Local basketball coaches share what they wished parents knew

Local basketball coaches share what they wished parents knew
April 13
14:42 2022

By KP Brabham

This informative series provides valuable insight by our local coaches. Previous articles in this series ran in past issues of The Chronicle. This is Part 4 of Coach Gainey’s interview.

Hard work on the court and in the classroom

Coach Gainey reemphasized that he’ll always lose against a coach making a promise. When asked about that kid who’s working hard, he stated, “I believe he who works the hardest reaps the greatest reward.” Coach Gainey believes that to be true, especially in public schools, and kids in public school can get everything except for a national basketball schedule. 

“I missed out on a kid because at Glenn we don’t play a national schedule and I understood that. I know I’ve heard people say they’ll play that schedule but when it came time to do that, for whatever reason, they didn’t. I did play a few private schools this year.” The biggest thing Coach Gainey wanted parents to remember is that they send their kids to school to get an education. “Hopefully, they can be good enough to get a free education. It can be academically, but if the goal is in athletics, they’ll have to put in that extra work and time. That’s the thing some parents get early, and some get late.

“I tell parents a lot of times, you have to invest in your kids. Whether it’s academic or athletic scholarships, you’ll have to invest. It can be a camp they can go to. Parents have to learn, especially the young parents coming from middle school to high school. Everyone can’t make the pros [professional league] or get a Division I (DI) scholarship, but they can all go to school for free depending upon how hard they work in the classroom, on the court, on the field, or on the track. They have to understand it’s going to take hard work.”

Coach Gainey added to how he assists his players to get those college looks by playing a tough schedule. “In the end, coaches come to look for kids to play on their level, DI, DII, NAIA, they want to know if the kid can compete. And it’s nothing to beat a team, but coaches say, ‘Yeah he can play, but can he play at ‘my’ level?’”

Coaches do want to see you play against another good team in your conference on your schedule. For me, I just try to play tougher teams that I can. Sometimes that’s where the private schools come in at. Those kids might be older, they might play a national schedule. When parents say they want to play a national schedule, what they’re saying is we’re going to play bigger schools, tougher schools. The key is, can they compete? I’ll tell any parent, you can have a tougher schedule, but can your son compete at that level?” 

Coach Gainey explained the tougher schedule he searches for is one that he knows his team can compete on. “I encourage my teams to get better, work harder, and sometimes that tougher game shows them where they are, that they thought they were better than they are. It’ll show how much more we have to do. I look for better teams outside of our conference to see how much more work we need to do. It puts us as a team in a situation to know we have to continue to work hard to achieve those goals.”

Books before basketball

Coach Gainey continued, “We also have academic goals too, We have practice 4 p.m.-6 p.m. or 6 p.m.-8 p.m. I tell my kids, if you have to go to tutoring or study hall, just bring me a note, no questions asked. Basketball comes before books only in the dictionary. If our kids need help, they go get it. At Glenn, if we have a kid who’s struggling, they can work with a teacher before or after school if they’re not making the requirement of a 2.0 grade point average (GPA). As a team goal, we like to make a 2.5 GPA overall. That takes some kids making a 3.0 GPA and that’s great. For us, we’re usually around a 2.5/2.8.

“If I have a kid make an A in math, an underclassman who was struggling a little bit, being a good teammate is not just about being on that basketball court. If you know you’re making an A in that math, you know he’s struggling, why don’t you, someone who you already have something in common with which is basketball, take the time to tutor him? Sometimes it’s about who you’re comfortable with. I think that’s when the teacher-student relationship comes in. Sometimes students don’t feel like they can talk to that teacher, or are not comfortable. Realistically, that’s the way it is, or that they don’t understand the teacher’s methods. Our priority at Glenn is academics, and basketball is an opportunity, a privilege. If things aren’t going the way they should, our parents step in to say something, and we can do our part on the basketball side too.

Read the next part of this series in next week’s Chronicle.

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