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.

Being a head basketball coach requires you to pay close attention to your players’ grades, school behaviors, team morale, practice and game planning and many other things during the course of a season.

Paying close attention to detail is what makes coaching such a demanding position simply because it’s the little things that make or break a program success or failure during the tenure of a coach’s career. One of the most important factors to the overall development of a program is the relationships that the high school coaches develop with the elementary and middle schools that send students into the neighboring high school.

Those schools are what we call the feeder schools. 

These schools that surround the high school are schools that coaches must visit, be seen at not just athletic contests, but also academic and school recognition events and be a presence for those younger students. They need to see a coach as an important part of their growth as young student/athletes. These students are aspiring to be a part of the high school program in their future. Coaches have to generate interest from those students by sharing their passion and excitement for their particular program and make those feeder school students want to become a future Hornet, Bruin, Knight, Archer, Charger, etc.

So how does this happen that the perennial powers or successful programs in our area maintain their successes year after year? Sure we have some very good coaching in northeast Indiana, but there has to be more so let’s take a look. 

What I have found is that the coaches and programs that have experienced prolonged success have a clear understanding that they must be visible and well known by their community and younger students who see them on a regular basis. Coaches must have a rapport with the middle and elementary school teachers, staff and administration and that takes time, but is a necessary entity if they want sustained success at the high school level.

The more that the high school coaches show that they care about those young prospective students/athletes in being a part of their school and programs, the more apt they will be gracing their hallways in years to come.

Now mind you, winning does play an important part in this process as most kids want to be a part of a winning high school program. But think for a moment, how exciting is it for students in grades 2-8 to be invited to a game or to see the members of the high school basketball team speak to their class or attend one of their games? That is the something that they go home and share with their parents and it generates interest in them attending that particular high school.

Summer camps or inviting the feeder school coaches to clinics also play a huge part in developing interest in the high school and creating a culture of winning needed to sustain excellence at the high school for years to come.  In my mind that’s how you get things done coaches: be visible at the feeder schools. Your program’s future is at stake.

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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