Basketball Tales On and Off the Court

For the better part of the past decade one of my avenues of volunteering in the community I live has been as a 7th and 8th grade boys basketball coach.
It’s a small private school and it is strictly volunteer based.  Most schools at that age prefer to not have the parents coach those years because of the competitiveness that sometimes ensues.
(Not from the kids…from the parents ha!)

If you’ve ever coached or played the game of basketball I’m sure that you can hastily agree with me that it’s the best game around.
The Super Bowl may get Katy Perry and all the ratings one night a year but what other sport can you play by yourself, with a group of strangers, and a crew of your friends on a whim anywhere in the world.
Parks have been generous enough to us to set up the opportunity to play anytime anywhere and if you can’t find a park a wall with a peach basket will do just fine.

The game teaches teamwork, the need to hold everyone accountable, and it’s a healthy way to stay fit.  Tweet that!
Not much is involved but running, jumping, and more running.

But what about the tales off the court?
Yes there is that fairy tale of the kid who makes it to the NBA.  Or even to get a full ride and an education to play college ball somewhere.
Still what is the real reason that thousands of coaches like myself line up year after year to dedicate our time to helping kids grow in a game like basketball?

It is because of what happens off the court.
When you learn to give 110% every practice and at every game all season long that has the ability to translate to your school work and the other activities you pursue both as a child and into your life.
You play so many games in a season you have better learn the art of losing, because there’s one at the end of every game on the scoreboard.  
You also have the opportunity to learn that just because you “lose” the game it doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun, that you learned something, that you got better, or that you “won” in some aspect that day.
It keeps kids, and adults, off the video games, the streets, and whatever other trouble we have the ability to get ourselves into.
You learn about teamwork, mental aptitude, how to read someone’s eyes, and of course fearlessness if you can learn to take the ball into a crowded lane or take a charge.

My coaching philosophy has changed quite a bit over the years.  I might appear on the cover of my books that are available HERE in a hot dog costume but I don’t coach in one!
I run my teams fast, furious, but with a fun laid back aspect to everything we do.  We come to practice “locked in” but enjoy ourselves while we are there and don’t spend an entire practice beating ourselves over the head on one drill to make it perfect.

Life isn’t perfect.  Even if we perfect that drill have we learned what it’s like if everything doesn’t go our perfect way in life?
That’s how I’ve tried to build my teams.
Basketball is great and we want to win every time we step on the court.  But far more important is what we do after the game is over.  Much more paramount to me is what these kids will do when I’m done coaching them.
I’ve noticed this year more and more guys from other teams showing up at our practice hoping to get in a little work and play with us.
Most coaches would probably say no way.  I welcome everyone as though I’m hosting an open gym and I love that I’ve been able to create that culture that all are welcome if they are part of the school or friends with a kid from the school. If you love what the game stands for and are willing to work hard you are welcome to come anytime as well!  Don’t forget to lace them up tight though because we will all be running!

What’s the end game for you to learn about my strange basketball tales and coaching?
I hope it gives you ideas and inspiration to find another way to add happiness to your own and others lives.
What do you like as much as I like the game of hoops?
Nobody requires me to coach.  Nobody pays me to coach.
What I get back in return is immeasurable and I get additional experiences into the life bank of happiness that I will always be grateful for.  On cold Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights in the Ohio winter I can’t imagine watching TV instead of doing this would get me that many deposits.

Opportunities await everywhere and you can put your own stamp on it just like I have. 
Even if everyone is doing something a certain way, say coaching with the only goal of winning the game and screaming their way to it, doesn’t mean you have to do it that way.

Put your own spin on whatever you love, take the action and commit to doing it, and remember that it’s not what happens while you are there that really helps people grow but rather what happens when they “get off the court.”

Marketing Fun With Mike updates, happenings, and babblings below!

1) PlayPass had me on their site to an interview and chat about marketing sports rec leagues, check out the piece here!
2) The Efficiency Recipe is on sale for $29.00…you will get 730 hours a year back for less than thirty bucks.  Tight deal!
3) Thanks for being part of the crew…I’m grateful you are here and hope you leave a comment, tell a friend, or email me at

Spread Good Vibes, Demand the Best from Yourself, Carpe Diem!