Thursday, April 28, 2016

PGC/Glazier Coaches Clinic Detroit 2016

Hello Everyone!

PGC Basketball and Glazier work together to create some amazing opportunities for coaches to get together with like-minded (or should I say, growth-minded) coaches to help grow their game, network, and share.

Although I was looking forward to speaking on my 3 Strength and Conditioning topics, I was equally looking forward to meeting and learning from others.

My 3 Strength and Conditioning Presentations from #PGCDetroit
During the Clinic Tip-Off my fellow PGC Directors TJ Rosene and Duez Henderson shared some quick hitters for how to maximize your clinic experience and how the same quick hitters can also help your basketball players maximize their game performances. TJ shared the importance of "locking in" and remembering that the "why" of what you do should come from your heart. Were we willing to "lock in" to this unique and fleeting experience at #PGCDetroit ?

PGC's Duez Henderson (front) and TJ Rosene (back) kicked off the clinic with some great quick hitters and reminders!

 Throughout the weekend I was blessed to meet, listen, and learn from some great coaches and speakers. I was also impressed with the distance some coaches travelled like Coach Christopher Woodside from Maine. I couldn't help but wonder, how many coaches were less than a 2 hour drive from #PGCDetroit and chose to miss out on something that will not happen again for a year (or longer)? As coaches we ask our players to take the actions of great leaders: show up early, stay late, put in extra work, but how many coaches practice what they preach? I am thankful I was surrounded by coaches that did!

Reed Maltbie (TedX Speaker), Coach Christopher Woodside, and myself at #PGCDetroit
I could write in length about all the great speakers I heard over the weekend, but I would like to highlight Canadian Coach Chantal Vallee, who currently is the Head Coach of the 5-peat National Champion Windsor Lancers Women's Basketball Team. My pen never stopped taking notes during her amazing talks at #PGCDetroit. Here is a 2 minute video to give you a taste of how she used her hours of sports psychology research and study of success to turn a non-winning team into a 5-time Champion in only a few years!

Besides having an impressive resume and being a dynamic speaker, she is also a phenomenal person who openly shares her learnings and love of the game with others!

Thank you Coach Vallee!
One of the best parts of PGC/Glazier Coaches Clinics is being around coaches of all levels and all backgrounds that are passionate about the game of basketball and how it can #SCHAPE lives. It's a handful of days that can accelerate your growth as a coach, and as a person!

One of my favorite parts, meeting awesome coaches!
Visit to see the full list of PGC/Glazier Coaches Clinics.

Keep Training!
Coach Amanda Kephart

Monday, April 4, 2016

2 Myths My 4th Graders Busted About AAU

Hello Everyone!

I am coaching the 4th Grade Akron Bobcats this Spring and as much as I hope I am teaching my players skills and lessons that will make them better basketball players on the court and better people off the court I have quickly realized that my players are also teaching me lessons and improving my skill set as a coach and as a person.

They’ve already busted 2 myths that I long held about AAU/Travel Basketball…
Sports should be fun and provide opportunities to learn and grow (both on and off the court)!
Myth #1 Playing AAU/Travel diminishes the desire to win because “there’s always another game” 

I have long been under the assumption that playing multiple tournament games on the weekends made athletes less competitive because they know there will be another game in the very near future. In one hour, my 4th Graders quickly put that assumption to rest as I witnessed the devastated looks on their faces after we lost a game.

They absolutely wanted to win every single game and they were heartbroken from losing. Their hunger and competitiveness to win was immense. To the point where I became genuinely concerned about their ability to bounce back (one of many life lessons they are learning).
They wanted to do a "no-smile" selfie after a loss.

I used to think that AAU/Travel hurt an athlete’s competitive drive, but now I believe it can actually help strengthen a passionate player’s hunger and competitiveness to win. Competing may in fact be a skill, and like any skill, the more it is practiced and trained the more improvements that can be made. AAU/Travel gives athletes more practice at competing and more exposure to game-environments that are hard to match in a practice setting.

Myth #2 Players don’t improve their skills because they are busy playing games and not developing skills 

I can only speak from my experience with the Akron Bobcats, so this may not be true with all programs, but the 4th Grade Bobcats train as a team twice a week in intentional, skill-oriented practices that focus on development. The purposeful practices we go through are designed to teach them skills, to learn how to use them, and to compete with them. (Learn more about the TLC method here.) With games on the weekends, there is quick feedback on whether what we are trying to develop in them is transferring and what other areas need to be addressed.

Win or lose I am proud of these guys!
Additionally, the life lessons and real-world situations they are exposed to in the tournaments is even greater than what I had anticipated. One game alone has had more learning points and character developing moments than I ever could have imagined.

I wonder what other myths and long-held beliefs I will question thanks to my 4th Graders?

Keep Training!
Coach Amanda Kephart