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Little things ...

You don't really know how good a coach is until you have been around him awhile and seen all the little things he does or doesn't do in preparing for practices and games.

Who was it who once said, "It's just a bell that now and then rings, but little things mean a lot."

Our classic instance of a little thing turning into a big thing occurred in a basketball game some years ago. One of the players, sweat pouring from every exposed part of his body, had just walked over to the water stand, picked up a bottle, and started bringing it to his mouth when an arm reached over and knocked the bottle out of his hand.

It was the coach. "What are you doing?" he snapped at the player. "You know the rules. You never drink water in practice. Take a little rest on the bench and think it over."

When the practice ended shortly afterwards, we went looking for the coach in his downstairs office. The coach was sitting quietly, listening to the reporters telling him exactly how he won the game. He looked up and spotted us.

"How you doing, Buddy," he said.

"Not well, Coach."

The coach stopped smiling. "Something wrong?" he said.

"For crissakes, Will, what were you doing out there knocking the water out of a kid's hand? That's one of your rules? Where have you been living in the last 50 years?"

The coach stared at us. "What are you trying to tell me," he said.

"Just that you have to brush up on your training; in the 21st century, you allow your players to drink all the water or Gatorade they want. They need it to replace all the fluids they are constantly losing during the game.

"What do you think is the leading cause of heat stroke in sport? It's kids not replacing all that lost salt and water."

We knew the coach. He'd be ticked off for a while and then embarrassed. In some crazy fashion, he had let a simple little piece of knowledge escape him. It would never happen again.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Here Below
Author:Masin, Herman L.
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
Words:354
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