Coach Atreyu Austin: Developing > Winning

Coach Atreyu Austin: Developing > Winning
May 30, 2022 | graham@allinteamsports.com | 6 min read

You have to have the ability to keep your composure, have good body language, and be able to take bad coaching at times. The athletes that are not willing to do those things, are the kids who will not see the most improvement.

Throughout high school, Coach Atreyu Austin always had a strong relationship with his high school coach, Coach Cory Jones. Even as he graduated high school in 2014 and moved on into college, he was still able to maintain this close connection. In fact, while he was in college Coach Cory Jones wanted him to come in during the summer and help. Specifically, he wanted him to help teach the kids different drills and moves since he was younger and could show a better example of how it should be done. 

After Coach Austin graduated college from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, he decided to get into skills training. As he started doing this, he noticed that the athletes he was able to train experienced significant improvement. So, Coach Austin decided to attend some of the games of the athletes that he was training to see how their skills were relating to real-game situations. 

After watching some his athletes’ games, Coach Austin was overcome with frustration and disappointment. Although his athletes were improving their skills and learning more moves, their coaches would not allow them to try it in the game. Instead, they were confined to the constraints of the coach’s traditional offense. For example, if they were a center, they would have to sit on the block the entire game. 

Consequently, in 2019 Coach Austin decided to develop his own travel basketball team, the Arkansas Lady Diamonds. This team was comprised of 7th and 8th grade girls. Coach Austin allowed his players to use the skills they have been working on in the games. The result has been tremendous as many of his athletes currently have college interest. 

Today’s All In Takeaways are around development, confidence, and roles.

All In Takeaway #1: Development is More Important than Winning in the Summer

Coach Austin has made it extremely clear with his Lady Diamonds the main objective of summer basketball. Although it would be great to win games, the first priority has to be the development of the team and individual players. Coach Austin does not pride himself on wins within their program, instead, it is about getting the athletes to the next level. 

One way Coach Austin does this is through having two practices a week strictly meant for developing the skills of his athletes. Coach Austin will ask his players what they think that they should be working on and go from there. At the end of the day, this is their offseason where they should be looking to take the next step in their basketball game. To all of the summer basketball coaches reading this, make sure you are not compromising development for wins. Let your players improve. Let your players try out what they have been working on throughout the summer. 

All In Takeaway #2: Confidence is Crucial in the Development Process

For athletes, Coach Austin believes that if you feel that you are the best player, that the work you are putting in is sufficient, that will go a long way in your journey towards developing your abilities on the court. Coach Austin is always encouraging his athletes to not focus on if they are starting or who is getting the most publicity. Instead, focus on your game and play your brand of basketball. 

All In Takeaway #3: The Importance of Roles

When Coach Austin started putting together the Lady Diamonds, he brought on girls from all over the state of Arkansas. When reaching out to girls, he always kept in mind the various roles that needed to be filled. That way, the players could all play to their gifts and be a start within their role. 

One of the most important elements of Coach Austin’s travel team is that he will only have a maximum of 10 players. That way, the rotation is simple with having 5 in and 5 out and everyone is able to get plenty of playing time. At the end of the day, how can someone be a start within their role if they are barely playing? Coach Austin is intentional about avoiding that possibility at all costs.

As a result of what Coach Austin has been able to do and currently does with his skills training and the Lady Diamonds, he was able to get the interest of Coach Sean Brown Sr from Frostburg State University’s Men’s Basketball Team. Last season, Coach Austin was brought on as the G.A. of the team! For this upcoming season, he will be the assistant coach. As Coach Austin looks to use his development-first mindset to help Frostburg State, it will be interesting to see how the team fairs in the 2022-2023 season. Go Bobcats! Go Lady Diamonds!

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