They say that coaching youth basketball is like herding cats. They are correct. Coaxing kittens out from under a carousel even. The movie Hoosiers teaches coaches that the best game plan is to search for Jimmy Chitwood, hence the visual reference. No doubt. The best defense is a good… assistant coach with a big, strong, fast, athletic second child. The reality though is that you probably are coaching kids that more closely resemble Ollie. You know, the kids that would rather smack each other in the Willie and tell poop jokes while taking water breaks. Sometimes that prankster is your kid too, regardless of how much you’ve cajoled, begged, or threatened him on the rides to practice. The variance in skills, knowledge, athleticism, and interest from one player to the next makes the experience of coaching kids one of the more fascinating social engineering experiments you will ever participate in. Did I mention the sheer joy of working with parents who knew nothing about basketball when it was time to sign up to coach yet amazingly developed into John Wooden by the first game day? Did I mention the rule changes from one age group to the next that keep you and the refs guessing? It is an amazingly rewarding experience when your effort works out. All it really takes in those first years is your kids learning to love the game – even if it makes you have to go to work for stress relief. One tip, trick, play or example of teamwork that you know translated directly from your clipboard to on court success is an amazing motivator. An assist thrown from the normal ball hog to the kid who hasn’t scored is like a crappy day of golf with a birdie on 18. You’ll be back – there is a glimmer of hope. If this is your first year, welcome to coaching, welcome to herding cats. Take my word for it, you aren’t the only one waking up in the middle of the night thinking about how to break down a defense of swarming germ droppers.