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.

The value of having seniors as the leaders of your program is something that most coaches will tell adds years to their life as a coach. Seniors have been through 4 years (maybe five at the collegiate level) and have wisdom, knowledge and stature that the younger members of the program haven’t attained as of yet, but look on and marvel at its luster. In the lockeroom, classroom and throughout the school, seniors have a presence in so many ways that coach’s look at them as an “extension of themselves” in the program.

Having been a head coach for many years, it was always good to see how my seniors who came in as precocious freshmen, stepped up and took the reins of leadership of my various teams and guided them towards successes’ or failures depending on the make-up of the team or mentally of that particular senior group each season. But by and large, each group was different in their approach and felt that becoming a senior leader was their “rite of passage” as they’d somehow survived to reach the pinnacle of their high school career; being a SENIOR member of the team with all of the rights and privileges that come with this honor.

The season is long for coaches and it can become even longer (even if it’s a winning season) if you don’t have seniors to keep things balanced in your program. Player moral and chemistry are 2 things that as coaches we look at and at times only see what happens ON the court but ask any coach worth his salt, it’s the SENIORS that see things OFF of the court that can make a huge difference in your program. 

I always appreciated the seniors that I had the pleasure of coaching and always wanted them to put their identity on that particular team as their stamp of approval for the season.

I would often defer to my seniors when the team wasn’t practicing well or when weren’t playing up to our potential during certain times during the season and they enjoyed that responsibility. Our mid-season team meetings were always interesting especially during my first two seasons of 2-18 and 3-17 records (collective sigh…) man that was tough!

It took all of my seniors of those teams creative juices combined to keep the collective sanity of all of us stable! In so many ways they set the table for the championships that followed by establishing a culture of working hard to achieve desired results that teams must have to be successful.

If that happens and it’s passed down from team to team as the years go by, then you’ll have what you need to be successful, not only winning games, but creating an environment where success on and off the court is the norm and not the exception.

Courtside with Coach Edmonds will appear every Monday 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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