The following is from Debbie Coffman, Head Girls Basketball Coach at Bloomington Central Catholic High School:
On day one of practice each season we have a variety of athletes all coming in as individuals from different backgrounds, schools, skill levels, and roles for our team. We wanted to provide a way to make all these individuals to come together on and off the court. We wanted to break down cliques, and build up relationships based on trust and putting the team over I. We wanted to take the time for the athletes to get to really know one another, support each other, and to form relationships that are based on more than on x’s and o’s.
We created a buddy system, where we look at each athlete and try to partner them with someone that will help bring out the best in one another and bring our team closer together. This isn’t usually someone that is their best friend, or they necessarily even know very well. We wanted to partner them with someone that matched what they may need in the tough times of the season, some need encouragement, some need humor, some need maturity, some need kindness, some need responsibility, and some might even need challenging.
We might look at seniors or mature athletes to mentor younger athletes/new members to the program. We might look at point guards with posts, or defenders with scorers, and so on and so on creating a partnership to find balance not competition with one another. Every level of athlete and manager in the program gets paired off to participate for the whole season. This system is built on trust and a whole lot of fun.
As the years have gone by the girls take great pride in this tradition and it has even become a competition on who are the BEST buddies. The below description is what we give out in the first week of practice, and by the end of that first week (after the coaches go through who we think will be the best fit for one another) we pair them off.
What is a buddy? A buddy is a support system just for you. A buddy is responsible for numerous things, such as, encouragement, communication, teamwork, and constant belief. If you are going to be late or not at practice, a game, or team event you can call your buddy to communicate this to the coach. If you need a ride, extra help on plays, or just someone to talk to your buddy is the person to talk to. If your buddy forgets something, isn’t doing their job, or is late you will be running with her, so it is your responsibility to motivate your buddy, so this doesn’t happen. Why do we do this system? We do this to promote teamwork, responsibility, and to form relationships of trust. It is critical to know that there is always someone there to support you, even when the coaches are riding you or you are having a bad day. Your buddy is there to pick you up. We will be doing buddy “projects" this year. Get involved in this system. We need your commitment to keep the tradition going strong. Thank you for believing in this program and supporting each other every step of the way. GO Saints!
A Few Buddy Project Examples Through the Years:
Buddy Interest Interviews-finding out favorites of their buddy
Decorating Saint Folders
Bringing Buddy Snacks
Buddy Halloween Costumes
Buddy Homemade Christmas Present Exchange
Buddy Inspirational Quotes
Buddy Shooting Drills
Buddy Community Service Projects
Buddy Social Media Shares
Buddy Bench Celebrations
And the list goes on and on!
Debbie Coffman is a high school graduate of Prairie Central High School and Eureka College where she participated in basketball. She has coached all 25 years at Bloomington Central Catholic with over 562 wins. She led the Saints to a 2A state title in 2010, runner up in 2011 and 2017 and a third-place finish in 2015. She is a member of the IBCA Hall of Fame and Eureka College Hall of Fame. She currently is finishing up serving as the first female president of IBCA.