We share the following inspirational basketball coaching concepts from Forrest C. “Phog” Allen’s book, My Basket-Ball Bible. Written in 1924, this book and Allen’s ideas are still relevant today. I love learning from those who have come before us!
Inspirational Coaching: Compensations
Never lose sight of your opportunity to direct by personal example, not only the habits of your men, but their reflected habits in a vast coterie of boy-worshipers. Always strive to be worthy of the trust imposed upon you. In the mind of the boy, if a coach does a thing, it is all right, and if a star player does the same thing, it is better still.
Let no night be too dark; no task too for-bidding; and no hour too late; for you who are out to make good, to go to your men if they need you. Willing and whole-hearted service will bring to you some of the best in compensations.
“Give to the world the best you’ve got, and the best will come back to you.”
This is’ the truest message I can leave with you who are young in the game as coaches, or as players who may enter the coaching field.
Give Your All: No matter how your season goes, give your all—your best. Keep a stiff upper lip when discouragement palls, “and the best will come back to you.”
Your Profession and Its Promise: Your profession holds little of gold or fame. True, if you win, you are a prince; if you lose, a pauper; but, at best, an “in and outer” who with average success has a means of making an honest living.
Finding Your Way: But a coach to the manner born should find no discouragement in this. Steady, persistent, willing service while finding your way will bring you at last to an enlarged horizon where the reach of your vision will be from the hilltop instead of toward it.
Your Vision Must Abide: Your vision must abide in rough going, else you cannot be to your players an inspiration. You must, time and time again, meet the knocker and hand him a knock-out wallop. Be always “up and at ’em” with the vision more in command. Your vision should be a sacrifice of love for your profession and for the opportunities that it offers in dealing with young men.
If Your Team Is Beaten: If your team is beaten some times, as all teams are, and you know that they have given their all; be kinder to them than usual. See that they have a splendid meal in a pleasant place. In every way show them that you are satisfied. It is not only their victory that you want; ‘it is their respect and their best. Next time, you will get it.
The Satisfaction of a Handclasp Down the Years: The satisfaction of a handclasp of a friend, here and there down the years, when season after season is finished, is compensation enough. To have a man who has made good tell you (years after you thought that he had forgotten) that he would have quit many a time on an uphill grade if there had not flashed through his mind some of the never-quit athletic “pep” talks of other years, brings more comfort than does gold. To have been able to aid a man in forcing his will to obey, makes the game worth while.
Gold Does Not Measure the Best in Life: Education teaches us not to measure the best things of life by the standard of gold. The true coach must throw into his work an eager sacrifice for which no school can pay in cash. At each commencement time, you will watch your players—the men you have learned, to love—go out by graduation. Never get calloused nor indifferent toward the passing of these men who stand at this time, “happy because life’s mysterious adventure is before them, sad because they are leaving something beautiful behind.” For they are your concrete results. Out of these associations will grow deep and tender affections, not unlike the love of sons for a father who has been wise and kind.
In the After While: After the fretfulness of these zestful years of desire to win and dread to lose have passed away, your experiences as a coach will mellow and will strengthen your philosophy; and you, a veteran in the game, will desire to drift into serene maturity with the fruits of these deep affections that you have fostered along the way, as your truest satisfaction. These will be your compensations. The rest, the games you have played—the games you have lost, and the games you have won—will be as a dream.
Forrest Clare “Phog” Allen (November 18, 1885 – September 16, 1974) was an American basketball and baseball player, coach of American football, basketball, and baseball, college athletics administrator, and osteopathic physician. Known as the “Father of Basketball Coaching,” he served as the head basketball coach at Baker University (1905–1908), the University of Kansas (1907–1909, 1919–1956), Haskell Institute—now Haskell Indian Nations University (1908–1909), and Warrensburg Teachers College—now the University of Central Missouri (1912–1919), compiling a career college basketball record of 746–264. In his 39 seasons at the helm of the Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball program, his teams won 24 conference championships and three national titles. The Helms Athletic Foundation retroactively recognized Allen’s 1921–22 and 1922–23 Kansas teams as national champions. Allen’s 1951–52 squad won the 1952 NCAA Tournament and his Jayhawks were runners-up in the NCAA Tournament in 1940 and 1953. His 590 wins are the most of any coach in the storied history of the Kansas basketball program. [source: Wikipedia]