Undercover boss

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.

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.