I believe athletics can be a powerful tool in teaching young people how to become true student athletes. It is the job of every coach to prepare their student athletes for the next level both athletically and academically. This can be achieved when coaching and teaching become one and the same, when student athletes are held accountable to a fair and consistent set of rules both inside and outside the classroom then I believe everyone involved benefits. It is my personal goal to use athletics to help the young men I teach to grow and become better players, better students and most importantly better people.
I have been coaching middle school basketball for 14 years. I began coaching at Salisbury Middle School where in my first year my seventh grade team won a silver medal at the last county play day in Wicomico County at that time for years to come. That of course caused a problem for me coaching again so I set to work in creating some form of Middle School basketball league. It took a number of years and many great people and wonderful friends and coaches but in about five years time Salisbury Middle had a set schedule of teams to play each year. The teachers and administrators were very supportive of the program since the coaching staff had a strict code of behavior to abide by and grade requirements to follow. I am happy to say that when I finally left the basketball program in the hands of my good friends that we had won a great deal of games and along the way had helped many student athletes become better people setting the ground work for high school.
I am now currently in my eighth year of coaching middle school basketball in Washington County. I coach a team based from students attending the school I teach at, E. Russell Hicks Middle School. Now although the team has no official connection with the school or the school system I run it with the same principles I mentioned above in my philosophy statement. I am the director and head coach of the Huskies Basketball Program that plays in the Washington County Middle School Basketball League (WCMSBL). This league is everything I was trying to build back in Salisbury and is a wonderful example of people who care getting together to do the right thing for kids. The Huskies program is made of myself and other coaches who run teams for each grade level, 8th, 7th and 6th grade. The teams get a great deal of support from the teachers at our home middle school. We play every Saturday in the WCMSBL from December into March. During March there is a playoff system where top teams earn trophies and on the final day there are all-star events to go along with the Championship games. As I said before this league really tries to make the kids feel good about themselves. Although someday I would like to move into coaching high school I am currently very happy coaching middle school athletes.
I am not exactly a believer in telling everyone what I'm going to do on a basketball court and then try to do it. However there are a few things that is generally open knowledge about how I coach. Number one is school comes first. There is a reason I constantly refer to those I coach as student athletes. Number two is that I believe in trying to build offenses and defenses around the athletes I have and not the other way around. Third is that luckily I have always had the right athletes to be able to play variations of the 3-2 zone defense. It is a defense that I learned to use from a good friend of mine in Salisbury and it is the one I feel most comfortable with. That does not mean that I don't teach other defenses to my players. Fourth is that I am not a big advocate of younger players shooting three pointers. There is a time and place for shooting three's but I have rarely found athletes that know when the time and place is at the middle school age. Fifth and final is the old saying "Defense wins championships." I am an offensive minded coach but I have learned over many years that the best teams are those that can stop the other team and worries about shooting second. These are the basic parts of what I believe to be true about what I teach in the game of basketball.
"It isn't hard to be good from time to time in sports. What's tough is being good every day." - Willie Mays
"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will." - Vince Lombardi
"Copyright [2009-2014], [Shawn Gasaway]. All Rights Reserved."
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