Q and A with Mendell Midy

How did you get your job in China?

I was looking to change the High School/AAU settings because I have been looking to enter the college level of coaching. A friend recommended United Basketball Academy as a change of pace. I  really didn't know much about USBA and was even more shocked it was an opportunity to not only go overseas but to go to China.  it's an opportunity I'm glad I made the decision to take.

What aspect did you find most challenging?

The most challenging  aspect of coaching in China was Accepting the levels the players were at. The NBA has a done a fantastic job at making basketball global, especially in China. However, in some ways, it has also indirectly hurt Chinese players; they only see what NBA players are doing without any understanding of and capability to do the fundamentals. Academies such as USBA are crucial to the development of basketball in China. The most challenging part was coaching older players that I felt should be at a certain level and they weren't. The challenge came from me  comparing them to players from the US. I had to change my approach and ways of coaching and breaking down drills to the simplest form and language used so players can execute.

What did you learn?

Having the opportunity to coach in China, I learned a deeper appreciation for Basic fundamentals. Often times, coaches I feel, go straight to the drills/plays for the next game/team and overlook the Basics. Since back from China, I've made it a point to go check out some High School games and to see Varsity players doing left hand layups using the wrong foot or finish with two hands because they're unable to properly use their left hands is now more annoying to me than before.

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Steve Wolfson