Local basketball coaches share what they wished parents knew

Local basketball coaches share what they wished parents knew
March 24
05:21 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.

Dual sport athletes

The unspoken rule in high school sports for student-athletes who play more than one, such as football and basketball, is to not attend preseason workouts of one while actively playing the other. No football coach wants to deal with rolled ankles and jammed fingers from preseason basketball practice. 

At smaller 1A and 2A high schools within the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WS/FCS) district, such as Carver, North Forsyth, Walkertown, and W-S Prep, coaches know all too well about sharing the same student-athlete. With a small student body comprised of an even smaller athletic population, some preseason workouts at those schools won’t begin until after the previous sport’s season has ended. The advantage the larger 3A and 4A schools in the WS/FCS district, such as East, West Forsyth and Reagan high schools have, is a smaller ratio of dual-sport student-athletes. A vivid comparison for a 1A and 2A school missing 10 or more players at the preseason mark versus maybe one or two in a 3A and 4A school.

This could be a taxing situation for coaches and parents because of the date overlaps. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) sets the dates annually, allowing preseason workouts for all sports during the spring semester and summer months, outside of the dead periods. Official practice for all fall sports for WS/FCS is Aug. 1. Usually, two football games are played prior to the late August start of school. Because basketball is a winter sport, the NCHSAA marked Oct. 25 as the first official start date for schools that do not have a football team, which was W-S Prep in 2013. For other schools with a football program, the official start date remains Nov. 1. 

Glenn High School is one within the district that has had ongoing success and pride in their football and basketball programs. As a 4A classification high school coach, Jonathan Gainey is very familiar with sharing his basketball players with their football program. He spoke on parents being concerned about how that whole process worked and most benefited their sons.  

Coach Gainey stated, “Many parents start out with, ‘If he makes the team, then what?’ without even having the opportunity to compete for a spot on the team.” Coach went on to explain, “I have open conversations that every student-athlete will have the opportunity to compete, but that I can’t make promises. [When football is going on] we all want them to win, so we don’t hold parent meetings to select a team until after the football season is over. We want our football team to be successful, too. 

“We won’t play before Thanksgiving to partner with our other sports programs, so many of our days after tryouts can be really hard. I ended up having to figure out what to do with 18 players. We had guys who came out and were there every day for two weeks, to just cut them for a player who was there only two days. In conversation with Coach Stevenson (head varsity football coach and assistant athletic director at Glenn High School), a great guy, he helps us out with helping athletes to focus on football and let them know we’ll [basketball program] be here after the season ends. He [Stevenson] helps me out with identifying anyone wanting to play basketball. He lets us know all the time.”

Coach Gainey believes it is a benefit when other coaches in the school building support other programs and help its success. That teamwork contributes to Coach Gainey being in his fifth year as varsity boys coach at Glenn High School. He also brings to the fold two years as 9th-grade boys assistant coach at RJ Reynolds High School, two years varsity girls assistant, four years as RJ Reynolds varsity girls coach, and several years of coaching with Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) organizations Kappa Magic and Team Winston.

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

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