Coach John Goldsmith: Saving the Youth in His Community
I use basketball as a tool to save the youth in my community.”
“If your players know that you love them and you will go above and beyond for them, they will be different. They will give you everything they got.
Coach John Goldsmith did not start out right away as a coach. In fact, his first job was a teacher in Physical Education and Health at a school meant for “troubled kids”. During P.E. class, the kids would usually misbehave and get in trouble.
However, one day Coach Goldsmith thought it would be a good idea to have them play basketball. Little did he know, this was the sport that brought him and the students closer together and would save a lot of the kids’ lives.
His first coaching job in 2008 came as a result of what he did in P.E. class that day. In fact, he put together a basketball team from the students at the school that he taught. From there, he went to a school that was made up of only 6th graders and went 14-4. His coaching career blew up from there.
Before he knew it, he became known as the “Northern Louisiana Training guy” and coached the elementary team, middle school team, high school girls and boys at Lincoln Prep., and helped out at the local university with their girls’ team. While all of that was going on, he was also a full-time student.
Today’s All In Takeaways feature several stories of how Coach Goldsmith is able to use his abilities as a coach to save the youth in his community.
All In Takeaway #1: Your Favorite Coaching Job will not Necessarily be the Oldest Age Group
Even though Goldsmith has coached on every level except the professionals, his 6th grade team was his favorite. Why is this? Because they LOVED IT. In fact, one night when practice was over, one of the player’s asked, “Do I have to leave?” After giving it some thought, Coach Goldsmith told him that they can stay as long as they want. The team went on to practice until 10pm that night.
Although there were perhaps some frustrated parents who were waiting to pick up their kids from practice that night, it will be a time that the kids will never forget. Coaches, remember that the game of basketball is so much more than just the sport. Being spontaneous as a coach from time to time in terms of having a longer practice, treating your team to a home cooked meal, or something else, can have a lasting positive impact on the athletes that stretches beyond the game of basketball.
All In Takeaway #2: The Beauty of Discipline when having a Strong Team Culture
One of Coach Goldsmith’s favorite stories to share is when he was coaching an 8th grade AAU team. Anyways, they were preparing that night to go to Arkansas to play the Arkansas Wings, the #1 team in Arkansas and the 4th or 5th best team in the country. This is when Coach Goldsmith found out that one of his players posted on Facebook saying that he was going to beat up one of his teammates. Coach Goldsmith did not like this at all. Anyone who knows Coach Goldsmith, knows that there are certain things that you should not test him with. This instance, being one of them.
As a punishment, he had all of his players holding chairs, pencils, and running up and down a hill on their tip toes. Coach Goldsmith jokingly said, “they will never look at #2 pencils the same way in their life”. The assistant coach kept on asking Coach Goldsmith to take it easy on the players. Finally, Coach Goldsmith gave in and told the players to run back to the gym. This was when one of the players spoke up and said,
Nah, Coach. We have 10 more hills to do.
Coach Goldsmith looked at his assistant coach and nodded knowing that what just happened, proved the strong team culture he worked so hard to establish. When the players were told prior to the game how much the Arkansas Wings were beating the other teams by and were asked if they were scared, they responded, “nope.”
Coaches, you should strive to have such a strong team culture that even when your athletes are being disciplined, they understand it is out of love and it is with good intentions. At the end of the day, all of Coach Goldsmith’s athletes know that everything he does as a coach, is done out of love for his players.
Currently, Coach Goldsmith is the G.A. for the Grambling State Men’s Basketball team. It will be exciting to see how his love for basketball and his players transforms the lives adjacent to him.
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