High school coaches gain new ideas, connections at WBCA Convention

The WBCA understands that the more than 20,000 high school girls’ programs in the U.S. lay the foundation for our sport — developing players’ skills, sportsmanship and zeal for basketball — and has worked to increase its professional development offerings for scholastic members, especially during the WBCA Convention.

Here are just a few ways that the WBCA is meeting the needs of our high school attendees:

New ideas for on the court and off

Coaches at all levels face similar dilemmas such as how to communicate with and motivate players, how to keep practices fresh, and how to build a strong team culture.

On-court presentations in the WBCA Courtside Expo give attendees an up-close look at how top coaches work with their players. Attendees also leave with new plays and drills they can incorporate into their playbooks. Featured coaches from this past convention included Arkansas head coach Mike Neighbors (formerly of Washington), Georgia head coach Joni Taylor and Tufts head coach Carla Berube. Their presentations are catalogued in our Coaching Library.

Ashley Bush, head coach at Frederick (Maryland) High School, listed on-court presentations as her favorite session during the convention. “It's like being in a coaching clinic all day with people learning everything about the game,” Bush said. “We (coaches) have made a commitment to help our student-athletes develop and compete. Attending the WBCA Convention allows us to keep that commitment by constantly learning.”

Off the court, attendees enjoyed a variety of learning labs, which are lectures or panel discussions on broader coaching topics such as mental health, communicating with millennials, and personal accountability, as well as fast-paced roundtables for head and assistant coaches.

Targeted high school content

The new High School Coaches Day consisted of a full day of programming specifically for high school attendees. While the WBCA has held sessions and meetings for scholastic coaches in the past, this was the first time a full day was devoted to them. Topics included running an efficient practice, preventing burnout, and preparing players for the college level, as well as special demonstrations by Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair and Texas head coach Karen Aston.

Keith Kula, assistant coach at Cary-Grove (Illinois) High School, attended the scholastic day. “I appreciated the addition of High School Coaches Day,” Kula said. “With the past shortage of programming directed toward high school coaches, I hope the WBCA continues to host it every year. I enjoyed the breakout sessions with diverse speakers and topics.”

Networking with coaches at every level

The WBCA Convention not only provides a wealth of educational programming, it also gives attendees the opportunity to network with more than 2,500 coaches from every level of the sport —  scholastic and non-scholastic club, college, and the professional ranks. Every ride in an elevator, every drink in a bar, or every meal in a restaurant becomes an opportunity to share ideas and make lasting connections.

Bush says she uses the advice she receives from next-level coaches each year and reaps the benefits. “It’s important to listen to the concerns of college coaches regarding what the high school student-athlete is lacking,” Bush said. “Mental toughness was emphasized the past two conventions. After taking note of the concern, our program placed an extensive focus on mental toughness and the results were amazing.”

The WBCA Convention is a tremendous opportunity for high school coaches to meet college coaches, learn about their coaching styles and philosophies, and expand their network of contacts so that they are better able to help a player who needs guidance on finding the right fit.

Kula said the most beneficial part of convention was his ability to network. “I have made and maintained many relationships with collegiate coaches,” Kula said. “Having these relationships is beneficial particularly since I do not coach AAU. So, this helps me prepare players in our program for the next level — if that's what they want to pursue.”

Join us March 29 through April 1 in Columbus, Ohio, for the 2018 WBCA Convention.

Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 10, 2017