New experience #1 of 2013: kindergarten basketball coach.
I’m still not sure how I felt about the whole experience. It went as well as herding cats can go.
The first thing I felt was immense relief when I walked into the gym and saw the color of the shirts on the other coaches. Dark blue with a light blue accent. We never know the colors in advance, and I was really worried they’d be yellow. It sounds petty, but I really don’t like how I look wearing yellow.
I have 11 kids on my roster, and they all showed up to the first practice. I handed out the boxes which had their jerseys, etc. inside. I introduced myself as best as possible to the players and their parents. This is open to the community and to other churches, so I actually only knew two of the kids (twins), and two other families (but not these specific kids).
We had an hour, and I took up a little over half of it with drills. I was very thankful for the website that had a scripted practice regimen. It made me look so much more organized, which I was really nervous about given that all the parents were there watching their future NBA players. We broke for a devotional (just a get-to-know-you exercise for week 1) at half-time and then started a game.
We play man-to-man defense, and organize the kids for that by putting colored Velcro strips in the shoulder of their jersey. So the kids just had to find their color on a kid with the other color jersey (the jerseys are reversible for easy team division). I had one kid always sitting out, but rotated a new one in every five minutes. I have about three pretty solid players for being 5 years old, one who’s afraid of the ball, and the rest are pretty middle-of-the-road.
I had one crier, over the fact that he didn’t always get to hold a ball. Thankfully I have his older brother and sister in Awana, so I know the family, and the Mom trusted me just grabbing him and distracting him into practice. He did fine once the game started.
Hands down my favorite part of the morning: being called “Coach.” I cherish being called Uncle Karl by a number of my Sunday School kids, but this was a new level of cool. I think it’s because I never saw this as a possibility for me.