More high school basketball coaches should take advantage of annual clinic

The Maine Association of Basketball Coaches’ board is seeking reasons for declining attendance at its annual fall clinic.

I attended this year’s clinic on Nov. 8 at Husson University in Bangor. There were only 25 of the approximate 200 members in attendance, just 12.5 percent of the membership.

There are approximately 288 varsity boys and girls basketball teams in Maine,

The low attendance has been an ongoing problem for the past several years.

The board is thinking about sending out a questionnaire, asking members why they didn’t attend.

This should be done and would be a big step in the right direction in improving attendance.

I was a MABC member in the five decades that I was coaching and an Eastern representative on the board for many years. We also had to work hard to get the attendance we wanted.

However, this year was extremely frustrating for the MABC’s leaders as they worked hard to put on a valuable weekend. They conducted a business meeting Friday night, with a meal, and three experienced coaches spoke from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

The costs to members was $25, $40 for nonmembers.

Some of the reasons for the low attendance may have dealt with some specific issues such as the cost, the location, schedule conflicts and the ongoing high school soccer and football playoffs.

Other reasons may evolve around an increasing apathy shown by high school basketball coaches. Some get coaching advice and tips through the Internet and some others are too heavily influenced by watching how the game of basketball is played by NCAA Division I and NBA teams where skills trump fundamentals.

Other coaches may not attend the clinic because they feel their coaching repertoires are already full while some others are not teachers and don’t understand the educational value of  how meetings and clinics lead to self-improvement.

Here are several ideas to improve attendance to the coaches clinic:

— Send questionnaires to athletic directors. Ask for the questionnaires to be given to the coaches and then returned to the ADs, who read the info and pass it on to the MABC board.

— Ask the Maine Principals’ Association to make attendance a requirement just like the one in place that requires coaches to attend a basketball officials clinic to be eligible to coach for the upcoming season.

— Hold the clinic on Saturday-Sunday or just on Sunday.

— Hold the clinic on the Thursday-Friday mornings of the Eastern Class B-C-D Tournament as Bangor is centrally located and many coaches are in town for the tourney.

— Encourage coaches’ administrators to require their coaches to attend the clinic and have schools pay for it.

I felt I got something out of each MABC clinic. Over the years they have been held in Brunswick, Waterville, Bangor, South Portland, and Gorham.

It is similar to the benefits a coach receives from scouting or their team playing in a game. When a team would run a successful out-of-bounds play against us, we would then put it in our system and called it that school’s name.

We would yell out the name of the school when we wanted to run that play. We also would run it against the school team we got it from if we played them and sometimes it worked successfully. This gives credit where credit is due and enables coaches to take advantage of broadening their knowledge of the game.

We can always learn something new about the game, but when we are no longer willing to do so then maybe it is time to resign..