Coach of the Year Moms

As we head into championship weekend, I wanted to take a moment to recognize several women who deserve major props. These ladies won the Coach of the Year award in their respective conferences and held down the fort at home all season. Congratulations on a job well done and thanks for making moms look so good!

2014-2015 Season

 (Left to Right)

Colonial States Athletic Conference: Kate Pearson, Cabrini

Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference: Suzy Delaney, Franciscan University

Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference: Amanda Bailey, Luther College

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference: Andrea Bertini, Westfield State University

New England Small Conference Athletic Conference: Carla Berube,* Tufts University

Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference: Kerri Brinkoeter, Southwestern University


2014-2015 Season

2014-2015 Season

(Left to Right)

Great Lakes Valley Conference: Lisa Carlsen,* Lewis University

California Collegiate Athletic Association: Joddie Gleason, Humboldt State

Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference: Serena King-Coleman, Kentucky State University

Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association: Jessica Kern, Lincoln University


2014-2015 Season

2014-2015 Season

(Left to Right)

Big Ten: Brenda Frese,* Maryland

Big 12: Kim Mulkey,* Baylor

West Coast Conference: Lisa Fortier, Gonzaga

The Summit League: Amy Williams, South Dakota

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: Tricia Fabbri, Quinnipiac

Southland Conference: DoBee Plaisance, Nicholls State

Southwestern Athletic Conference: Johnetta Hayes-Perry, Texas Southern

*These coaches are also finalists for the WBCA’s National Coach of the Year Award. One winner for each division will be announced Monday, April 6.

Erika Lambert


Final Four Meeting of the Moms

Will you be in Tampa this weekend? Unfortunately, I can’t make it to this year’s Final Four. But I’m thrilled to let you know that there will be a session just for you at the WBCA Convention! “Moms in Coaching” will be led by Brooke Wyckoff, assistant coach at Florida State and mother of 16-month old daughter, Avery. I hope you’ll plan to attend!

Saturday, April 4 2015

Noon – 1 p.m. Moms in Coaching led by Brooke Wyckoff, Florida State

Tampa Marriott Waterside, Level 2 Meeting Room 7

Erika Lambert


When Everything Gets Reduced to Essentials: Mom Hacks For Coaches

These are my daughters. They’re eating popcorn. On the kitchen floor. Wearing superhero costumes. Cute, right?

The thing is, this was dinner one night this week. I’m not proud of it, but it was just one of those days. We had somewhere to be. Hubby was still at work. Time ran out. And something had to give.

Meryl Streep said, “Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.” Moms everywhere nod their heads in agreement. For Coach Moms, this couldn’t be more true. Our unconventional schedule leaves us feeling maxed out at certain times of the year. When our boss and our players need us to be 100% at the same time that recruits and media outlets and community groups need our full attention, things at home may get reduced to essentials. It’s not that the non-essentials don’t matter. We just learn that prioritizing is the key to flourishing both at home and at the office. While we may value the same things as 9-to-5 moms or stay-at-home moms, we often have to do things a different way.

• Which parts of the calendar year make you feel like you’re maxed out at work?
• When something’s got to give at home, what is it? Do you feel different from other mothers because of these choices?
• What are the “essentials” at home that you will never compromise?
“All of conference play is the busiest time of year—January and February. January is especially stressful coming off the holidays, with personal concerns about spending and whether or not I got the gifts for everyone that I wanted to. That’s just the kind of person I am. Some years, April can also be very busy for me with recruiting and traveling to the Final Four. And of course there’s July recruiting, too. There’s a quality two weeks in May when I feel like I can rest a little and shift to a family focus. At that time, our players are gone and as a staff we’ve set up for everything that’s to come. So I can work from home for a few days. And since my kids are still in school, I’m able to veg out completely for a couple days. Then I wait 365 days until I can do it again!

The main things I have to sacrifice because of my job are vacations and special outings. In 12 years of marriage, my husband and I have never taken a vacation alone together. It does make me feel different because each of my brothers take trips with their wives. I’m so jealous! Even when my family is on vacation in August, it still feels a little like work because I have to make plans for the kids and figure out meals for everybody. Also, during basketball season, family outings like going to the movies or going bowling just don’t exist… Another thing that has to give when work gets busy is meal planning. We’ve never eaten out as much as we do now. But when I get off work at 6 and need to help with homework in the evenings, the last thing I have time for is being in the kitchen preparing a big meal. I used to have all these quick meals in my head, but during those heavy times at work, that just gets kicked to the side. I feel bad for my husband! But it actually motivated him to cook more because he saw that I could not physically do it… When I had kids, the first thing I gave up was putting lotion on my whole body, haha. Now I just put it on where you can see! It’s funny how many things I used to do consistently that are hit or miss now with children…. When I was the head coach at Radford, I got a housekeeper to come twice a month. I never thought I would do that! But it gave me time to take my kids to the park.

I will never compromise on things like my kids’ birthdays. I always try to do something great for their birthday. And outside of basketball season, we make sure to plan special family activities and stick to them, like once a month movie night… I have to be in a clean house. That rarely gets compromised. I just can’t function in a messy house so I make sure it’s always clean. The kitchen cannot have dirty dishes in it… The last thing I won’t ‘give’ on is my kids’ academics. They have to be good students. I’m usually the one to stay on top of the kids’ homework and I always thought I would be personally invested in their studies. But sometimes I have to give up that personal responsibility and get a tutor to step in during my busiest times at work.”


“One piece of advice for [Coach Moms] is this: don’t allow guilt to ever get the best of you. Especially in the profession we are in, I learned early on unfortunately, the choices I must make on a day to day basis are frowned upon in certain parenting circles. I just do the best I can every single day and keep a bit of tunnel vision. As long as I can live with myself and my husband and I make decisions that work for the two of us, I don’t worry about anyone else’s opinions on the subject of my children. I’ve also come to realize that time is your most valuable commodity and the one in the shortest supply. So a year or two ago we bit the bullet and hired a housekeeper to come in twice a month to save our sanity. I am an old fashioned Iowa girl so the thought of spending $200 a month on something we could and should do ourselves was out of my comfort zone. But we were killing ourselves trying to do it all and still find time for each other and our family. So now I gladly fork over the money and while my kids are young it’s one less chore we have to do every free weekend. We “buy” a little more family time in the process. What you discover with young kids is that things are always changing and evolving. You just get through one year at a time because every single year is different as they grow up. But it is a gift and I am extremely blessed to not only have a career I live and breathe, but also a family that is always by my side.”
“I have two players who have come to my house to help my daughters get ready for winter formal and prom—Renata Marquez and Whitney West have been my girls’ hair and makeup team. Renata was a senior last year but is still in nursing school at ACU. I was on a team road trip during winter formal this year so Renata got Macy ready while I was gone. I’m so thankful for her help!”




As I hastily frosted the last cupcake I needed to bring to a gathering this week, I was calculating just how little time I had to change out of my sweatpants and get us out the door. But when I looked down and saw my loves eating their “dinner” like little puppies on the kitchen floor, I just had to take a moment to laugh at myself and at this whole motherhood gig. Times like that call for a picture, no matter how late you are! Be encouraged, Coach Mom. Popcorn for dinner is just fine (once in a while).  Getting a housekeeper does not mean you’re a slacker. And if you can’t be there before every school dance, it’s okay! Find a cool stand-in. We can do everything “normal” moms can do, but we may need to do it a different way.

Erika Lambert


March Madness Motivation II

Well, here we are. It’s March. And the Madness never disappoints!

Your team could be awaiting a Selection Monday bid to a postseason tourney today. Or maybe your squad is done and you’ve already begun planning your postseason. Either way, today calls for some inspirational quotes. Here are some I’ve been thinking about lately:

Good luck to the Coach Moms representing our group in the DII and DIII NCAA Tournaments! Head Coach Danelle Bishop (Cal Poly Pomona) and Assistant Coach Julia Smith (Cal Baptist) face off in the DII Elite Eight tonight. Head Coach Carla Berube is the last mom standing in the DIII Final Four. Her Tufts Jumbos take on #1 Thomas More this Friday.

Erika Lambert


A Redemption Story For Cal Poly Pomona Head Coach Danelle Bishop

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Danelle Bishop is in her fifth season at DII Cal Poly Pomona. During her time at the helm, she has led the Broncos to a 100-39 record, two West Region titles, one Elite Eight, and last year’s Final Four. Bishop was named the 2013-2014 California Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year, and was a finalist for the National Division II Coach of the Year award. It’s hard to believe that just five years ago, she considered leaving the coaching profession. “I was fired from my job at California Baptist. I almost got out of coaching… losing my job was hard, financially. It was hard on my marriage… My husband encouraged me to stay in it. I applied at Cal Poly. There were other candidates who were offered the job before me, but a month later I was hired for the interim job. We ended up going to the Elite Eight that season. It was really a story of redemption. I had never seen my husband cry before, but he cried when we cut down the nets.”

Bishop’s husband, Walter, works as an engineer for the Department of Defense. Although his work requires a lot of travel, he has the flexibility to make a lot of trips outside of basketball season. “Sometimes he’ll have local business travel that only lasts three days or so, but most of his trips are one or two weeks long. He’s gone at least once a month when I’m not in season,” notes Bishop. During Walter’s college days, he was involved in athletics as a Sports Information intern and a Women’s Basketball graduate assistant at Alabama A&M. So he understands the unconventional schedule that coaches keep. “He gets it,” Bishop says. “I’ve got six seniors this year so we’re out recruiting more often than usual. This year’s been kind of crazy. But Walter gets all that. He’s very supportive…my biggest fan. And he’s a great dad.”

“I got married at age 30, and became a mom at 33,” says Bishop, mother of two. Her daughter Marissa is 5 and son Walter IV is 2. “It’s kind of weird that I have former players who were pregnant before me, and have kids the same age as mine. It’s a blessing in disguise though,” she laughs. “When we get to visit with former players, our kids can play together.” Both Bishop children participate in gymnastics, for now. “We joke that they need to do it now, while they can. They’ll probably be too big in the future!” Mom and Dad stand at 5’11” and 6’5”, respectively. Together, the couple coached Marissa’s 4, 5, and 6-year old community league basketball team last summer. “My husband was the head coach and I was the assistant. The first practices for that team were actually some of the hardest practices I’ve ever had to plan. We had to figure out what exactly we wanted them to learn, set goals for the 10-week program and try to accomplish those goals all while keeping their attention.” Bishop’s daughter was the only girl on the team, and young Walter watched from the sideline. “[Marissa] cried when she got bumped the first four weeks. But after that she got more and more aggressive. I was worried about my two year old interfering with practice, but he actually loved being on the sideline.”

Walter IV, Danelle, Walter & Marissa Bishop

Walter IV, Danelle, Walter & Marissa Bishop

Although most of the Bishops’ extended family is in Texas and Alabama, they cherish their close community in Southern California. “When we first moved here, we got connected with people through church and our small group [bible study]. We’ve made some amazing friends who we call family now,” says Bishop. Her coaching staff at CPP is a tight-knit group as well. Third-year assistant Reyana Colson was a senior and an All-American on Bishop’s first Broncos team. Assistant Coach Kevin Adams began working on Bishop’s staff at Cal Baptist, and came with her to CPP. Adams’ wife, Nicole, played for Bishop at Cal Baptist, and the couple has two children. “They are like family too. Nicole watched each of my kids before they started going to daycare. Their daughter is 4 and their son is 7 months old. Their kids are like sister and brother to mine.”

So, how does a busy wife and mother of two manage a successful college basketball program that repeatedly contends for titles at the national level? With a focus on servant leadership and relationship-building. “First and foremost, my staff and I want to be servant leaders…because that’s what Jesus did… We are intentional about being involved in our players’ lives. We love on them. We discipline them. Sometimes, they can’t stand you. Other times, they’re crying in your arms… We want our players to leave here as better people, friends, daughters, wives. If we’re not seeing that, we’re not doing our jobs.” Bishop points out that many people believe basketball teammates don’t need to be friends off the court. “I disagree with that. Maybe you don’t need to be best friends, but on the women’s side, you really need to get along. We try to foster that family environment.”

Bishop says her Mom role often comes into play at work. “I would love to write a book on college women and confidence, because that’s the issue they struggle with most… Every year I see some of our girls get down emotionally because they are trying to find their self-worth in others.” In response, Coach Bishop does what any good Mama Bear would do. She gives extra hugs, reminds her players they are beautiful inside and out, and texts them inspirational quotes from time to time. “We have phenomenal young women in our program. It hurts me when I see them let somebody steal their joy. I remind them that they’re the only one who can give someone that authority… several of our players are Division I transfers who were unhappy initially. When I see them smiling it makes my day. I’m thankful that they’re having a great experience now and enjoying themselves playing basketball.”

Last season, Cal Poly Pomona made it all the way to the Final Four where they lost to eventual National Champion, Bentley. CPP’s team included five DI transfers, most of whom had not had good experiences at their previous school. “These were juniors who had the ability to be impact players right away,” notes Bishop. “But we knew that if we were going to be successful, we would have to build relationships fast.” The coaching staff took special care to build their new players’ trust. In the busiest part of the season, they took advantage of team time on road trips to build that connectedness. “It’s the idea that ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ Some players struggled with trials that came with them from their previous experience. But once they understood that we’re here for them and they trusted us, they flourished… February hit and we started clicking. We were tough.”

The Bishop family celebrates after Cal Poly Pomona wins the 2014 NCAA Division II West Region Championship

The Bishop family celebrates after Cal Poly Pomona wins the 2014 NCAA Division II West Region Championship

This year’s team is battling with a taste of success in its mouth and a championship experience in mind, despite facing many setbacks. The Broncos are 13-5 overall, 11-3 in conference play. But they’ve gone about a month and a half with only six players who could practice at full go. Keeping players healthy has been tough. Bishop’s assistant coaches often participate in practice, and she’s now got help from some male practice players. The Broncos have a Leadership Committee, rather than captains, and Bishop recently called that group in for a heart-to-heart. “I told them that if we don’t start pulling it together, there are no guarantees that we’ll make it to the regional tournament. I explained that we really need to start taking care of business and fight to get in.” The team’s response was a 30-point victory over then #25 ranked Humboldt State. “I felt like it was the 1st or 2nd glimpse this season of what we’re really capable of.” The Broncos have eight regular season games left to build on that.

A typical day in the Bishop household starts when the kids wake up between 6:30 and 7am. Some days, Walter has to leave the house as early as 6:30 to get to the office, but other days he helps get the kids’ clothes and lunches ready. Bishop gets her kids dressed, which is no easy task with a 5 year old daughter. “She’s not a morning person. It can be a 10 or 15 minute ordeal getting her clothes on, so that’s fun on game day,” Bishop says sarcastically. After breakfast, she drops the kids off at their daycare/preschool located along her drive to campus. Once Bishop arrives at the office, she hits the ground running. After a day full of meetings, film breakdown, weight lifting and team practice, Bishop and her staff have been out recruiting 3-4 nights a week. “Most of our recruiting is fairly local, with the farthest drive being about two hours. The other night I had a game to watch about 15 minutes from my house, so I picked up the kids, took them home, got dinner going and then handed them off to my husband. When I got home from recruiting I had to do my daughter’s hair. It’s about a 20-30 minute process that I do at night. My husband has gotten better at it, but his hands are just too big,” Bishop jokes. On game days, Bishops’ kids love going to cheer on Mom’s team. “They get so excited for it. They know their friends will be there and they love Billy the Bronco.”

Finding work-life balance happened the hard way for Bishop. “I had my first head coaching experience at age 27. I was young, eager, and I ran myself ragged. I was sick all the time. It took me a good three years to figure it out. If you’re run down, you won’t be able to do your job well.” Cal Poly Pomona plays its conference games every Friday and Saturday. As they get into their season, Bishop gives her team both Sundays and Mondays off. That includes her assistant coaches. “After weekends on the road, we may not get home until Sunday afternoon. So I tell my coaches not to go into the office on Mondays. We might go recruiting that night if there’s a really good game, but otherwise we’re off. My husband and I always have lunch together on Mondays. On occasion, he’ll take off from work and we’ll go see a movie or something like that. I don’t know if that’s good because we could probably go pick our kids up early from school! But I think it’s really important to invest in our marriage and keep that relationship strong.”

Bishop is proof that being an ultra-competitive coach does not have to come at the expense of family. “Trust me, I’m passionate about my job. But it is my job. At the end of the day, I’m a wife and a mom. Those things are more important than anything.” It is with those priorities straight that Bishop is able to lead her team well. Before she and the Broncos start a 4-game road swing this week, she’s soaking up sweet moments at home. “I was on the floor playing games with my kids last night for what seemed like forever and I was so tired. But I just kept thinking, there may come a day when they don’t want their mom to play with them. I wouldn’t miss this opportunity.”

Erika Lambert


’14-’15 What Coaches Wore: 10 Quick Takes on Sideline Fashion

I have heard many basketball coaches lament the fact that we don’t coach in athletic clothing like most other sports. I think secretly, though, we love to don our Gameday Best. Many of this season’s stylish coaches are the same who were highlighted in last year’s WCW, but some new ladies have broken into the mix, too.


1. Nikki Caldwell & Tasha Butts, LSU

The ever fashion forward coaching duo is back at it this season with high style to match some high quality wins over ranked opponents. (Stylist: Shyra Ely-Gash at Styles By Ms. Ely)

Source // Source // Source

 2. Jackie Carson, Furman

Her SoCon style is in a league of its own.

 Source // Source // Source

 3. Muffet McGraw & Niele Ivey, Notre Dame

Coach McGraw and her staff always look like champions.

Source // Source // Source

 4. Candi Whitaker, Texas Tech

Nobody wears the LBD better on the sideline.

Source // Source

5. Kim Mulkey, Baylor

As always, Coach Mulkey’s loud style matches her passion.

Source // Source // Source

6. Cori Close & Staff, UCLA

Senior Rhema Gardner medically retired from basketball last spring, but she is still contributing to the team. Among other things, she serves as stylist to her head coach. Cori Close’s personal style is starting to reflect her unique program philosophy.

Source // Source // Source

7. Suzy Merchant, Michigan State

While black still dominates women’s business fashion, Coach Merchant is doing her own thing in white-on-white. Source // Source

8. Christy Winters Scott, Big Ten Network

Okay, so Christy’s not currently a college coach. But when this color analyst is calling the game, her vibrant fashions definitely step up the sideline style for Women’s Basketball.


9. Passion Fashion

I just love these shots of head coaches Kerri Brinkoeter, Southwestern (DIII) and Ali Jaques, Siena getting after it in their ruffles and skirt!




10. #tallgirlproblems

You know when you’re clothes shopping and you see something really cute so you take it off the rack only to realize you’ve wandered into the Petites section? Story of my life. Or when those designer flash sales come to your inbox but they only include Regular and Petite sizes? Good for point guards. Bad for six footers. If any of you tall ladies have a go-to shopping spot you love, please email me and share it with our group! Check out my friend Kelli’s website called Tall Girl’s Closet where you can browse long-length styles from several different stores, all in one place. And ride the ankle-length pants trend as long as you can…



Good luck to your teams this weekend! Work that sideline, Mama!

Erika Lambert


2015 Women Coaches Symposium

Today I’m promoting a wonderful professional development opportunity for you in Minneapolis this spring. The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport (University of Minnesota) is hosting the 2nd annual Women Coaches Symposium in partnership with Gopher Athletics and the Alliance of Women Coaches. It is a one day event on Friday, April 17th at the U 0f M Campus. The purpose of the Women Coaches Symposium is to provide high quality educational programming, an avenue for networking for women, space to build community among women coaches, and to increase and retain women in the coaching profession. Women coaches of all sports and all levels are welcome.

I am very excited to announce that there will be a discussion group specifically for Coach Moms included in the early morning sessions. Call it a meeting of the Mama minds! I would love to have you join us.

The Tucker Center’s Associate Director, Nicole LaVoi, has been hard at work with the planning committee to prepare a dynamite program. Last year’s event sold out so be sure to register as soon as possible! Did I mention that the keynote speaker is Sue Enquist? Learn more about all the speakers here, and check out a working draft of the program below:

“Empowering Women to Lead in the 21st Century”

Friday, April 17, 2015, 7am-4pm

TCF Bank Stadium, Indoor Club Room, University of Minnesota

7:00-8:00am        Check In & Registration: Coffee/tea and light breakfast served

Pre-Event Options

These opt-in “bonus” sessions are discussion-based and will occur simultaneously during  registration.

 7:15-7:55am        Pre-Symposium Option A: Book Group Discussion: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, led by Jody Redman, Associate Director, MSHSL. Coaches who want to participate should buy the book in advance and come ready to discuss.

7:15-7:55am        Pre-Symposium Option B: Mother-Coaches Discussion Group, led by Erika Lambert, Creator of Coach Mom, Inc.,

7:15-7:55am        Pre-Symposium Option C: Developing and maintaining your digital brand: Tips, Tools, and To-dos for Coaches in a Media-Driven World. With Austin Stair Calhoun, Ph.D., U of M School of Kinesiology, Team Lead, eLearning and Digital Strategy


Introduction and Welcome

  • Beth Goetz, Senior Associate Athletics Director/SWA, University of Minnesota
  • Marlene Bjornsrud, Executive Director, Alliance of Women Coaches
  • Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., Associate Director, The Tucker Center, University of Minnesota

Exact times for the following sessions is TBD.

Networking & Engagement Activity

Time TBD        Psychology of Sport Injury: What Coaches Need to Know
Diane Wiese Bjornstal, Ph.D., CC-AASP, Director of Sports Medicine Science Lab, Associate Professor, School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota

Time TBD        Mind, Body & Sport: Mental Health and Athletes
Carlin Anderson (Dr. Carly), Ph.D., LP, CC-AASP, Premier Sport Psychology, Gopher Athletics

Table Talk I

Table Talk sessions are interspersed through the conference to increase discussion and coach engagement. Table Talk will provide opportunity for coaches to discuss the topics together, share insights, ask questions of each other, answer questions posed by speakers, and network.

Time TBD        Empowering Women Coaches

Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., Associate Director, Tucker Center, University of Minnesota

Time TBD        Cultivating Confidence in Athletes
Cindra Kamphoff, Ph.D., CC-AASP, Director of the Center for Sport and Performance Psychology, University of Minnesota-Mankato

Time TBD        The Confidence Factor
Linda LeClaire, author, speaker, mental coach

Table Talk II

Break, grab box lunch (included in registration), networking time

Keynote: Competitive Greatness 24/7: “Excellence Never Blinks”
Sue Enquist, former UCLA softball coach, 11-time NCAA Division-I National Champion.

In 2006, Enquist concluded her storied 27-year career as head coach of the UCLA Bruins with a 887-175-1 (.835) record, the highest win percentage among all Division-I coaches.  She is the first person in NCAA Softball history to win a championship as a head coach and a player. Hailed a “coaching legend” by ESPN, Sue Enquist’s tenure produced 15 Olympians who represent 30 Olympic selections over four quadrennials (1996-2008). She also produced 65 NCAA All-Americans. You won’t want to miss hearing Sue, a dynamic and highly sought after international speaker!

Table Talk III

Time TBD        PANEL I: What Coaches Can Learn from Athletic Administrators
In this panel coaches will gain insight into personal and professional development from the perspective of athletic administrators.

  • Kim Chandler, Director of Athletics, Macalester College, NCAA-III
  • Jenn Fraser, Assistant Commissioner, Northern Sun Conference, NCAA-II
  • Beth Goetz, Senior Associate Athletics Director/SWA, University of Minnesota, NCAA-I
  • Jody Redman, Associate Director, Minnesota State HIgh School League

Time TBD        PANEL II: Navigating Career Transitions in the Profession of Coaching
In this panel coaches from across all sports and levels of competition will share their thoughts, experiences and insights about navigating transitions in the coaching profession.

  • Coaches TBD

Time TBD        Engagement Strategies for Women Coaches

Marlene Bjornsrud, Executive Director, Alliance of Women Coaches

Table Talk IV: Call to Action

3:40-4:00pm        Closing Remarks, Raffle, & Call to Action        

4:00-6:00 pm        Happy Hour & Networking. Location TBD


Is It Time For a Staff Meeting With Your Spouse?

You’re into conference play now. You’re preparing two scouting reports each week for top-notch opponents. Recruiting is ongoing, as usual. Your players’ academic matters are always a high priority. And there are nice folks calling to ask your team to make appearances and such. There’s a lot going on. Staff meetings are crucial this time of year. It may be that you’re meeting with your coaching staff of 4+ on the regular, or perhaps it’s just you and your 1 assistant game-planning in your shared office. Whatever the case, coaches understand that effective staff meetings are necessary to reiterate shared objectives, develop action items and evaluate the wins and losses of our teams.

Is it time you also had a similar “staff meeting” with your spouse?

After all, you two are running an organization of your own at home. Between your two careers, kids’ sports and concerts, doctor’s appointments, science projects and the like, there’s a lot going on. I often find my husband and I saying to each other, ‘We need to talk more about that later,’ or ‘let’s sit down and look at that soon.’ But then life happens and those necessary conversations don’t. Sometimes we can barely hear each other over the noise of our crazy little kids. And often after they go to bed, we have our own work to do or we’re just too exhausted to discuss anything that requires brain power. The television doesn’t help–we gave up cable in order to cultivate better marital communication, but thanks to Amazon Prime shows and the Watch ESPN app, we still get distracted by the tube (if you weren’t playing your own game tonight, did you catch the end of the Duke/Syracuse women’s game? It was a fun one…)

This week, we decided we needed to call a staff meeting and catch up on all the things that have been breezed over lately. I’m talking an agenda, legal pad, iPad and all… Admittedly, we didn’t get through the whole list in one sitting because Item #1 was painfully time consuming (see below). But the idea of an official “staff meeting” led us to be more intentional in our discussion of some things that needed attention and agreement. I think we’ll try holding these meetings the first Monday night of every month. Our hope is that this will help keep things from falling through the communication cracks, as they so easily do in marriage and parenting.


It’s a fun but hectic, exciting but exhausting time of year for basketball coaches. This is especially true for Coach Moms who are taking care of business on the court and at home. Help keep the lines of communication clear by calling a staff meeting with your spouse. And if you have any other tips on how to keep the family circus running smoothly, I’d love to hear your thoughts!



Thoughts on Managing Screen Time, Cell Phones & Social Media for Kids of All Ages

Before I had children, I sometimes looked at other moms and thought, ‘I’ll never let my kids ______.’  Fill in the blank with things like: watch TV before they’re two… play games on my smart phone or iPad… be pacified by a portable DVD player…  Now that I am a mom of littles, I laugh at those early declarations.  My 1 year old sings the theme songs to countless cartoons, and my 3 year old loves the LeapPad she got for her birthday from Grandma.  When I’m in a childcare bind and have to bring the kids to practice or chapel at Bethel, I definitely hand them my phone and let them play The Bible App for Kids to their hearts’ content.  I’ll admit, my husband and I are sort of winging it for now when it comes to our kids and technology, but we know that we’ll need to buckle down with a better plan sooner or later.  I caught up with a couple other Coach Moms this week to get their thoughts on this topic:

Technology is a blessing and a curse.  My husband and I have very specific rules with regards to it.  Neither of my kids are allowed to use technology Monday through Friday, because of the school week.  We also don’t allow much television during the week if we can help it.  Saturday mornings are a free for all while we catch up from the week doing laundry and errands, so we do allow cartoons.  My daughter (Kylan) loves her Kindle Fire for games.  She occasionally jumps onto my laptop…she is currently addicted to Minecraft.  My son (Camden) loves his Tag reader.

We are lucky that both our kids love to read so that isn’t as big of a chore as in some households. My daughter typically reads at least an hour a day.  We commit time to reading every single night with both children and have been lucky that they acquired a passion for it at a young age.  But make no bones about it, there are some nights I simply want to put them to bed!  My daughter who is 9, taught herself to read around age 4 and has been going strong ever since.  We try to make reading fun for them by allowing them to pick the subject matter.  Kylan is into fantasy so we just finished the entire Harry Potter series together in just over 9 months! Whew that was a commitment!  We are now onto The Hobbit, a much tougher read- at least for Mom!  I try not to care that she loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series- as long as she is reading. My son loves the Tag books that my daughter grew up on so he seems to be developing his own taste for reading.

Looking ahead and through my experiences with our team, my husband and I have already talked about what the future will look like technology-wise.  In over a decade of coaching I have seen a lot of changes.  The kids that we coach are essentially the same, but the environment around them has changed dramatically. Without question I feel like social media has and will continue to be one of the most toxic things in their young lives.  It creates such a false sense of self and of the people around them.  I often sit in the stands of high school games and overhear the conversation between both girls and boys about Twitter and Instagram and all the drama it creates.  And our children are growing more narcissistic by the year.  They may have 2,000 followers but very few real friends.  It’s commonplace to post pictures of themselves daily.  I am old school to some extent because I have told my children since a young age that the world does not revolve around them.  I make them write old fashioned thank you notes to teach the value of a gift they may receive or simply to say, ‘thank you.’  My husband and I have already agreed that our children will never have a television or computer in their bedrooms overnight.  We will have a common area or office where they will do homework, but laptops and cell phones will be turned in at their “curfew.”  If their homework isn’t done at that time, they’ll either have to get up pretty early to resume their work or suffer the consequences for their procrastination.  I think when your kids are growing up you have to teach them hard lessons and hope they stick and help them later in life.  My daughter of course has already asked for a cell phone at age 9 and knows not to expect to receive one until at least age 14!  But she keeps asking nevertheless!

So far there are no iPads in Kylan’s school but they have already started learning how to use Excel and Powerpoint.  I love that they teach them these types of programs but I still think there is a great necessity for free play, especially at the elementary level. I cringe on rainy or snowy days because I know my daughter’s indoor recess consists of screen time in the school.  Good ole fashioned playing is how leadership skills are developed and how kids learn to deal with conflict. We see less and less of that these days.  Everything is planned and scheduled for them.  Even playdates have planned activities for entertainment! It’s no wonder our kids struggle to be self-starters and entertain themselves.

At the end of the day my advice to moms when it comes to technology is to mirror the behavior you want to see repeated.  Technology isn’t going away and it’s a vital part of their future, but so are their social skills.  And that isn’t something kids can learn from behind a computer screen.  Our children are more knowledgeable than any generation before them but there’s an artificial maturity that is being created. It is our job as parents to help guide them through this confusing world and into young adulthood. -Marsha Frese


When my kids were younger, all we had was the home computer.  I never bought my older kids their own computer until they went to college.  My younger girls [eventually] had laptops at home. But my kids were never the first to have cell phones, laptops, iPads and all that. Nowadays, they are on their phones a lot, mostly texting. I don’t really have restrictions on how often they use their phones.  At their ages now, it’s the way teenagers communicate.  I know that both because of my own kids and because of recruiting.

My daughter Madison was the youngest of my kids to get a phone.  She got a hand-me-down phone from me when I was hired at Duquesne in 2007.  So she would have been about 11 at that time.  It was an old flip phone and she was constantly giving it to me because people would still call or message that number for me!  When our kids started using cell phones, it was a helpful means of communication, especially when they started driving. If they want to go somewhere else after basketball practice or if their plans change, they can easily let us know. We can keep track of where they’ll be.  If our kids are driving somewhere, we can ask them to text us when they get there.

When I first started coaching, I wasn’t into the social media world at all.  I got Facebook first, then Twitter and recently Instagram. My kids weren’t very young when they first started using social media. But now they have Twitter, IG and Facebook.  I follow all their accounts so I can see what they post.  It’s not that I see it all the time, but I will look back through their threads occasionally, look at their pictures and everything.  I have had to ask them to take things down–nothing major but just some things that could have been perceived the wrong way.  It’s the same thing we talk about as coaches with our players.  Once it’s out there on social media, you can’t take it back. Anyone can find it.  One day when you’re trying to get a job, employers will be looking at your online accounts.  That said, social media is a great way to keep in touch.  I think it was good for my kids to stay connected with their friends through social media when we moved from away from Minnesota (Suzie made the transition from Minnesota Lynx head coach to the same position at Duquesne in 2007).

When my kids were younger, they had video games and things like that they wanted to play.  But I grew up outside!  And we liked for our kids to be outside as much as possible too… If things were the way they are now when my kids were younger, my husband and I would have had more standards, guidelines, and expectations for the technology stuff. I’m by no means the perfect mom and I wouldn’t judge other parents’ decisions… but the main thing is to be sure your kids are making good decisions.  [With cell phones, social media, etc.] I think it depends on the child too, as far as their responsibility level. -Suzie McConnell-Serio