Basketball player driving for a layup

Coach Reginald Brooks: Never Give Up

Coach Reginald Brooks: Never Give Up
May 27, 2022 | | 7 min read

My whole mentality is to NEVER give up. Like never. We can be down 20 in the second quarter, and I am rallying my team together. We never give up. I also believe in knowing that anything is possible. I believe in hard work and grinding. I am the guy that is going to be in the gym at 6am. Now when I coach, I have guys working out at 6am multiple times a week. The last things is, I am not afraid of anything. When you are on the court, you are not afraid of anyone. You should want to guard the best player and have the ball at the end of the game. Having that dog mentality.

Towards the end of his high school career, Coach Brooks did not have any offers or interest from any schools. His high school coach was able to contact 3 schools to set up workouts. Coach Brooks and his high school coach were under the impression that the schools would call them but no one had. In total, coach Brooks only had 4 workouts, 3 were JUCO and 1 was an exposure camp. After 2 of the JUCO workouts and the 1 exposure camp, Coach Brooks still did not have any interest. 

Coach Brooks went into his last workout with Coach Joel Wooten from Southeast Community College. He was able to get connected with him through his high school coach and set up a last-minute workout on his graduation day. Thankfully, Coach Wooten was impressed with Coach Brooks abilities and offered him on the spot. Coach Brooks picked up his first and only offer on the day of his high school graduation. 

His first season there, was the definition of a roller coaster. In the first season, he barely received any minutes at all and was sitting on the bench. This is when he had two options:

Option 1: Give up. 

Option 2: Work even harder. 

Can you guess which option he chose? If you guessed option 2, you are correct. After his freshman year of college, a life changing moment happened for him. His grandfather passed away two days after he came home for summer break. This motivated him to work hard all summer and to do everything in remembrance of his grandfather. 

During his second year at Southeast Community College, he won the Defensive Player of the Year and was First Team All-Academic. Towards the end of his sophomore season at Southeast Community College, his coach contacted multiple schools on his behalf, trying to get Coach Brooks an offer. To take advantage of the opportunity, Coach Brooks went ahead and contacted as many schools as he could through email and phone calls in order to put himself in the best position possible. This led to interest from New York Institute of Technology, where the head coach there told him that they needed a,

Glue guy. Somebody who is willing to come in and get rebounds and do the dirty work.

Although Coach Brooks was not the best player on the team, he was able to receive a full-ride through a combination of an athletic and academic scholarship to play at New York Institute of Technology. After his collegiate career came to an end, he was even able to play professionally overseas for a while. 

Once Coach Brooks athletic career officially came to an end, he knew that he wanted to get into coaching. More importantly, he wanted to give back and help the kids in his community. Thankfully, prior to the 2015-2016 season, his high school coach contacted him, asking if he would be interested in coaching. This led to the beginning of what has been thus far, a successful coaching career for Coach Brooks.

Today’s All In Takeaways are around hard work and developing raw talent. 

All In Takeaway #1: Allow your Athletes to Internalize their Work Ethic

In speaking about the importance of hard work, Coach Brooks was able to share a story of one of his former players. In fact, he was able to coach this player from 8th to 10th grade. In 8th and 9th grade, he hardly played. Finally, at the end of 9th grade, he walked up to Coach brooks and said, 

Hey coach, I figured out why I do not play….I do not work hard enough.

Coach Brooks was shocked at the awareness this player had in recognizing his work ethic. After further conversation, Coach Brooks decided to train him throughout the summer. Even though he did not play much his sophomore year, he told Coach Brooks that he wanted to take one of the starter’s spots on varsity the following year. 

After much hard work he was able to play significant minutes his junior year and had an incredible senior season. He went on to play for the same JUCO program that Coach Brooks played at. Coaches, although you can let the athlete know of their poor habits, it is up to the athlete to internalize their habits in order for REAL change to happen. 

All In Takeaway #2: Developing Raw Talent One Step at a Time

Patience for the coach and having a plan. Also, constantly showing them the progress that they have made, every month or so.

These were the keys that Coach Brooks outlined when it came to developing raw talent. A story he shared was of a player who when he started working out with him, he could not even dribble the ball in a straight line for 5 dribbles. However, Coach Brooks could see his passion and could tell that he had a lot of raw talent. 

So, Coach Brooks simply broke down a master plan into small obtainable goals. He was going to master footwork first, then shooting, then moving, then ball handling, then combo moves, then shooting off the dribble, and so on, one step at a time. His plan was to start with building a good foundation first and building from that. 

One unique thing that Coach Brooks would do during his workouts when this athlete would take a break, is show him film of the different things he should be focusing on. He got this idea from Damian Lillard’s trainer. Before he knew it, this athlete started to incorporate the moves they worked on in real games and blossomed into an incredible basketball player. 

Currently, Coach Brooks is the Assistant Varsity Men’s Basketball Coach at LaGrange High School. During this past season, the team went 21-7 after going 18-10 the season prior. Coach Brooks gives a lot of credit to the strong team culture that the team was able to build. As Coach Brooks and LaGrange head into the 2022-2023 season, it will be exciting to see if they are able to beat their previous season’s record yet again. Go LaGrange!

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