If coaches needed even more challenges on their plates, bear with me while I briefly summarize this past week’s observations:
THE MONMOUTH EFFECT: If you regularly watch college games on the tube, you’ll remember last season’s youtube wonders, the Monmouth bench. On its way to a 28-8 record which included pre-conference victories over the likes of UCLA, USC, Georgetown and Notre Dame, the players on the Hawks’ bench were caught on camera celebrating their team’s successes in very creative ways. Once the camera caught the creative antics, you guessed it-the images were played and replayed on Sportscenter and the like. This, of course, served to further motivate the Monmouth bench to ham it up to greater lengths, which led to more coverage. This, of course, led to other benches trying to out-Monmouth the Hawks’ bench. What started out as a fun moment quickly turned into an excessive, gratuitous movement.
POSSES: Funny but the Monmouth effect and the concept of posses merged into one moment last week at, of all places, a suburban high school game. While the term “posse” has been criticized as being racially charged, at its core it really means a group of supporters. In the game in question, whenever the star player made an extraordinary play, his followers would stand up and mimic the Monmouth bench.
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Just as Magic Johnson created the model for wanabee tall point guards for his generation, the Bucks’ “Greek Freak” is this generation’s standard bearer. (And, if you haven’t focused on him yet, it’s well worth the time; he’s an amazing athlete who is developing a game). Posses and parents alike have been influencing players since Magic to play any position but the #4 or #5 spots. Antetokounmpo is the most recent catalyst in this movement.
PARENTS: A longer article is adequately necessary to cover this topic but we’ll cite just two quick examples today. Sitting directly behind a parent the other day, I listened to him shout directions to his son on every possession-all possession long, “Do this, do that”, etc. Those episodes were not to be outdone by recent reports of a local coach receiving two-page email critiques after games.
COLLEGE COLOR COMMENTATORS: A growing trend with know-it-all “analysts” is the constant harping on what players and coaches should have done and yet, at the same time hyping anything remotely good.
While all of the above factors can and do serve as challenges for coaches to get the total attention of their players to focus on the team first, to stay the course, coaches are reminded to be sound, be the example and be true to one’s self through all the noise.