Now that North Carolina has been crowned Champions of this year's men's basketball tournament, we thought we'd post a recap. Even if you feel like last night's game was a bit dull, there is still plenty to be learned from the tournament that can be applied to coaching in youth sports.
1. Be patient
A lot of attention is focused on recruiting and the "one-and-done" players in college basketball. While North Carolina certainly is landing top recruiting classes, the success they've had the last two years has been due to devloping key players over sevearal years. The coaching staff has been particularly patient with senior Kennedy Meeks, who turned into one of the most outstanding players in the tournament this year.
Although Xavier was one of this year's biggest underdog stories, some forget they were a preseason Top-10 team. The coaching staff stayed patient all year even after a 6-game losing streak in the middle of the season. One of the last teams selected to the tournament came together at the right time and nearly made a run to the Final Four while Trevon Bluiett became one of the most exciting players to watch.
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
It's easy to get frustrated when your team doesn't progress as quickly as you want, especially when the season is only a few months long. But, patience with players in is critical at every level. Take your time, make sure the players are having fun, and don't get frustrated if a few players don't immediately pick up on your fancy new offense or defensive scheme.
2. Save a dadgum timeout!
Alright, this is more of just a general frustration after watching a few teams run around confused as time ticked off the clock, behind by 1 or two points. Anyone else notice that? Roy Williams has annoyed some North Carolina fans in the past by not using his dadgum timeouts, but this year he seemed like he had it under control en route to the National Championship.
If you're coaching, make sure you save a timeout juuuuust in case you need one. Whille letting the players improvise and use their creativity is certainly one of the most valuable lessons to be gained from youth sports, having a timeout in your back pocket can let your team regroup if they need it, or give encouragement to one another in the final few minutes.
3. Everyone can contribute
This is a bit cliché, but remember that everyone on the team can contribute. See below for last night's box score to notice both coaches using 8 or 9 players in a game when postgame fatigue was irrelevant. It's not uncommon to see just 6 or 7 players used in a college basketball game, but the most successful teams were able to get siginificant contributions from 9 or 10.
North Carolina even had a sophomore walk-on make the game winning shot against Kentucky in the Elite Eight.
Whether you're coaching 5-year olds or 16-year olds, a select team or rec team, remember that everyone on the team can certainly make a contribution to move the group forward.
Moving forward to your next season...
Focus on a bit more patience, conserve your timeouts, and work to get everyone on the team more involved and see if you notice any results. You might be dancing like Roy Williams soon.
Any other takeaways from this year's tournament? Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below!