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Coaching and the Matter of RESPECT

I have always been a positive leader and coach, whether coaching my brigade basketball team to the Post Championship, teaching and coaching a 7-8 year old girls basketball team, coaching young teen soccer players, or in coaching/mentoring/leading soldiers, cadets, students, and, yes, even college professors in the arena of teaching (and getting into another professor’s “turf” can be a very touchy endeavor).


Part of my leadership style emanated by watching those who coached me. In particular I could mention the names of Brigadier General (Ret.) Al Grum (department head/mentor of mine at West Point), General (Ret.) Frederick J. Kroesen (my brigade commander in Vietnam), and coaches R.E. Windham (high school basketball), Colonel (Ret.) Herschel Chapman (West Point Preparatory School basketball team), and Joe Palone (legendary soccer and boxing coach at West Point). I’ll leave the specific stories about each of them for a different book, but suffice it is to say that each got the “max” out of me – and the other players - because they treated me with RESPECT, trusted my abilities, and gave me the right amount of freedom to exercise personal judgment according to circumstances. And yes, each of them had no problem with “putting down the hammer” if it was needed. In my research of Maggie Dixon, I found her completely respectful of not only her players, of every person she ever met. Too many coaches of today show little respect for their players, and ultimately to many others – often leading to sanctions given to major universities.

My youngest daughter played high school basketball and volleyball. Unfortunately, I was out of town for most of each week and only saw half of her home games. But the story is about her coach – a nasty, foul-mouthed, undisciplined woman in her early twenties. My daughter’s experience (and she was one strong-willed young lady) was negative to the point that she dropped basketball and concentrated on volleyball as a senior. Of the many values missing from this woman, the one that sticks in my craw the most is RESPECT. If you don’t show RESPECT for those who work with and for you, success, either at the onset of your endeavor or over time, will be hard to come by. As a side-bar, my daughter’s high school team went on to a state championship a couple of years later with a new coach (her original coach was fired).

Take a look on a major search engine for the name JOHN WOODEN. In addition to videos covering his time as a teacher and basketball coach, make sure to read about his Pyramid of Success and read up on some of his quotes – for example:

· Be true to yourself.

· Make each day a masterpiece.

RESPECT is so easy to give and so important to the well-being of so many others.

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© 2020 Jack Grubbs