Greg Rosnick, Project Coach Fellow from 2013, recently moved to New York City to coach women's basketball after coaching at Colby College in rural Maine. Here he shares a few of the many lessons he learned at Project Coach and his creative (and time-consuming!) way of getting to know new players on his team.
PC: What are you doing now?
GR: I recently accepted a position as an Assistant Women's Basketball Coach at Columbia University in New York City.
PC: Tell us a highlight memory from your time with Project Coach.
GR: Obvious answers would include my two week trip to France with 10 of PC's finest youth coaches or some of our amazing award banquets and the performances by coaches and red shirts. But my favorite memories of PC are the little moments that you get to spend with your coaches as a red shirt. Those in between times when you learn about their days, their school work and their social life. As I've gotten older (balder), I've realized that informal time is where you either strengthen or weaken bonds. I'm proud to say that my down time at PC was always well worth it and it's one of the things I miss the most about the program. I loved being around talented and driven high school students.
PC: What do you carry with you from Project Coach? or... How did Project Coach impact who you are now, and what you're doing in your life?
GR: As a college basketball coach, I hope I don't have to dig too hard for this answer (haha). I think the thing that sticks with me is the details that we worked on every day with our blue shirts at PC. I love the little lessons that I try to take with me when I'm coaching. Two of my favorites are to make sure I'm not standing next to my co-coach for too long. A quick comment here or there is fine but you're not doing your team any good if you're standing next to your co-coach and limiting your view of the game/practice. And second, I always try to be very precise and concise with my language. I still remember us timing our high school coaches. We tried to make sure that they huddled up the kids, explained the game, and then had them playing within 30 seconds. It's such a powerful trick and I still use it to this day.
PC: Team is a big part of life in Project Coach. Who’s on your team in your current life & work?
GR: As a newly married man, my main teammate in life is my wife, Alison. She's better looking, was a better basketball player and is way more likable than I am. You gotta be a good recruiter in this world! She's the greatest and I've become a more driven and focused person and friend with her by my side. At work, I'm in the midst of finding my way with a new team here at Columbia. We have three other full time coaches, so I'm trying to find my role within that group and I'm also going to be meeting a whole new group of athletes. I always love the challenge of getting to see what makes a new group tick and how to make them successful.
PC: What big idea, project, adventure has your attention?: What’s your next play?
GR: Moving from rural Maine to NYC is no small feat. So my wife and I are in full House Hunters mode. Once that's finished, though, my next big project is simply being focused on how to be a great role model for 15 young women at Columbia. I'm not exactly sure if being a great role model for women looks different than being a great role model for men, but I'm about to find out! Coaching is a funny business because of all the different tasks that you're asked to complete. And I admit that I get caught up in those tasks a lot. Recruit. Travel. Evaluate. Teach. Discipline. Etc. Etc. But at the end of the day, if you're not a great role model for your players, then you're not a great coach. It's pretty simple.
As far as my next play is concerned, I've learned the hard way in this business that planning too far ahead will only leave you disappointed. I have an amazing opportunity to coach here at one of the finest schools in the world and I'm going to spend at least the next few years making sure I become as good a coach as I can be for the women of Columbia basketball. Next plays have a way of coming to you when you focus on the current play.
PC: Tell us something you're reading or learning about that is making you better at what you care about.
GR: I love building personal and unique relationships with the players that I coach. In the summer as a college coach, that's kind of tough because we don't see the athletes. But I've come up with a fun way to get to know new players that I've never coached before. I ask them to give me a book and a movie that they love that I've never seen or read. And then all summer, I read and watch their recommendations. It's an awesome way to get insight into their unique background and tastes. This year is especially tough because I don't know ANYONE on the team. So I'm currently on my fourth book and eighth movie. I have a lonnngggg way to go this summer. Wish me luck!