Every once in a while we'll listen to a basketball coach's press conference or radio interview, or read an article, and hear or see something that resonates across the barriers of the coaching profession.
According to Vaughts Views (who handles all things Kentucky Sports) John Calipari was speaking to a group of adults and parents at one of his basketball camps Monday about the importance of body language and used his son as an example.
Apparently coach Cal's son, Brad, had a sleepover at a friends house the night before an early morning basketball game. As you could probably guess, Brad showed up to the game with very little rest.
Calipari admits that he normally doesn't say a whole lot at his son's games, but Brad's body language was so negative that it had to be addressed.
“Now, I don’t say things at (his) games. I don’t speak one way or another. I’ve probably got a camera on me. I don’t say anything. But on that morning I got up, walked the baseline, his coach was done talking to him, I said, ‘Come here, son. You’re not going to have that kind of attitude on the court. I will take you immediately off the court.’"
Then Cal turned his attention to his high school coach told him that if his son ever showed that kind of body language on the court that he would personally go out there and embarrass everyone by dragging him off the court if he didn't take action first.
Then Cal dropped this nugget that really hit us.
“Body language screams; it never whispers."
"When a baby is hungry or is frustrated, what does it do? Screams and cries. Well, how about when a 13-year-old is frustrated or anxious? They cop an attitude, the body language goes bad. So then you have to figure out, ‘What is going on here, because you’re a good kid, and you’re acting like a knucklehead, and you’re not.’"
That's an excellent point and a very good analogy for both parents and coaches. Body language is something that most teenagers (and even some college kids) don't pay attention to. However, as coaches and administrators it can be the difference between landing a job and finishing runner up.
Getting kids to understand that their body language screams and never whispers will help prepare them on the field and beyond.