Choosing a team . . .
“Precious times – gone too soon”
The Bobcats were undefeated champions of the Ventura Super League in 2005. With seven 8th graders and two ninth-graders, the Bobcats went on to win the high school junior varsity division of the Oxnard Heat Spring Tournament, finished second in two other tournaments, and third in the JV division of the Ventura Seaside Tournament in 2005.
Getting into competitive basketball is a commitment worthy of thought and planning. Choosing the right team and not having to “unwind” your decision later, comes down to deciding which of several elements is most important to you.
Some factors y0u might consider:
Has the coach given you guidelines and shown responsibility should the team travel, especially if a hotel stay is involved? Some teams do not adequately supervise players on the road. Are there adult females assigned to assure on-the-spot bed checks? Is there a curfew? Are parents invited to travel with their daughters or do the girls stay four in a room with no adult? (We know of teams whose offenses cannot even be printed here. It can get terribly bad. [Make sure your daughter has a cell phone!])
If the coaches have not laid out a clear plan for traveling safely, then lack of forethought and organization might be very harmful to your daughter.
If your daughter is already on a team and another coach is recruiting her, then some coaches would challenge the ethics of the recruiting coach. For example: Why is that coach disrupting an existing team and showing disrespect for the organization, the team, and the coach? Is winning really that important that s/he would challenge the loyalties of a girl among her own teammates?
And think about this: What happens to your daughter once she is on his/her team and s/he finds a player better than your daughter?
If appropriate behavior is questionable from the outset, it is not likely to be any better once you’re on his/her team.
There are many potential costs associated with competitive basketball and it is a good idea to know what those might be prior to saying “yes” to any team. A question you might ask:
“If my daughter joins your team, how much will it cost us per month for . . .”
* Monthly team fees
* Gear such as uniforms, practice jerseys, travel bags, sweatshirts, etc.
* Hotel stays per month (how often does the team travel and how far?)
* Does any money go towards paying for other players who were recruited to play for free?
* Are coaches or anyone paid and, if so, how much?
Teaching vs Winning:
Some teams exist for the benefit of the players while for other teams, the players exist for the promotion of the organization, and it is a matter of what is most important to you.
Teams that exist for the benefit of the player spend much of their time teaching the details of the game. They tend to be “closed roster” teams which means they are not out recruiting “better” players all of the time because their pride comes from making better players from what they already have. Closed roster teams don’t win as many games as their counterparts because it takes time to develop talent, but in the end, teams that focus on training their own players have an extraordinary ratio of getting their players onto their high school teams.
Teams that exist for the benefit of the organization spend a great deal of time recruiting the best players they can find. The team must win to advance the reputation of the organization. Their rosters are seldom fixed because they are always open to “better” talent and they win because they constantly recruit stronger players, which is the shortcut to winning games. However, recruiting players developed by other teams is cause for close scrutiny because, although it is fun to win, is winning nothing but a for an inability to train?
Just because your daughter is on the team, doesn’t assure that she will actually play in games. Is playing time important to you? If so, you might ask the following question:
“If my daughter comes to practices faithfully and works as hard as the others, what assurance can you give me about the amount of playing time she will receive?”
You are likely to get one of the following two responses:
Teams that exist for the benefit of training players will say: “We will play her in every game and in both halves because we want her to get better and games help.”
Teams for which the player exists for the organization will say: “There are no guarantees. She earns her playing time. We’re competitive and we’ll do what is needed to win.”
Who is the coach?
What do you know about him or her? Have you ever seen his/her practices or games? Have you run a free Meaganslaw.gov background check? Is the person recruiting your daughter and making promises the same person who will actually coach her?
Is the coach a hot-head? Does s/he swear? Dress or behave inappropriately? Are his/her practices productive or is s/he still in a recreational mode? Is s/he too strict? Are practices open (you can attend) or are they closed?
Be sure to attend more than one game and judge the coach’s behavior and character. It is not enough that s/he has been coaching for many years or your friends say s/he is a great person. Watch the coach in game situations to see how your daughter will be handled in times of stress. Ask an experienced coach to go with you to observe and comment.
Above all . . .
You keep control!
Don’t let them flatter you, bribe you, shame you, coerce you, etc. etc. etc. into placing your daughter on their team until you know it is the right thing to do. Obviously, your daughter’s entire well-being can be at-risk for a wrong decision.
Keep this in mind . . .
The greater their pressure, the longer they will wait for her!
You don’t have to say “yes” right now. If they are pressuring you greatly, then their desire for your daughter is great and they will wait for her.
You are the parent. You have all of the power. The coaches are powerless – until you put your daughter on their team.
If you are comfortable with the primary objectives of the team and the coach’s demeanor and you’ve done your homework, then by all means, jump into it and then enjoy watching your daughter begin her journey to the bright lights of the next level.
And when you get there, would you please be her biggest fan – and not her most strident critic? Girls flourish under encouragement and they die under the heavy words of a parent. Fuel her fires! Let her go! This is her time!
After her game, please don’t jump on her for what she did wrong. She knows what she did wrong. Instead, test the waters! Rather than make statements, ask a question, prefaced by a sincere and positive statement on your part. It might look something like this: “I just love watching you play! I love it! (pause) How do you think you did tonight?” If you make it easy for her to talk and you wait for the right timing, you will become the most important coach she ever had – the one who understands and encourages her and helps her to keep going and have right perspectives when times are hard.
And, absorb every single second of this experience! Don’t miss a game. Don’t be late. Don’t leave early. Leave your Ipod at home. This time goes by much, much too fast and every minute you miss will be one minute of potential regret that you just can’t ever get back. These are precious times; gone too soon.
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