just your own child. Coaching is about advancing a group of individuals as a team. Don’t sacrifice the well-being of the team, just so that your little “mini-me” can get the shine. Real coaches put everyone in a position to play to their strengths and look like stars.
Coaches/Trainers Who Fail to Teach the Game:
Many of us have made this mistake at one point or another. We’re constantly looking to innovate with new basketball drills or “tricks” to keep players engaged, or striving to implement new schemes and sets that we see on the pro or collegiate level; yet, we fail to teach the reads and reactions, in-game situations, and options that TRUE coaches teach. Never again will I worry about whether or not I can dazzle or captivate the audience and forget to “add the meat with those potatoes!” Real coaches capture players' hearts and minds with their ability to point out weaknesses and show them how to turn them into strengths.