Committed students coach feeder school basketball team

Committed students coach feeder school basketball team

Junior Barrett Fitzgerald coaches the Our Lady of Grace fifth and sixth grade boys’ basketball team

Rachel Frenz

David Nelson, Staff Writer

While most students spend their winter on the slopes or the ice, senior Jack Anderson and junior Barrett Fitzgerald will spend their winters on “the hardwood” coaching the fifth and sixth grade boys’ basketball teams at Our Lady of Grace School in Edina. This will be Anderson and Fitzgerald’s first year patrolling the sidelines as they help teach these kids the game of basketball.

Although this is his first year of coaching, Anderson’s years of basketball experience should help his team be successful. “I started playing when I was four and played until I was cut freshmen year. Then I decided to coach at Our Lady of Grace because I’ve wanted to coach there since I graduated from OLG,” said Anderson.

Fitzgerald, also a former basketball player, got into coaching because his little brother currently attends OLG. “My little brother Braeden is in sixth grade at OLG, and since I know all of his little basketball buddies, I thought it would be fun to coach him and his friends,” said Fitzgerald.

Though Fitzgerald has been enjoying his first ever coaching experience, practices also bring minor power struggles between coach and players. “There are a few kids that are just there to mess around. I don’t get mad at them, but it’s tough to balance teaching the less experienced kids while still improving the better players,” said Fitzgerald.

Anderson also has a large amount of inexperienced players and tries to make sure they learn and understand the basics. “We start off practice with a three man weave, then jump shots, and lay-up drills. Some of the kids haven’t played before, so I need to teach them the fundamentals,” said Anderson.

Players new to basketball can be difficult for any coach to deal with, especially when attempting to run plays during the game. “You can’t be too complicated in the plays. We won’t run too many motions, but we’ll have some pick-and-rolls and backdoor cuts,” said Anderson.

Fitzgerald and Anderson coached their first games this month and relished the experience. “It was fun to watch the kids play. We were winning with about five minutes left, but we had to put the backups in because our starters had to leave. Even though we lost, it was funny to see the mass chaos at the end,” said Fitzgerald.

For these upperclassmen, their initial coaching experience has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. However, neither of them are sure what their future holds in coaching. “I’m just doing this for fun right now, but maybe down the road I’ll coach youth sports,” said Fitzgerald.