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Learning by Doing: Lessons on the Court

On Thursday after school, I was reminded of the importance of learning by doing and just how much it forces one to think on one’s feet, adapt to situations, be patient and ensure that one keeps a positive outlook despite things not going the right way.

This year, I am feeling very fortunate to be coaching basketball. Ms D’Angelo, my coaching partner, and I saw our girls experience their first league game- which for many was their very first game ever.

I loved our girls’ excitement, combined with their expressed nervousness. They were honest about how they felt heading into their game, with many unsure of what to expect. What they didn’t know was that I felt exactly the same way. I was nervous for our girls as they were facing their first game together against what looked like a seasoned team. While our girls had practiced, we’d had little time to go over much beyond the basic fundamentals of the game.

As I reflect on the game, I am reminded of the discomfort that learning in the moment can cause- particularly when things ‘count.’ It was challenging being on the sidelines and watching our girls as they struggled at first, trying to understand the game. As coaches, we could not do much other than encourage and teach from afar. However, with time, the girls settled into the game, and despite its ending with a very lopsided score, they finished as a stronger team and proud of their improvement.

The experience was a good reminder for me as much as for the girls to take things as they come, to persevere despite challenges, and to appreciate progress from start to finish.

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