By Jeff Becraft
When I used to coach rec league basketball for a Saturday morning league, I made sure that every single guy on the team got to start at least one game. We would start 4 out of 5 of our best players and then the 5th man would rotate each game.
I had someone who was a better rec-league coach than I was say to me, “You can’t do that. It’s the start of the game. You need to come out with your best players right out of the gate.”
I responded, “I want them to know what it feels like.”
I played basketball for my school 7th-9th grade. I went to all the practices, I ran all the wind sprints… but I never started a game. My talent certainly did not elicit that I start. But I remember that.
So when I had an opportunity to coach, I wanted each player to know what it felt like to go out on that floor as a starter for a game.
When I get to do a week-long camp with a children’s home, at least one night after dinner, we will put everyone outside the main room and they have to wait to come in. I handpick beforehand about 8-10 people whom I call the pit crew, people who stay inside and who can set the atmosphere.
“OK… pit crew… have you ever seen the beginning of a basketball game when the players are introduced and they come out on the floor getting dap from everyone (this would be getting high fives, low fives, etc.)? Well, that’s what we are going to do. Don’t open that door until we give you the signal. Spread out some and make two lines. When you open that door, everyone is going to come down through the middle. You want to make them feel like the most important person in the world. (We do the same thing for Orientation at Youth Corps.) We will crank the music up (if it ain’t shakin’, it ain’t bakin’) and they’ll know they are not just walking into a room. Be making noise and be giving dap to every single person coming through that door.”
I want them to feel it. I want them to know what if feels like to be really welcomed, to be wanted, to know that they are important.
Every single person around us is important.
It is a great day to make them feel that way.
Jeff Becraft is the Executive Director for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Youth Corps is a life-changing leadership development experience that inspires high school students to be leaders in the Midlands and beyond. You can connect with Jeff at [email protected].