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  Culture Over the summer during my clinics...
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Culture
by Coach Wiese posted 11/11/2019

Culture

Over the summer during my clinics and camp, I witnessed some examples of bad attitudes by the girls.  Specifically, I saw far too much eye rolling and pouting. I was extremely disappointed to see how girls who have traditionally played A basketball treated other girls who have traditionally played B or C.  Of course, this is not every girl in the program or even a majority, but I think we can do better.  We need to do better as parents also.  In my clinics and camp most of the time was spent on teaching and practicing basketball fundamentals.  Therefore, I mixed girls up for these drills so that they did not stick together by perceived talent level.  This is where most of the eye rolling and pouting occurred.  This is also where I got complaints by parents who thought I had put their daughter in the wrong group.  When I am teaching fundamentals, it does not matter who else is in your daughter’s group. As adults we need to teach these girls to be better teammates, and by that, I mean be better to every other Eden Prairie player, not just those on her team.  We need to make sure these girls feel that they add value to this program regardless of their basketball skills.  I am not involved in the youth program just to coach “A” players; I want to have as many participants as possible, and as long as they are willing to learn I will be there to teach.  

Ok that was the preachy part of this post.  After I made these observations, I approached the EPGBA board about this culture issue.  It was decided that we form a Culture Committee to promote and reward the type of behavior we want to see program wide. We decided our three main values are Team First, Sportsmanship, and Attitude. Incorporated into those values are things like coachability, respect, and accountability.  The players need to listen to what coaches are teaching, do what coaches instruct them to do, respect their teammates, coaches, parents, opponents and officials, and take ownership of their mistakes instead of blaming others.  We want to be developing leaders in our program.

To reward the girls, Travel and In-House teams will be given five Spirit Awards. When a coach, assistant or manager sees a player go above and beyond exhibiting the values we have stated herein then she/he will give her a Spirit Award. The award will be a “Spirit Award” notecard along with a coupon to a food establishment. These are not participation awards, rather the girls need to truly earn them.  Not everyone will get one and the same girl can be rewarded multiple times.  At the end of the season there will be recognition and/or a prize for the player or players who receive the most awards. 

I am extremely excited about the Spirit Awards.  I do not believe our culture is necessarily any better or worse than any other youth program, but I feel we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.  Everyone benefits when we do.  We will win but we will do so with class, and when we lose, we will do so with dignity.

To commemorate the kick-off of the Spirit Award program and our focus on EPGBA culture, Freeziac, Eden Prairie's original self-service "live-culture" yogurt bar, is proud to host a special culture dine-out event. Visit Freeziac on Wednesday, December 4 from 1:00-9:00pm for a culture-filled treat and Freeziac will donate 25% of EPGBA patron revenues back to our program. Please remind your team of the Freeziac night. 

 
 
Coach's Corner
by Coach Ellen posted 10/22/2019
Welcome to my Coach’s Corner and my initial post! Thank you to EPGBA for allowing me a venue to communicate with all our youth families.  In case you did not already know I am Coach Wiese, the EP girls’ varsity basketball coach. I am entering my third year here at EPHS. Prior to coaching at EP, I coached a year as an assistant at University of St Thomas, 6 years at Orono HS as the varsity coach, and 3 years at Maple Grove as an assistant. In my spare time I practice law. I am a family law attorney with my own solo practice.  I also coach AAU with the MN Metro Stars. I will be giving you much more information about AAU in a later post so stay tuned.
 
I will be using this space to communicate all sorts of basketball information. I will keep you up to date on the high school program, on our Give & Go Mentoring program, AAU basketball, etc.  If there is anything you would like to hear from me, please let me know.  I have a huge passion for this program—both high school and youth.  I want to not only win games and state championships but develop girls at all levels of the sport. I want the youth program to emphasize fundamental basketball skills as well as the values of team first, sportsmanship and attitude. I have become more and more involved with the youth program over the years and I love what I am seeing. 
 
EPGBA hired Lawrence Barnes as our coaching director this year. To me this was a huge step for us. I have known Coach Lo for over 10 years and we have coached many teams together.  I completely trust him to help our youth coaches and players in the area of developing the fundamentals of the game. He and I will continue to work with the youth coaches to make sure they are teaching the fundamentals instead of only focusing on trying to win games. Let me be clear about what I mean by this: I do not want the youth teams playing zone defense. We need to teach our girls how to play person to person defense effectively. The girls are way too young to just throw them into a zone and then expect them to understand man principles later on. It is extremely rare to never that I play zone defense, so the youth need to be prepared for that. In the younger grades you could sit in a zone and probably effectively not allow your opponent to score because girls have not developed much of a shooting range yet. So, you probably could win games this way but at what cost? We need to teach them to play excellent man defense starting at the youngest levels. This is one example of what I mean by prioritizing teaching and coaching the fundamentals of the game over winning games. 
 
Look for another post soon on the newly formed Culture Committee and Spirit Awards!

Coach Ellen Wiese
ebwiese@aol.com