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My First Month as a Division 1 Assistant Basketball Coach

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

Wow, it's already been a month! The past 4 weeks have FLOWN by. Every week has brought about new priorities, challenges and opportunities to grow and learn in this new setting. Here is a quick breakdown of how each week has gone and my take aways so far!

Week 1 - The logistics...

My entire first week was spent doing countless zoom calls (due to covid) with HR administration and new employee requirement type stuff. All the things you would expect anytime you start a new job. At this point we only had 2 basketball workouts each week so it was kind of nice to not have to worry about missing practices or anything and just focus on getting all of the new employee work out of the way. Remember, this is my first real job and I'm 23 years old so I knew absolutely almost nothing about retirement accounts and different types of medical insurance/benefits... which they should definitely start teaching in schools...But anyway, let's get to the fun stuff...

Week 2 - Asking Questions and Learning The Do's & Dont's

So at the end of week 1 I passed my NCAA recruiting test so I was good to go in terms of now being able to communicate with high school players, be on home visits and do all the cool recruiting stuff! I remember being so excited after I passed my test and wanting to just start but within minutes I realized I didn't really know where or how to start. I had never seen any of the players that we are recruiting play in person and didn't have any idea about who they really were as people or players. So getting to know them would be the starting point! I literally bombarded our other assistant coaches with questions all week about what to say on the phone, how long the calls should be, how much do I talk about our program etc. All questions that are probably reasonable as a first time assistant with practically no recruiting experience to ask right? I am also the type of person that isn't afraid to ask questions and I am aware that there are so many things I don't know so figured it's better to ask than assume, especially in the beginning. A few of the tips I was given after speaking to a number of coaches, not just at my school... were as follows

1) BE YOU! Don't try to act super formal or be someone you're not. Let that personality be felt even through a phone call

2) Keep It Short & Sweet! High school kids are busy, and they are getting texts, calls, emails and letters on a daily basis, so remember that. Be empathetic to their schedule and don't force a long conversation, let it happen naturally. Some players will appreciate the fact that you are being considerate of their time and will actually be willing to make time for you in the future because of that.

3) DON'T OFFER ANYONE! It was funny when one of my coaching friends told me this haha....I thought it was obvious and had no intentions of offering a scholarship to a recruit as the last assistant but she wanted to make sure that I knew that this was reserved for the head coach, so for anyone reading who may not have known this, here you go!

4) Get a Sense of What They Are Looking For! This one has been huge for me as I am getting more comfortable talking to players from all over the world. In my first few calls I was hesitant to ask a player what exactly they were looking for or if our program is one they would be interested in, maybe because I feared the answer if they said no. Would it be awkward if they said no and the conversation just ended like that? Am I supposed to try and convince them otherwise? And are they just telling me they are interested to be nice? SO MANY QUESTIONS hahaha. But after I few weeks I totally get why you NEED to ask this question to get a sense of whether or not they are a good fit. If you're calling a kid on the west coast and you coach at a school on the east coast, one of the things that you should ask is whether or not they are willing to go to a college far away from home. You could waste weeks or months recruiting a player who lives on the other side of the country and if you didn't ask that question they just might be too nice to tell you the truth, so they just keep talking to you but have no intention of attending a school that far from their hometown.

Now take everything here with a grain of salt, these are just some basic pieces of advice I was given but I literally JUST started coaching and learning how to recruit. I will definitely revisit this entire article and especially this section at the end of the season and every year after that to give my thoughts as I get more experience. The one thing I can say is to ASK QUESTIONS! There are people that can and want to help you be better. Don't be afraid to admit what you don't know.

Week 3 - Film, Film and More Film

Alright, so before I made ANY calls, I made sure to watch some film on each prospect. To me, I would definitely feel unprepared calling a player before I've ever seen a highlight or any form of film because it would be hard to direct the conversation not knowing their general position and more importantly their skillset. So within weeks 2 and 3 I spent hours watching highlight tapes, full length game film and just researching the players that were already being recruited by us before I got hired. I'm getting better at understanding what I should be looking for, and that it's not all just about points and scoring but what are the little things that player is or isn't doing.

Week 4 - Creating Routines

Week 4 rolls around and I'm starting to get into a groove, not really lol, but at least in terms of my own schedule and carving out time throughout the day to schedule calls, watch film, watch practice and work on any other things that may need to get done. I feel like some days I'm SUPER productive whereas others the time just flies by and I'm like what did I get done today...It's cool though that no two days look exactly the same and that there is always something else that I could be doing at all times. Some days we will meet for 20-30 minutes to discuss something, other days it could literally be two hours.... so being flexible and able to adapt is something that I've always been decent at, probably because I'm not naturally an organized person. I've always been more go with the flow and spontaneous which in this case can work for or against me. Actually writing things down the night before has been HUGE and kept me somewhat together in terms of not missing zoom meetings, phone calls and responding to emails in a timely manner.

I wake up between 5:15 and 6:00 am to get a morning workout, which I love because it just gets the day going, then I head into work between 7:45 - 8:15 and get on the court or watch film individually with our players. We practice around 9:30 and finish up around 11:30. After that we usually will chat as a staff and reflect on practice. By 1pm or so I'll start watching film, talking social media, recruiting content ideas with my our manager Rachel and be on and off the phones depending on the day. I usually head home between 4:30 and 5:30 where I'll make some dinner, sometimes take a nap lol, and then start watching and editing practice. I also have my own podcast and YouTube Channel so I will usually do some stuff for those as well at night before I head to bed NO LATER than 11pm.

Well that was a lot I know, but I didn't want to leave anything out in these first few exciting weeks! I hope it helps any one looking to get into coaching or even someone who just wants to follow along the journey. I'll try and be more consistent but expect a monthly post just like this one with all the updates and everything I'm learning. I am the busiest I've been in a long time but also the most fulfilled and couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity I have been given.

Month 1 Reflection

Jen Fay


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