USADSF Spotlight with Noah - USA Deaf Basketball Head Coach, Jimmy Newsome

Noah: Hello! Welcome to USADSF Spotlight with Noah. I am Noah Valencia. Today, we will interview a guest who is currently a coach for the USA Men’s Deaf Basketball National Team. His name is Jimmy Newsome. He led his team to winning Gold at the World Deaf Basketball Championship in Poland. It was the first ever victory for the USA on the World Championship level. So, we will interview him to understand how he led his team to victory and what is his vision for the team from this point on.

Image: Head Coach Jimmy Newsome with World Deaf Championship Trophies and a Gold medal.

Noah: With this disruption of COVID-19, how do you motivate your players?

Jimmy: Really, honestly, I do not have any dramatic response. It is very simple. The USA national basketball team is the highest level of competition. If my players cannot motivate themselves, there is no point for them to be on the team. In the last World Championship we went, the USA wasn’t ranked number one in the world, they were ranked lower. We climbed, which was tough to do so, and we won the championship. But it is known that it is much harder to stay on the top as the number one than climbing up the rankings so the information of it is enough to truly motivate the players. It should be more than enough to motivate players and get them fired up. It should.

Noah: Very true. How did you bring your team to success?

Jimmy: Me and my assistant coach, Jeff Ploederl, we both told players that we know how to win the championship. But who does the work, it is the players. First, It is important that each player must believe in the idea of “I can”. The talk does not work, it depends on your action, what you do in the practices, and everyday life. You must show it that you really believe in the fact that we can win the championship. If that is the case, we will earn success. Secondly, the players must buy into the system. When the coach tells you to do it and the player nods their head, that will not work. There are always various goals on a team, it can be starting from A to B or A to C, with different goals. There’s different paths and goals. If all players on the team agree on one same route with the same goal, the chances of being successful will be much higher. Once the team becomes disconnected, we cannot win anything. So that is important that the players buy in. Thirdly, I explained this to the team, each one of you as an individual is an ‘I’. The people always say that there is no ‘I’ on the team, that is not true. As I explained before, we have 13 ‘I’ on the team. Each player on the team is unique where they create their own role. They are their own ‘I’ until they become connected with another ‘I’ which will create a letter of ‘T’. Excellent. Similar rules apply to ‘E’, it requires 4 ‘I’ to create the letter. It is a combination of the players. The team must be connected. Then it’ll lead the team to success.

Noah: Three things that you mentioned are truly essential. What qualities are you looking for when searching for players that fit the team.

Jimmy: The key quality that I look for, from my players is buying into the system, of my philosophy of the game and my goals. If I see that they do not believe in my system or buy in, then success will be difficult. Role Play is another quality I look for in my players, the role that each player contributes to the team. We cannot have everyone who wants to shoot all the time or play his game, this cannot happen. I have to evaluate each player and identify their strengths that will fit in with the team. The bottom line, players must be coachable. I know people talk about that all the time but it is a true fact that if a player cannot be coachable then it is not going to work.

Noah: Coachable is the key, yes I agree. Do you have any advice for future coaches or

Jimmy: My advice, specifically, actually I have two..One, is: Do Not PRETEND. You need to be yourself as a coach, as a player, as a manager or whoever your role is. Do not pretend to be someone else. Be yourself. Be honest with yourself. The last philosophy (advice) I have is “Live the game of basketball, do not survive it” You know when you play the game, feeling unsure or hesitant of what to do, you become very reactive. No No. I want my players to attack the game. Live the game, Play the game. Force your opponents to play your game, and be yourself.

Noah: Yes, Remember to live the game, not to survive the game.

IMAGE: Head Coach Jimmy Newsome reviews plays with his players during a Time Out during the World Deaf Basketball Championships.

Noah; I want to thank Jimmy Newsome for his time for the interview. I really enjoyed it.

Until then, so long.

Jimmy: GO USA!

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