This Summer I was introduced to a group of young lads who were in the city for a 3x3 tournament down from the Kimberly. They all had some impressive raw ability and a quick first step. They came down to the 3x3 Community Hustle program I was coaching for Basketball WA at Donnie Taco to get a workout in and experience a different coach.
At the end of the session, I sat down to chat with them offering the open book answers about anything and everything basketball that they were curious about. One of the boys, (I'll call him Z for this blog), asked me about PSA basketball because he was staying down in the city to go to school. Turns out he was going to Aquinas College, entering year 8, and had tryouts the next week. What he didn't know was, that's my team, and he will be attending the tryouts I run.
Z made a great impression straight away, very coachable, extremely passionate, ask's thoughtful questions, always working hard. Yes, these have nothing to do with his athletic ability and skill set, those are obvious things that present themselves as and when we plan them to within the tryouts.
But, it is the initial qualities that I have always and will always look for in young players. A player with these qualities has the potential to go far as an athlete. They are pre-notions that he will be able to endure the sacrifices it takes to become an elite athlete. Over the course of the term he had to adapt to a new style and speed of play, the way the game is officiated, the 6:30 am training sessions twice a week. Let alone the fact he is 2,250km away from home.
Z turned in to be a major piece of the team at every training session and game, pushing players to be better, playing hard defense, forcing the action within the rules of the offense. Needless to say, I am extremely impressed, enough so to write a whole blog about it.
That being said, he is not alone, there are so many young athletes across all sports just waiting for the right opportunity. I'm lucky enough to work at a school that can provide such opportunities to several students every year.