Coach Larry McKenzie of Minneapolis North High School: National Sports Contributor – Hoop Stars Media “Sideline to Online. We Do Hoops”

Coach Larry McKenzie: 

What Coaching has taught Me!

Coach Larry McKenzie speaking at a leadership conference.

Coach McKenzie sharing his knowledge on leadership!

I don’t think anyone would be surprised that I personally feel akin to the Last Dance and Michael Jordan, infatuated with his extraordinary ability to lead, execute and win.  No surprises that I feel connected to “Zen Master” Phil Jackson and his different approach towards coaching,  as one of my mantra is: “Being Different is The Difference “ and I think my assistant ‘s and player’s  would say that Coach McKenzie is a little different.

In sports and particularly basketball, we have a saying: “pressure can burst pipes”.  In my opinion, this coronavirus has exposed that we have a major leadership issue locally, nationally and globally.   As I watched and reflected on what I’ve learned about my leadership, I have been pleased on how much athletics and coaching has been an asset in my leadership development and my growth as a person.  At times I have been befuddled watching how leaders’ trip over themselves regarding decision making , whether it’s been education, healthcare, economics or a number of issues that have arisen in this moment of crisis. Their decision making has often created more fear and anxieties, then provide answers for those they serve.

Coach Larry McKenzie breaking it down with Coaches talk!

It made me think about coaching and how every day I had to deal with adversaries and had to adapt on the drop of time.  It really made me think how sports prepare you for leadership.  I most certainly know that a basketball is not a life and death matter, but the skills needed to be an effective leader certainly come into play.  In a moment of crisis, people look to leaders for guidance, they want to know what to do, what to expect and how to act.  They want a voice they can trust and someone with a plan. Sounds like coaching to me.

I thought about some of things required as a coach and what I’ve learned over the years.  

 I put together a list of Coaches musts:

  • Have short memories and be ready to bounce back regardless of wins or losses.
  • We must be effective communicators; in the heat of the moment one cannot afford miscommunication.
  • Every practice and every game you require that you have a plan. You can’t be effective or affective not knowing what you want to accomplish.
  • Your plan must be organized and must make sense to those with whom you are communicating.
  • It requires innovation. You must be able to take something old and make it look and sound new.
  • You must be a facilitator and get a group of individuals to work as a team, The “We Over Me.”
  • You must be a foundation of knowledge for all of those which you are leading.
  • You must know when to be a General and when to be an advisor.
  • You must have the ability to stay calm during chaos.
  • People need to know that they can trust you.
  • You must be a Real Model and a Role Model.
  • You must be the source of stability and consistency.
  • You must have the ability to teach and instruct.
  • You must be able to be both friend and foe.
  • You must be able to inspire and motivate.


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