Thursday, August 22, 2019
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TAKING A “PAIGE” FROM THE HOW-TO-COACH BOOK

How does playing the “Animal Game” help the Sunnyslope girl’s J.V. team win more games?

How will sledding down a 100 foot slope on and oil drip pan help these girls improve their record? What coach would bypass free throw practice, passing drills and offensive schemes for snow ball fights?

Ask Coach Andy Paige. Coach Paige loves to coach. He love the girls on his team. He knows the importance of his profound influence and his opportunity to teach these girls life skills.

He knows the odds and percentages of ids making it to the college and pro ranks. He probably doesn’t’ see any “Pro” players in his team’s future.

Frankly, after watching these girls play, I would have to agree with him. Even my own daughter, Kamryn can hardly dribble to her left. I don’t remember this team ever making a “trey”!

But, I really think they have a shot at the state title in the “Animal Game”.

Coach Paige gets it. (Not the Animal Game, he was horrible at it. He was the Polar Bear.) He gets that putting girls in different life situations has lots of benefits.

So, he bypassed practice for a full day in the mountains. A short two hour drive from Phoenix to Munds Park to our family cabin will be long remembered by these girls. Even more so than those hard to come by wins.

“There is no doubt that doing things together off the court is always beneficial.” Coach Paige said.

He is so right. There is more to coaching than teaching a back pick or a back door cut, or in Kamryn’s case, going to her left.

Outside team activities widens the dimensions of their relationships. The girls get to know a different side of each other. They laugh and play together.

This can only build team cohesiveness and teamwork. Who knows, maybe the “Animal Game” and their newly found cohesiveness) will help them pull together and win a close one point game. Remember, they have the polar bear on their side. Being on their side is an understatement for coach Paige. Not only did he give up his day off, buy the pizzas, sit on the floor in a circle to play the Animal Game, but he drove his van with six wild, silly screaming; way too loud teenage girls.

This is what kids need from their coach. This is what parents want in a coach: life skills. If a coach wants to earn trust and respect, this is the way to do it. This respect, trust, teamwork, and willingness to do all that is needed was evidenced at the end of the day:

Our cabin looked like it had been ransacked by 10 teenage girls eating pizza and snacks all day. Actually it looked like three football teams in a bad mood spent the day. But as soon as Coach Paige asked for volunteers for clean up, all the girls stood up. I was impressed. This is a group of girls who appreciates their coach, and wants to please him. Coach Paige feels that clean up and taking responsibility is something that will carry over on the court. I can’t wait to watch the next game. Not only do the girls know each other better, but I feel like I know them better too. I can see it now, down by one point with 20 seconds left in the game. The girls are going to huddle up, start the clap for the Animal Game, and call out for their respected and trusted leader; their polar bear.

Hey, by the way Coach Paige, can you find some time to work on Kamryn’s left handed dribble?

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