I heard basketballs bouncing outside when I was writing this week. Kids were shooting baskets in our front yard. (Not my kids, but not an uncommon occurrence since we put a basketball hoop in our front yard two years ago). I heard my husband say, “You should be using your left hand on the left side,” before he walked in the house on his way home from work.
I gave him a kiss and then headed to the door. I couldn’t let it go. (No longer a high school coach, but always a coach.) I lined up all three boys on a seam in the concrete. “Ok, pretend you’ve got a string attached from your left knee up to your elbow.” I lifted my arm and brought up my knee. “Like a puppet.” I explained some more. I had them do it with me ten times. They looked at me like I was a crazy, but they obliged me with some puppetry.
“Now let’s try a couple at the basket.” Of course they all ran back about ten yards to get a run at the hoop and I had to corral them in. I would make this a short lesson, I would have plenty more chances to follow-up. “Right here guys. One step from the basket.” I said. “Step with your right, and then go up with your left hand and left knee.” They tried. It was awkward. They missed shots. They didn’t like it.
“That looks great!” I said. Once again they looked at me like I was crazy. “Now every day that you’re on this court I expect you to practice a left-handed lay-in at least ten times. Okay?” I received some hesitant nods and some eye rolling. “I’m not kidding.” I said and then walked back into the house with a smile.
The next day I poked my head out the door when I heard a ball bouncing and there was one of the boys practicing his left-handed lay-in. I caught his attention and gave him a thumbs up.
Sometimes kids take in what you do and say even if it may not seem like it. You never know who might be listening.