Monday night was my first practice as an assistant basketball coach at Western Plains High School, and I came away from it just fine.

Basketball coach's clipboar with play drawn up

Courtesy www.online-basketball-drills.com

Even though it killed the evening, had me in bed before 9:15 p.m. and easily showed me my life effectively being over until the season is over since practice doesn’t get out until about 6 p.m., everything went OK.

I realize that might not sound as confident as it should, but I’m new at this. I make no bones about that fact. I might as well be one of the freshman boys because I’m trying to learn the plays too.

The saving grace is that the head coach is in his first year of leading this team, so that means everyone is learning to an extent. The players, much like me, don’t know how practices are going because the coach and coaching philosophy are new.

The hardest part for me was never playing the sport before. Sure, I have a relatively decent grasp on the game. I am used to keeping stats or the scoreboard or even covering the sport for reporting purposes, but when it comes to helping lead a practice, I was a little at a lost.

I was out of my element.

I had never been to an athletic practice that didn’t involve knocking the pudding out of my friends while we were all wearing shoulder pads and helmets.

Admittedly, it was a struggle for me at first to give feedback to the players. Luckily it was the first day of practice, so most feedback was simply yelling at the players to run faster during the conditioning.

We did go over a couple, simple in-bound plays. On paper they confused the heck out of me, but once I saw them actually played out a couple times, I got the hang of it.

By the end of the practice, I was feeling a little more confident about things, and I even started to give direction about how the plays need to be run.

Though I went into the gym feeling a bit apprehensive and questioning by mental stability due to the fact I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into, I left feeling like I was growing as a person.

I hate going into any sort of leadership position when I’m not 100-percent confident in my abilities to do the job.

If this were a journalism team, I could have coached with my eyes closed, but since it is basketball, I wasn’t sure I could be of much help at all.

The head coach has assured me I will be helpful, and I hope he is right because I actually enjoyed myself on the court.

I need to start working out a little bit with the boys, though, so I can scrimmage with them and hopefully not get totally slaughtered.

Bragging rights are worth their weight in gold.

Some of the players like to run their mouths, and it would be nice to quiet them down just a little by pointing out that an old, fat guy gave them a run for their money.

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