SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Required Reading for Parents Whose Kids Play on a Team

Frank Sciolla is the very successful basketball coach of Pennsbury High School, which is located in Bucks County, about 30 miles outside Philadelphia. Among his former players are Torrian Jones, who played guard for Notre Dame, and Lavoy Allen, who is a freshman and has started at center for Temple. Among his current players is a national recruit, a 6'5" guard named Dalton Pepper. Pennsbury currently is ranked in the top 5 in the Philadelphia area by The Philadelphia Inquirer and second in the state by the Harrisburg newspaper.

I don't know Coach Sciolla, but I do read his columns in the Bucks County Courier and also know that during many Saturdays during the basketball season, his team and the girls' team conduct clinics for the kids who play youth basketball in the community, and the clinics draw universal praise. The columns, too, are a particular treat, channeling wisdom that I'm sure, in part, has been passed down to young coaches by the likes of John Wooden and Dean Smith, gentlemen who coached with a firm if not authoritarian hand.

This particular column is required reading for those of you with kids on teams and who wonder why your kids don't get more playing time. I read it the other day and meant to post it immediately, because most of you don't read this newspaper and haven't heard of Coach Sciolla. What he writes, though, is instructive -- it isn't easy at all for coaches to make decisions about playing time. Read the whole thing and let me know what you think, and if you're looking for more coaching wisdom, go to www.phillyburbs.com, plug "Frank Sciolla" into the search engine and sift through his old columns. You'll be glad you did.

It's great to see a thoughtful, well-prepared coach who shows humility and realizes that he is in the great position, as part of his vocation as a high-school teacher, to coach a kids' game at a very high level. The perspective he displays is great, and we should consider ourselves fortunate that there are coaches like him out there.

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