Lakewood Family YMCA
It is proven that your very best ability is your availability. For Meredith Russell, this statement appropriately fits her story. Meredith is a volunteer basketball coach at our Lakewood Family YMCA and has been a member for the last two years. Originally, she came to the Y to work out and get her son involved in sports. Naturally whatever her son is involved in she would like to be involved in as well. As a single mother, it’s important for her to be present in her son’s life no matter the circumstances.
Getting her son involved in basketball was the first step, upon hearing from Kaitlin (Youth Sports Director) the need for a coach she volunteered at the chance to become more involved especially since she had the availability and was already here for her son. The beauty of this situation is that Meredith took a chance knowing that she had no prior basketball or coaching experience. But that definitely did not stop her. As with anything in life if you want to get better at something you need to learn how to do it. She was introduced to some helpful resources where she could study and learn through instructional videos. This provided Meredith with lessons plans that she could take to her practices.
There have been obviously growing pains in coaching 5-6th graders, especially when their knowledge is consistently growing and their strong/fun loving personalities are blooming. Meredith has experienced frustration with feeling as if she is not able to help or improve the kid’s skills based on the fact that she has lacked experience in basketball. But what she feels is her greatest asset is what sets her apart from others. That is her ability to build teams through relationships and caring for others. Giving positive affirmation is a great tool in improving the confidence in the kids as well as the team as a whole.
One of her greatest wins have come recently, she had signed up for 5 mile run in Seattle months in advance. She did not realize that that run happened to be the same day as a basketball game. Instead of canceling either, Meredith called the race organization and asked to start the race at 7am even if it meant she would not be with the rest of the runners. After the race, driving straight from Seattle back Lakewood she made it in time for the basketball game at 10am.
For Meredith, Lakewood is a family orientated community and it is important that we invest in these kids because they are the future leaders in the community. Coaching is more than x’s and o’s, it’s about these kids, It’s being there for them, supporting whether we win or lose. Everybody wants to win but in her eyes “We’re winning by just being here”.