It's Wednesday so you know what that means, right? Another CoachUp Spotlight Series! This week we've got Coach Darnell from Santa Barbara, California. As always, we ask for our friends to share these thoughtful answers with coaches, parents, and athletes whenever they can. These type of mantas and experiences are invaluable and they have the power to create change if they're considered, utilized, implemented into your training. Of course, if you're lucky enough to live in Santa Barbara, you can find Coach Darnell right over here!
CoachUp: Hello, Darnell! Can you tell us about yourself and your experience with basketball?
I started playing basketball as a kid, and then kept with it through high school, going on to play in college at Lake Erie in Ohio. After it was all said and done there, I was the 5th all-time leader in both scoring and rebounding for the college. Every coach I ever played for won an award for “Coach of the Year” and every team I played for won a championship. Those experiences and time spent with amazing coaches shaped my desire to make basketball my career in life. I went on to teach and train for basketball camps for the Cleveland Cavaliers and LA Clippers, as well as camps for several NBA players. Working with youth and any lover of the sport is my passion and I now train full time in Southern California, ages 3 to adult!
CU: What can a client expect from private lessons with you?
Results! Ultimately, I'm a coach that is there every step of the way and willing to stay overtime. A client can expect training that is personally tailored to his or her specific needs and a plan designed specifically for their goals. I want a client to get the most out of their time working with me, so I design programs to address every weakness, strength, and challenge. I want to help athletes of every age and skill level build confidence and an ability to enjoy the game. I am there to nurture, support, and mentor each client.
CU: Where do you train with your athletes and why?
I’m fortunate enough to live in Santa Barbara, California and that gives me access to a large part of Southern California. I train clients from Los Angeles to Santa Maria. It’s a great opportunity to meet so many diverse people, skill levels, and ages. I love being in so many different community courts in local parks, gyms, and schools.
CU: What do you enjoy most about coaching?
Seeing the growth and development in a player that puts in the hard work is so gratifying for me. To see a client make the team after tryouts or get a jersey with their number on it, those are the things that inspire me to work that much harder to continue helping a client on his or her journey in basketball. When a parent or player tells me that they feel so much more confident, that makes me feel like we’ve achieved the greatest goal together. I love when a client doesn’t want to leave the court after a session, but wants to stay behind with me and ask questions, or play one-on-one, or stay and help my next client by rebounding for his or her shots. That passion in a player and their camaraderie with me is why I feel like I have the greatest career in the world.
CU: What is your favorite moment in your athletic career?
My favorite moment is winning back-to-back championships with my college team. It was amazing to win the first one, but to come back with the same group of guys, and do it again showed true dedication and commitment. When you do it collectively and work that hard, the win is so much more meaningful and the success so much more deserved.
CU: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a coach?
I’ve learned that patience is very important, and every athlete learns differently. Once I figure out how to best adapt to an athlete’s learning style, then I can really help him or her achieve a high basketball IQ. Knowing how to read the defense or when to drive and when not to drive, those fundamental skills that are vital to success in the sport. As a coach, I’ve also discovered how much I love to teach basketball, as much or more so than playing. I’ve realized that my talents can be shared and used to help others, and I love that.
CU: What’s your mantra or favorite saying?
“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.” I want anyone that’s interested in getting better, to reach out and seek the one-on-one attention and training that’s going to push their game to the next level, regardless of what level they may be starting at. Sign up for a session, hit the court with me, and let’s have some fun while we work hard. Bring a friend for a group session and start your journey. Don’t hesitate!
CU: What’s the most important advice you give to your athletes?
There’s so much advice to give that I’m writing a book on it! I feel like I’m always providing and sharing advice with each athlete, however, what each individual takes away from the advice is unique. So, I just keep reminding and building progress with them through repetition, because eventually it’s going to resonate with the athlete and get them to that next level. As much as I tell clients, I tell myself one thing over and over: never give up on your dreams.
Wow! Thanks to Coach Darnell for those thoughtful answers once again. It doesn't matter if you're a coach, athlete, or parent, there's likely something here that you can take away. As a final reminder, you can find Coach Darnell's profile here, so don't wait any longer, reach out and get playing!