Coaching is a rewarding and fun experience, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. That’s especially true for Anthony Sanchez, a student at Cal State Northridge, who coaches two different basketball teams at the West Valley YMCA. Anthony’s players range from 3 years old, all the way up to 11, so he needs to be able to handle a lot of different development and skills levels.

“Everyone is different, every kid has a different background and skill set, you have to get to know each kid individually and help them get better. After that you can bring them together as a team.”

When Anthony was growing up he saw how his six younger siblings copied his behavior, and quickly realized how important having positive older role models is. “It’s so important when you’re younger to learn teamwork, and commitment, it really prepares you for things later in life. I think anyone who has the opportunity owes it to themselves and others to give back. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but giving kids time and attention makes them feel wanted.”

Anthony’s kids certainly learn a lot about basketball, and about working together, but Anthony says he has learned just as much. “To have kids looking at you to teach them, to improve them, it really changed me. It has made me more mature. I know I’m their mentor, you have to be a brother, or sometimes father figure, so you need to be responsible and committed” says Anthony.

Anthony looks forward to coaching again this year, and hopes to keep coaching different age groups. “They need so many different things at those ages, it makes me a better coach.”

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