Posted by: Earl-Stevens on March 11th, 2010The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
The Jazz have a great little league basketball program â€“ the Jr. Jazz – and I had a great time playing in the program in the early 90’s. More recently, I’ve coached my son’s Jr. Jazz team for the past three years. We’ve just finished the 2010 season, and I’m happy to report that Team 11 (Pleasant Grove 5th Grade Boy’s League), had an awesome season.
In our league, they don’t keep score until the kids reach 6th grade. However, we keep a stat sheet because the kids always want to know who won. We also use the stats to help measure individual progress and to determine what we need to work on during practice.
We went 6-1-1, and averaged just under 29 points per game. Our opponents averaged just over 20 points per contest.
One of the most rewarding things about coaching is seeing the players progress throughout the season. Each year, we have kids enter the program who have never played before. They are terrified of the ball during the first few games and are more than happy to hot-potato it to the more experienced players. During our first few games, only three of our kids were willing to shoot the ball, and we suffered a lot of turnovers, traveling calls, and floater passes.
As the season went on, the newcomers came out of their shells and started to recognize and develop their strengths. They were no longer allergic to the ball, and the more experienced kids shot less and passed more. The floater passes were replaced with crisp bounce and chest passes, and the kids started chasing rebounds rather than watching them fly out of bounds (or in one case, cause a bloody nose).
During our last game, every kid got at least one shot, and all but two were able to score.
The coaching experience has been very rewarding for me, and I’d recommend it to anyone. I walked into practice a couple of times in a sour mood after a rough day at work. Within minutes, the stress was gone, and problems forgotten. These kids know how to have fun and live in the moment and I always walked out of practices and games feeling upbeat and refreshed.
So if you have kids (or relatives, neighbors, siblings, etc.) between the ages of 8 and 18, encourage them to participate in the Jr. Jazz and make it a point to volunteer in the program. It is truly an organization that benefits all involved and creates smiles at a time when smiles sometimes seem scarce.
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