As a summer club/AAU coach you are under more scrutiny than ever before in the business of grassroots basketball. Some say it is unfair and you are misjudged. unfortunately there have been too many cases of club coaches ruining the reputation of club coaches for the rest. You are under a microscope every step of the way regardless of how you run your programs.
Before I get too far into the blog I want you to remember one thing, basketball like life is a circle. As good as your club is now, you can be irrelevant in this game 5 years from now. I’ve seen countless clubs with big name players fade into nothing within a few years time. It is important for you to know this as how you treat people while you are up will be a big factor in how you get treated on the way down.
One of the aspects that I want to talk to you about is the club/AAU coach and college coach relationship. As coaches it is important to increase the network of coaches in which you develop relationships with. It can only benefit your career as well as the opportunities for the players that participate in your program. When the opportunity presents itself it is important to network with coaches of all levels . This allows you to broaden your network of coaches in which you deal with.
When you deal with anyone in life I think it is extremely important to be self aware. Meaning always put yourself in other people’s shoes. Treat people the way that you want to be treated. Here are a few things I’d like to talk about.
1.) Don’t pester coaches call them in moderation
Look college coaches don’t need to hear from you every 2 hours. They have lives and a job to do and talking to you about nothing clutters up their day. If you have something important to talk to them about great, but to call them for no reason is a frustrating thing that you may think is nothing, but for them it strains your relationship with them. Understand like you, their time is important and wasting 2 hours a day talking to the same person about nothing keeps them from doing their job as well as spending time with their family
2.) Don’t sell a college coach on players that can’t play at their level
As a club coach it’s important to continue to market your players to coaches and give them every opportunity to get to the best level for them. Like a proud parent you want to try to get them to the highest level possible. In any business your reputation is everything. If you have the reputation for promoting players that can’t play to high level coaches they will stop respecting your opinion on players. At the beginning of every season get your roster and sort them out by level of recruit and then send that list to the appropriate level of college program. The hardest thing to be in this business is impartial, but if you want to be respected in this business try to be accurate. Now if you have a player that is on the borderline hen that can be a player that you try to push a little, but try to limit that to players that have a 50/50 chance not a 1/500 long shot.
3.) Don’t always ask for things it’s a two way street
You want to differentiate yourself from the pack to become the best that you can be. Lets be honest when a college coach looks up at their phone and sees that a club coach is calling chances are they roll their eyes and says “what does this guy want now”. Get out of that mold, yes you have players and coaches want to try to help you to get a chance at your players, but that doesn’t mean you have to ask for something in every conversation. Make a point to call coaches out of the blue and ask thm “coach what can I do for you to help you”. Ask them about their program and their needs. Talk to them about players that they should recruit that can help them. Maybe don’t even talk about basketball, but try to get to know them on a personal level. Lets be honest most people on this planet are selfish people that think the world revolves around them. Be different and make a coach respect you for not only a good program, but a good person.
4.) Just because you have a talent today doesn’t give you the right to
I’ve seen some coaches mistreat college coaches and make them jump through hoops for their players. This is the reason I could never-ever coach in college, because I would never climb through hoops and make a fool out of myself for a club coach that has control over a player. There is a difference between going above and beyond the call of duty to show interest in a player and embarrass yourself to make a coach happy just so they can get their rocks off. As I mentioned earlier basketball is a giant circle and what comes around goes around. Today things can be great and you have an influx of talent that college coaches need on their roster. But for every class of kids that are big time players, there will come a time where you need to call favors in because your players aren’t receiving attention and need help from college coaches. Always treat the process with dignity and respect because that is the way you want to be treated.
Unfortunately in life there are many people who judge groups based on a few bad apples. It’s not fair but this is the world that we live in. In summer basketball most have the idea that AAU/club coaches are shady people and that is something that you have to understand Your job shouldn’t be to prove that assumption to be true. Your job should be to act accordingly and be professional Do this not only for your professional development, but for the whole group of club/AAU Basketball community.
College coaches need talent to help them win and will do anything they need to to acquire talented players. Part of their job is to have relationships with club coaches to have a chance to recruit their players. Some coaches understand the dynamic of the relationship and accept being mistreated by club coaches with talent. You have an upper hand for sure when you have talent on your team, but mistreating people because of it won’t make you any more friends in the game.
There are so many ups and downs in basketball. SO many people are kings one day and forgotten tomorrow. This isn’t just for players, but for coaches, administrators, and others. I believe if you treat people right they will help you when you need it. This isn’t true for everyone, but if you are someone that wants to be treated with respect and as a professional it starts with treating others with it.
Set a good example for your players, parents, and basketball community by acting professional and try to change the culture of basketball.