Coach Blake Cochran: Be Where Your Feet Are
Everyone has struggles, but you have to make the most of where you are at.
Life has not always been easy for Coach Blake Cochran. In fact, he had a rough childhood as for the most part, it was only him and his mom. However, he is extremely grateful for the help that he received from his grandparents and friends.
Coach Cochran knew for a long time that he wanted to be a basketball coach one day. Ultimately, he thought that coaching would be a great way to give back, help athletes, and build relationships. Coach Cochran was so intentional about coaching one day that his college decision for where he was going to play basketball, was heavily weighed by whether he would be able to get a graduate assistant position at the college after he was done playing.
After much thought, Coach Cochran started his collegiate career playing at Northwestern Oklahoma State. In his first 2 seasons, he was able to start and enjoyed much success on the court. After his second season, the Head Coach was asked to leave. As a result, Coach Cochran decided to transfer to McMurry University to finish the remaining 2 years of his collegiate career. After graduation, he was the assistant at McMurry for 1 season.
Coach Cochran has only been coaching for 6 years but has moved up rapidly throughout the levels of basketball. During the past two seasons, he coached at Northwestern State University. In his first year there he was the player development coach and in his second he was the assistant coach. On top of that, he was also the head coach at an AAU program and the head coach of the JV program at NSU. This past season, Coach Cochran found out that he was the 5th youngest assistant coach on the Division 1 level!
Today’s All In Takeaways are around two keys to moving up in coaching, caring for the mental health of your athletes, and building team culture.
All In Takeaway #1: Two Keys in Moving Up to the Next Level in Coaching
In Coach Cochran’s interview with All In Team Sports, he was able to share two keys in moving up to the next level in coaching. The first key is being where your feet are. This is not just physically but also mentally. Coach Cochran has heard of way too many coaches where halfway through the season, they are already looking for the next opportunity. Coaches, make the most of every opportunity and realize that you can make an impact within ANY program. Be available for your athletes and pour into them.
The second key is knowing that whatever coaching staff you are on, there are always going to be areas where you can make an impact. This is one of the reasons Coach Cochran was able to make an immediate impact when he started out as the player development coach at Northwestern State. Coach Cochran noticed that they did not have a strength coach, social media presence, or video coordinator. Thus, he used his strengths to fill in the gaps and earn the trust of his head coach. Ultimately, this is a huge reason why he was able to move up to being the assistant in the very next season.
All In Takeaway #2: Caring for the Mental Health of Your Athletes
One of the core reasons Coach Cochran wanted to get into coaching, is so that he can be there for his athletes. One of the stories he shared was when he coached on the junior college level. On this team, he had a player who had twins back home and struggled with the negative thoughts of not being there for his kids.
Knowing the situation, Coach Cochran would constantly do everything that he could to let him know how much he could help his family if he is able to graduate with a degree. If people like Coach Cochran were not in this athlete’s life, things could have easily gone the wrong way and maybe he would have even dropped out. Coaches, it is stories like this that should make you excited about coaching basketball. Being a real basketball coach, stretches far beyond your success on the court.
All In Takeaway #3: Creating Team Culture through Giving Your Athletes a Voice
All too often, coaches want to do everything themselves, which eventually fails. Instead, Coach Cochran takes a different approach. One of the first things he will do for his athletes is let them know that they have value and a voice within the program. Coach Cochran has learned to slowly give his athletes more and more responsibility as the season goes on. This allows them to be accountable for their actions. Since you will not be able to play with them during the games, you might as well give them responsibility during practice, scrimmages, and other situations. Coaches, you do not need to carry the entire weight on your shoulders. Learn to delegate responsibility and instill trust within your athletes.
Just recently, Coach Cochran accepted the Head Men’s Basketball position at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas. As the new Head Coach of the Greyhounds, he looks to help bring the team into championship contention. Go Greyhounds!
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