Multiple Teams · Finding Their Footing

One’s unique road to success is often revealed most by the lessons learned from failed attempts to navigate it without a map. – Zero Dean

After losing several seniors from last year’s Boys Basketball team, Head Coach William Buford knew this season would bring about some growing pains.

“Most definitely, what you hope as a coach is the growing experience of a young team will boost it’s tournament hopes. To have that turn into success at the end, to remember the growing pains and learn from them is part of the plan,” Buford said.

Heading into Our game with Germantown, he shared some of what he tries to do to build the young men emotionally and physically into the best version of what this year’s team can be.


Coaches can have a lot of influence over their players. Whether good or bad, this position of power is never neutral. Always be aware of the impact your words and actions have on others.

When you’re in a position of authority, athletes look to you for instruction and advice, and this role needs to be taken seriously. Especially during highly emotional times, like the end of a game, after a mistake, or following a great play, your words can make a tremendous impact. A key to taking advantage of these moments is being aware of timing.

“Catching an athlete doing something great after overcoming adversity, or a word of encouragement after a disappointing outcome can be very powerful,” Buford said.


Not every player is the same, so it’s crucial to focus on coaching the person, not the sport. While some athletes may need a hug, or a quiet word when they’re struggling, others might respond to louder verbal instruction.

As the coach, it’s my responsibility to realize what every individual needs, and do my best to deliver it. Failing to do so means failing to inspire your athletes. If I shout at a player who responds better to quiet instruction, he may become discouraged and start to tune out what I say. Nothing could be more devastating for a player-coach relationship. In order to be transformational,  you must show your athletes that you care about them as individuals.

As evidenced in Our victory over the neighborhood school, we may be finding Our footing for the end of the season.