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The Importance of Respect in Basketball

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When I was a young kid my father took me aside one day and told me something I've never forgotten. He told me that it was far more important to him that people thought of his son as being a good respectful kid as compared to a good basketball player.

That has never left me. Today it sometimes seems like we live in a completely different day and age.

I recently watched an AAU summer basketball game where, during a timeout, one of the players started yelling at the coach to "just let him shoot the ball".

The coach put his head down and did nothing while the player went out on the court and was allowed to stay in the game. This would never have happened with any of the good coaches I played for and certainly not for my father.

During a baseball game when I was 10 years old I stood on the mound and cried because I was struggling to throw strikes. As my father tried to coach me from the dugout I yelled something back at him. He calmly walked out to the mound and gave me a brief lesson on respect. He let me know in no uncertain terms that he was the coach and he was going to take action for my choices.

I chose to disrespect him by yelling from the mound and he was choosing to take me out of the game because it was what any good coach should do. Looking back at that event one thing that stands out to me is the fact that my father didn't wait until we got home to teach me a lesson. He didn't pretend like it didn't happen, instead he acted on it immediately and made a teaching moment out of it.

I don't know if it would have had as big of an impact on me later in life if he would have just ignored the situation during the game and then punished me at home. I think coaches need to take that to heart. You really need to take advantage of the teaching moments you have and make the most out of them. Don't take the easy way out.

Since our readers consist of both players and coaches alike I want to direct this at both audiences to really get the point across.

Coaches should never let players get the best of them by disrespecting them. This means that when you are trying to get your point across don't allow a few things:

1. Never allow talking while you are talking. This is a blatant sign of disrespect. If you are teaching or coaching the instruction is for everyone so everyone needs to listen. Any player that is talking while you are talking needs to be corrected openly and immediately to correct the behavior and set the standard.

2. Never allow a player to talk back to you. No player is above you or the team. While in high school I played with a kid who went on to be an all-conference player in college and played for several years in top euro leagues. This player was better than all of us and he knew it but our coach didn't let him slide on anything. Several practices ended with this kid in the locker room because of his disrespect towards the coaches. Seems to me he turned out great with all the success he had in his career. Maybe it had something to do with the coaches not putting up with his disrespect. Had they let him walk all over them I wonder if he would have gone on to have the success he did. I doubt it.

3. Never allow any player to disrespect another teammate. This means that you don't allow belittling or ridiculing for any reason. Coaches have control and when another player belittles another it really affects the team and shows the team that you support that type of behavior.

As players you should keep these things in mind. If you have frustrations they should always be directed and handled in private. No coach wants to be shown up and most won't tolerate it at all. I watched several University of Utah practices with Coach Rick Majerus and as soon as a player even opened his mouth they were booted and forced to go run their guts out.

Players need to know their place and understand that no individual is above the team and the coach has a responsibility to protect that. Be respectful and listen. If you disagree, talk to the coach later and in private. Handle it the correct way and you'll mature to the point that you will build all sorts of life skills that will help you be successful in any situation.

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