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Boys Youth Instructional Basketball This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   This past winter I was lucky to coach a youth basketball team with two friends. The team consisted of players from the fourth and fifth grades. When I saw my team running around the gym like animals, at the first practice, I was skeptical, at best. We herded them together and were about to introduce ourselves when one of the players said to the shorter of my two friends, "You're going to be on our team!" My friend turned bright red and explained that he was actually one of the coaches.

The first few practices went smoother than I had anticipated, and the kids were not too hard to control. By the time the first game came, we had the kids whipped into shape and ready to play. After the first minute of play, I realized that at that age everything you told them at practice had gone in one ear and out the other. They crowded around the man with the ball, barely played defense, and their shots were all over the place. They didn't really care as long as they got to play.

We ended up running the game and the team was ecstatic. They didn't care that the score was 10 to 8, they had a good time. My friends and I were so proud we felt like we had been on the court ourselves. The next few games went basically the same way. We won about half of our games, but even when we lost, the kids didn't seem upset.

Finally we reached the last game of the season. We were down by two points with twelve seconds to go. Our point guard dribbled the ball up the court and we called a time-out. We set up a simple play which had our best shooter shooting the ball to tie the game.

They were all very nervous and excited, as was I. The inbounder passed the ball to the shooter who shot the ball. My heart had never beaten so fast. The ball hit the rim and bounced straight up, it could go either way. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. The ball came back down, hit the rim, and bounced out. We had lost the game. I felt bad for the team, but I think the coaches were more upset than the team. We told the team it had been a great season and that we hoped to see them next year.

As we walked out of the gym, a few of the parents approached us. Oh great, I thought, we probably didn't play their kids long enough. However, they had come over to thank us for coaching their kids. They told us that their kids had loved having us as coaches and hoped to see us next year. It gave us a great feeling to know that they had fun and enjoyed the season. It was certainly an experience I won't soon forget. l


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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