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  • Writer's pictureMatt Kramer

Summer Troubles?

Many of the coaches I work with are expressing similar issues as their summer programs have gotten under way. Here are the 2 I'm hearing the most, with the solutions I recommend:

  1. Players want to show up for summer games and shootouts on the weekends, but they don't consistently show up for the workouts in their own gym---individual skills, strength and conditioning, and team practice sessions.

Solution: Don't let them play in the games. Period. I mentioned this in the June newsletter, and I'll double down on it now. No workouts in our gym = no games. And this goes especially for your "best" players. Keep your eye on the big picture, and remember your entire program is watching.

You want to set an expectation that will last forever? Show your best player the bench the next time he or she shows up to a summer game or shootout after missing team workouts in your gym---and don't flinch if the score gets lopsided! I'd argue that losing that game by 40 and not letting that kid play would make a greater long-lasting positive impact on a program than winning any summer game ever could.

2. The football coaches are monopolizing your players.

Solution: This one, folks, is as old as time. Over the years, I've coached alongside some head football coaches who were very easy to work with. There is nothing better for kids and programs than when the head football coach and head basketball coach get along.

Unfortunately, I've also worked alongside with a few who simply think no other program exists except their own. That can be a real problem, not just for you, the head basketball coach, but also the players who play multiple sports. So what do you do?

Here are my 3 suggestions:

1st---and this one works best if you do it back in April, but it's never too late: Schedule your basketball workouts 30 minutes after the football workout ends. This gives the players time to take a few minutes off their feet and hydrate and maybe eat a quick snack before heading in the gym.

2nd: If the player lifts with the football team during the summer, he doesn't have to lift with the basketball team. In other words, his football lift counts toward your basketball strength commitment. Why fight it? If the kid is lifting, he's lifting. As long as your basketball-only kids know it, nobody is going to question the 2-sport athlete's dedication to his strength training.

3rd: Go hard in June then release the football players to just go play football after the 4th of July. Kids need time to just be kids, too. Don't forget that. Ever. You let them know you want one great month from them in the summer and that you aren't going to run them into the ground through the dog days of July, and you will find greater buy-in and a much higher quality of engagement in those June workouts. I'm not suggesting to never open the gym in July. I absolutely continue to offer skill sessions for any player who wants to keep working at it throughout July---and there are always a bunch, and that number will continue to increase the longer a head coach is at a school. But the team stuff ends before the 4th. From there, I allow kids to be kids---and football coaches to be king.

Like I said, those are the two BIG ones I'm currently hearing; I'm hoping my new friends here at The 98% Club share some more on this thread!

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1 Comment

Stephen Collum
Stephen Collum
Jun 12, 2023

Good stuff

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