Teaching vs Coaching

Tonight I will be “Coaching” my sons 5th grade basketball team solo. This group of 10 and 11 year olds are all over the board(s) in terms of commitment, ability, desire, passion, and listening skills. They are a great group of kids and my 30+ years of experience teaching and coaching golf will be challenged to say the least.

As their coach, like in golf we set up drills, work on skill sets, practice our areas of weakness, measure progress, assess and grade our performance, and build upon what we have learned. Basketball was my 4th sport growing up, Baseball, Golf and Soccer were my favorites. I played 5th-8th grade basketball and was consistently the #4-7 man, starting about 1/2 the games. My basketball highlight was winning MVP of a tournament my 8th grade year. I remember in practices shooting tons of free throws, lots and lots of running, and tons of lay ups (my left hand still stinks) I remember my coach being tough, yelling a lot, and pulling kids out of the game that played poorly. We had great teams so I believe my coach was really passionate and really good at what he did. I feel as my sons basketball “coach” I have a lot to offer based on these experiences and my profession but….

..as a Teacher of basketball, I am not an expert and certainly not a professional. I don’t really know a lot of plays, the keys to proper shooting form, proper lay up techniques, how to dribble correctly, and so much more. In the end I will try and Teach the kids to “Be Like Mike” or in this generation Stef Curry or James Harden.

IN PGA Professional Fred Shoemaker’s book Extraordinary Putting, he explains that teaching assumes that something is missing in the students ability and the teacher has to provide it. Coaching assumes the ability is already there and only needs to be brought out. I couldn’t agree more with this. As a PGA Professional, my career wears two hats one who teaches and one who coaches. Most of my lessons are about 80% Teaching and 20% coaching with adults, about 50%-50% with juniors, and with my most advanced players it is 20% Teaching and 80% Coaching which is what makes being a Golf Professional with a focus on Teaching and Coaching so much fun!