Coach Gene

Posted By: Gene Williams
Posted On: November 15th, 2016
Attending: NUI Galway

With today being November 15th, I’ve been in Ireland for nearly three months. To say that time has flown by since arriving in late August would be an understatement. In my quick three months here, I can already see the impact I’m having on the local basketball community, in particular through coaching at the Titans Youth Academy. ‘Academy’, as we call it, is a three-hour session every Saturday morning split into two 90-minute parts where I coach kids ranging from ages 4-11. At first, the sessions were tough since half the battle was teaching the younger kids how to listen and stay with the group, not run off to the corner and eat their boogers. Since those first few weeks, there’s been a consistent core of kids that come for the sessions and I’ve been able to watch them develop. They went from not being able to dribble to being able to put the ball through the legs (sort of) and they even learned how to properly shoot a basketball. It might not seem like a lot, but when you consider the age of the kids combined with the fact that Irish kids are not brought up with the game of basketball like American kids, it’s a pretty big feat.


Besides of all the fundamental tools that I’ve taught them, the biggest achievement thus far is getting the kids to have fun while developing their skills. Every week now, they’ll run into the gym and ask “when are we playing dribble knockout?!?!”, which is a simple game that helps them learn ball handling skills. It makes it much easier for me knowing that they have fun while simultaneously learning the fundamentals. At the end of the day, as long as they’re having fun and picking up on basketball skills in the meantime, then I have accomplished my goal.


To some, waking up early on a Saturday morning to coach young kids might seem like a chore. But having played basketball for as long as I can remember, there have always been coaches in my life that were willing to help me at every stage of my basketball career. Whether it was grade school, high school, or college, I’ve had people in my corner that were willing to teach me the game. With that in mind, it makes my job of coaching the kids at Academy every Saturday morning that much easier. I enjoy being there and teaching them the game of basketball because I understand how impactful it can be on a young person’s life.

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