I reached out to a professional basketball organization that runs youth basketball camps. I wanted to come in and work as an apprentice, pay or no pay. My intention was to learn new methods and approaches to running basketball camps.
I disclosed my background. They heard me, but they really weren’t listening. My guess is they probably hear from a lot of shysters and wannabes, and as a result they don’t believe anyone.
Me reaching out to them went on for 2+ years. Then finally, out of nowhere, I received a phone call. This organization inquired to see if I was still interested in working their basketball camp. If so, I’d have to attend an orientation, and pay would not be guaranteed. I agreed!
I went through the process, waited, and then finally was approved to work their basketball camp. Camp day arrives. On the “surface”, I’m the most inexperienced camp coach. As such, I was given all the “low-level” assignments. I had to greet campers outside in the parking lot. I had to assist other coaches in running stations, instead having one of my own. During lunch, I had to watch the campers, and clean up after them. In fact, anytime any “grunt” work needed to be done, I was summoned.
At first, I took this a little personal. I knew, outside of the camp director, I had more experience then all the other coaches combined. Instead, I welcomed being the “grunt” guy! Each day, I arrived early to greet the campers. I looked forward to cleaning up after them at lunch. And, in general, I carried an energy that loved doing the “dirty” work!
As days progressed, the camp director started noticing me. In one instance, he walks up to me and says, “Coach Berry, I really appreciate your hard work. I’m going to see if I can get you paid!” I said, “No worries, I’m here to help you, and learn.”
On another instance, the same camp director says to me, “Coach Berry, have you ever considered running basketball camps as a career? I think you have what it takes!” I simply said, “Thank you for your kind words!” In my mind, I said, if you listened to me from the start, you would’ve been clued in.
During this experience, I felt like the Undercover Boss! I was a basketball training academy owner, whose purpose was to better understand how we could improve our own business. This was all while adding value to their camp.
From this experience, I picked up valuable tidbits that I now use at Youth Hoops Basketball Camps.