I joke a lot about the time I spent coaching my kids' teams. And will continue to. Because over a dozen years or so, I worked with the whole gamut of coaches, from total sociopaths who ruined entire programs, to decent, earnest guys who won championships while giving everyone playing time and making it fun for them, and everyone in between. Now, revisiting this video, a look into Kobe Bryant's coaching his daughter's team from last March, is just devastating. Because you realize how dedicated he was to doing it right.
That part at the 1:00 mark when he describes his coaching style should be a primer for any parent who decides to coach in any sport. It should be written out and posted in at every gym, field and rink in America. Teaching fundamentals. Basics. "You lay back and kind of let them find their own way a lot." And above all else, "Patience. Patience, man. They're 12. You gotta be patient. Let them develop, let them grow."
It sounds so simple, but oftentimes the most profound things do. And you'd be how often people involved with youth sports forget that. Otherwise sane adults who put a whistle and get delusions of grandeur like they're the next Bobby Knight or Bill Parcells. Who treat it like an opportunity to impress the world with their towering genius instead of making about the kids. Here we've got a guy who accomplished virtually everything you can in the sport he mastered passing it along to his own daughter and her teammates, and yet he was able to grasp that in a way far too few can ever seem to.
It's gut wrenching to think that's what he was heading off to do with this daughter and those other passengers when the crash occurred. To teach. To pass his appreciation and passion for the game along to another generation, which is everything that coaching youth sports is supposed to be. The mission, if you will.
And watching him interact with the kids this way is a reminder - in case any of us need it - that life is all too brief and none of us is promised a tomorrow. For those of us with children, that means treating every moment you're with them as a chance to build memories and hold them tight. Getting involved in their sports is just one way to create those memories. So if you do, make those memories positive ones. And cherish them. The way Kobe Bryant seemed to. Thus endth the lesson.