Playing in Position

Coach Kory Byrd during a 2010 season game

Coach Kory Byrd during a 2010 season game

Starting next week, the Cherokee Creek Boys School Bears will play their first game of the 2011 Basketball season. Head coach Kory Byrd has been practicing with the team for the past few weeks, and the players have come a long way in their skills and understanding of the game – it will be an exciting season to be sure – Go Bears!

 In addition to new skills, the team has been learning the importance of drawing the opposition’s defense out of position. Coach Byrd has been working with the team on many different passing drills. Some are designed to help the Bears break a “trap” set by the other team, some to move the ball up the court, and some to pass the ball in from out-of-bounds.

One drill in particular has caught my attention this year. When the Bears are trying to score a basket, they take time to “work the ball,” which means pass it from player to player around the perimeter of the defense. The purpose of all these passes is not so much to look for an open player – as I have thought for many years – but rather to try and draw the defense out of position. Once the other team’s defender has been caught out of position, one of ours will be open, and we get an unguarded opportunity to score!

On the other end of the court, Coach Byrd works with our middle school boys on their defense. We play a zone defense and Coach Byrd is keen on seeing that we don’t get “drawn out of position.”  Many of our players are first-timers in organized basketball, and our coach teaches them the boundaries of their positions, over and over again. He tells me that by the time the season starts, their boundaries and positioning on the court will be habit, and that’s when we will really start playing good defense.

Think with me for a moment about the concepts of “boundaries” and “defenses” that our award-winning coach Byrd is teaching our students and how his lessons on the basketball court can help us too!  We all have “defenses” that we build up through experience and over time.

Some of those defenses may be very helpful, like not taking an insult personally. Good defenses generally involve practicing good boundaries – which keep us in position – or “centered” – and help protect us. As long as we practice good boundaries we won’t be caught off balance, and we can better guard what we value.

Other defenses don’t serve us so well. For example, you may chose to say nothing or give in to something you don’t want to do, in order to protect yourself from the fallout of saying “no.”  Playing “out of position,” or with poor boundaries exposes the things we value – like our integrity – to failure.

Knowing that practicing good boundaries and “playing in position” will help us play much better, the challenge is to find those areas where we have been “drawn out of position” and move back within our boundaries!

I hope you all can come and watch our students play this season. I am already proud of the work they have done learning their positions, and can’t wait to see them put their lessons about good boundaries into practice! Thanks to Head Coach Byrd and his assistant coaches, Yanic McDowell and Jachin Wettstone, for teaching all the basketball skills and “real and true” life lessons to the students of Cherokee Creek Boys School!


Cherokee Creek Boys School is a therapeutic boarding school for middle-school boys, ages 11-15, located in Upstate South Carolina.

posted by jleslie in Discovering What is Real and True and have Comments (3)