As I was driving (Glen Ridge, NJ) in the last ’90s, I noticed, what appeared to be, a youth football team practicing (it was the high school varsity team). I was excited, as it brought back old childhood memories.
I stopped the car. Ran over to speak with the head coach. I asked him, “Can I volunteer as a coach?” He quickly said “No”. He did give me another option. He suggested I check with the local youth football team, which happened to be practicing (at that moment) around the corner.
I quickly jumped in my car, found the practice and spoke with the coach in charge. The coach, and now great friend, Jim Lopes, welcomed me with open arms. This was the beginning of my youth coaching career.
I began assisting as a youth football coach. Then, I became the head coach for a recreational basketball team. Many parents and community members noticed the love and passion I showed. Shortly after, they asked and I began coaching an elite basketball team that would play teams throughout New Jersey.
I ended up sticking with that elite basketball team from 6th thru 12th grades. Although I wasn’t their high school varsity coach, I coached them during the off-season. During this period, I would offer “FREE” private basketball lessons, but there was one catch.
To get the “FREE” lessons, they needed to be on Sundays from 6am – 7am. This proved to me the kid really wanted it, and not because their parents were pushing them to do it. It also demonstrated discipline. Only one kid consistently took me up on this. His name was Andrew Greenberg.
Fast forward to 2007. Through a series of unlikely events, I was offered the job to coach a high school varsity boy’s basketball team (Chapel Hill, NC). I gladly accepted. For the next 12 years, we changed the culture from laughing stock to perennial contenders. Most observers only saw the impact on the court, but it went well beyond, as well.
By the way, every coaching job I’ve ever had was done “FREE” of charge. Just coaching basketball in high school, I volunteered over 4,000 hours! I purposely refuse to accept money! Why? Because, like most youth and high school coaches, we coach due to our passion, and love for the youth. We don’t coach to exclusively make money!
Guess what, you can now have your cake and eat it too. How? By running basketball camps in your community, you’ll be able to engage your passion, inspire kids, and earn a few dollars!