About half-way through the season, Coach Tamm brought me to sit with him in the bleachers after practice. Our JV team was over-achieving, knocking off teams and building momentum for a JV league championship.
“TREVOR. GET OVER HERE.”
“Coach, what’s up?”
“Our TC game is a huge game for you. You have been competing better, but this is a real test. Harbor Springs was a cakewalk compared to Traverse City. This is the biggest school in the state. They have 4,000 kids there. If you win this game, Coach Starkey said he may bring you up.”
A surge of adrenaline spiked inside me.
“You serious?” I asked, my eyes turning into lasers.
“You think you can do it? Coach Starkey has been impressed with your change in attitude, effort levels, and competitiveness thus far.”
“I can coach. I can do it.”
“Good. See you tomorrow for practice. Be focused and ready to go. I want you to have your best effort of the season.”
I ran back onto the practice court and started shooting some more, my mind flashing forward to playing in front of Petoskey’s home crowd on a Friday night with thousands of people screaming as the pep band played wildly as I entered my first varsity game.
Great things can happen when coaches and teachers develop your mindset, effort, and work ethic. I eventually the made varsity, thanks to Matt Tamm — the man that taught me to compete like MJ. He was my history teacher, my neighbor, and my coach.
I always be indebted to him for his tutelage, effort, and mentoring. Sorry for calling you a bear-man, but a kid’s perspective is an impressionable one.
Basketball Kids Sports to Life Lessons
Every kid needs to grow their leadership, effort, and mindfulness skills, but how? There are not many coaches talking about effort over talent, grit over one-day passion, focus, breathing, or teamwork over individual stats. As a kid, my dad used to drive me to the court and rebound for me. He would ask me if I put my best effort into being the best I could be in that practice.
Of course, I'd ask as my practice session ended as a naive kid, "I don't know dad. What does that look like?"
Now I finally know (yes, at 39). Your best effort looks and feels a certain way. Whether it's your kid cleaning their room, or staying fit as an adult, after 12 years of European professional basketball, I now take pride in teaching kids how to compete against themselves and put their best effort into practice, school, and what they love doing.
"There is no one else to compete against but yourself, Trevor," my dad would say to me, stoically.
Then I turned 14 and never listened to him again, (*I'm laughing out loud here) but you get the point--kids need to hear the effort message! All the time, from as many mentors, coaches, and teachers as possible!
I'm sure Erica's dad did the same, but the whole point of the story is, if we can push kids to get out of their comfort zones with new training methods, new sports, and higher levels of effort, we can begin their path to success. Good luck and see you soon!