COURTSIDE WITH COACH EDMONDS: Listen to learn, Learn to listen

Keith Edmonds is a 32-year veteran of teaching and school administration from Fort Wayne. He coached boys high school basketball as an assistant at Snider High School, North Side High School and was the head boys basketball coach at Elmhurst High School for 12 years, advancing to the Class 3A State championship in 2003.

It’s interesting that no matter how many players that I’ve had the opportunity to coach, and no matter what their skill level was, or how much success they acquired, the central most themes to their successes or failures revolved around their ability to listen to learn and learn to listen.

The truly great players are not only blessed with tremendous talent, or the desire to be the best, but they understood at an early age that if they were ever going to become a truly special player then they’d better develop the ability to listen to those that came before them. They must do that as those people share their knowledge of the game from either a coaching, former player, or just a mentor sharing wisdom. If you learn the formula that first you “listen to learn,” then you “learn to listen,” you can go a long way in this game and accomplish many remarkable – and dare I say – life changing things.

Today’s players have so many advantages that are at their disposal, whether it’s access to [air conditioned] gyms, having a shooting machine make various passes to them all while actually rebounding the ball for them, or even coaches beckoning them to come to their elite camps, that they hardly ever take the time to develop the mental approach to the game simply because everything has been done for them.

I was fortunate enough to learn how to coach and develop players from some of the nation’s very best collegiate coaches, as well as the head coaches that I worked for as a young coach coming up during my time as a high school coach. I appreciated all of the times that they shared their wisdom and expertise with me as I was trying to better myself as a coach in this profession. I tried to listen as they spoke in clinics and camps, trying to find nuggets that would help me become the best coach that I could be and have a successful program with players that not only could play but knew how to play.

If I had to pick one or two quotes that I have followed and made my mantra in regards to coaching it would be these two:

“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you always knew you could be”

– Tom Landry (Former Hall of Fame Coach Dallas Cowboys)

“To be a complete player you must develop the ability to listen to learn what you don’t know and learn to listen to those who you can help you get to your next level of development”

– Tom Izzo (Michigan State Men’s Basketball Coach)

This has served me well as a coach and something that I follow as I continue to work in my new position as an AAU girls basketball coach. I respect those that have made the decision to coach as a career and hopefully will continue to put young people first in regards to teaching them life lessons in the game of not only basketball, but life as well.

Courtside with Coach Edmonds will appear every Monday during the prep basketball season at Outside the Huddle. These opinions represent those of the writer. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. 


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