Know thyself

It was 1997. I had just become a corporate instructor at Hewlett-Packard in Paramus, NJ.

The onboarding process was to study class materials, and then mirror other experienced instructors. Afterwards, I’d be on my own. That’s exactly what I did.

Three months passed. I’m now delivering classes myself. As taught to me by other instructors, I’m mimicking what I saw. My approach was extremely “corporate”. I was very formal, had no humor and was by the book. In other words, I was putting students to sleep!

When classes ended, I was receiving good and bad feedback. I can handle bad feedback, but it’s tougher to handle it when you know you were trying to be someone else! That’s painful!

After a few classes, I met with my manager, Rick Butterworth. I told Rick I was struggling trying to be someone else. Rick stopped me, and what he said next changed the course of my professional life. He said, “John, I want you to deliver the class in whatever way you see fit. Just be sure you’re meeting the objectives of the class.” Bingo!

When Rick gave me the green light to be thyself, I created this concept called “edutainment”! It’s the combination of an instructor, comedian and pastor. The instructor taught the class content. The comedian made class fun. And the pastor brought conviction!

This revolutionized my professional career, and I’ve gone on to have great success!

At Youth Hoops Basketball Camps, we use the concept of “edutainment”, as well! When teaching kids a basketball skill or technique, we use high-level corporate teaching tactics. To make class fun, we act as comedians. To help kids develop a passion for basketball (or anything in life), we speak with the conviction of a pastor.

Just knowing the kids are the biggest beneficiaries fills my heart!

Many of our campers have gone on to play on recreational, travel, AAU, middle school, high school and college basketball teams. In addition, they have become top academic students in their respective classes.

About the author 

Coach Berry

John Berry (a.k.a. Coach Berry) has been a basketball coach and skill development trainer since 1993 and has coached hundreds of games and instructed 1,000’s of kids. Coach Berry is, and always has been committed to helping youth in life and on the basketball court.