Tutelage From Magic’s Coaches Helps Orlando-Area Youth Basketball Coaches Become Better Team Leaders

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

ORLANDO - To be a great player, one must learn from other great players, through watching them and mimicking their daily habits.

The same applies to coaching. To be a great coach, one must learn from other great coaches, which will help them maximize their team’s potential and gain more respect from their players.

That in mind, there are now close to 50 youth coaches from the Orlando area more prepared to achieve those things with the basketball teams and players they lead, thanks to the Orlando Magic’s entire coaching staff sharing their extensive knowledge with them.

On Friday on the practice court at Amway Center, the Magic’s coaches, including first-year head coach Jamahl Mosley, ran a clinic for coaches from the Jr. Magic Basketball Leagues, The National Basketball Academy (TNBL), and Orange County Public Schools (OCPS). From explaining to them in-game strategies to providing some insight on how to better connect with players, the Magic’s coaches were extremely thorough throughout the seminar.

“It is so huge. We talked about from the beginning of the year, the fundamentals of the game, and that’s where it starts,” Mosley said. “It starts with the young kids and the young coaches being able to teach the fundamentals of the game, playing the right way, and just being in that team setting and understanding how each person makes the next one better.”

With sports such an important aspect of a child’s physical and mental health, the Magic recently announced a partnership with OCPS’ middle school basketball program with the featured tagline – The 2022 OCPS Middle School Basketball Season powered by the Orlando Magic. The season tipped off in January and will culminate with a championship game for both girls' and boys' teams played in March. As part of the partnership, the Magic will provide support this season to the 47 middle school basketball programs in OCPS through a variety of activities and events including in-game activations, Friday’s coaches' clinic, and league initiatives for the youth.

Those who have been following the Magic these last few weeks know what good leadership can do for the psyche and spirit of a team. The Magic have significantly improved as the season has evolved, largely because the coaches have instilled confidence in the players while raising the enthusiasm in the locker room.

Great coaches do a lot more than just teach fundamentals and game tactics. Connecting with players is just as critical, and that’s something that Mosley and his staff have clearly excelled at since coming on board last summer.

Mosley learned from many great coaches and mentors over the years as an assistant for three different teams. In Denver, where he got his start in the NBA, he worked under George Karl, a four-time All-Star Game coach. Then in Cleveland, he got to pick the brains of both Byron Scott and Mike Brown, the 2008-09 NBA Coach of the Year and now the associate head coach under Steve Kerr with the Warriors. The last several years in Dallas, he absorbed a ton of knowledge from Rick Carlisle, now at the helm in Indiana.

“His attention to detail, the way he focused in on game plans. He’s always just done a great job of focusing on the little things. That’s one thing he’s always been good that,” Mosley said about Carlisle before his Magic played the Pacers on Wednesday. “So, I’ve learned that from him. He’s always been so transparent about what’s going on within the team, within the league – and that’s helped me out so much.”

Youth coaches of every sport play a huge part in children’s lives. Not only are they the first source of information about the sport at hand, but they become critical role models for kids. NBA players often credit their youth coaches for the guidance they provided while they were attending basketball camps and playing on recreation, school, and travel teams.

“I still talk to my coaches that coached me from when I was ten years old up to sixteen, eighteen,” said Franz Wagner, who grew up in Germany before coming to America to play at the University of Michigan. “I think in those early years, you learn discipline (and) you learn habits that if they are good, they are going to carry over. I think definitely what I learned early on has helped me get here, so I’m super thankful...Those habits that you build will carry over for the whole career.”

Earlier this week, in celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, leaders from the Magic and AdventHealth visited Maitland Middle School prior to their girls' home basketball game to speak to both teams (Maitland Middle and Howard Middle) about leadership and highlighting the value and importance of women in sports. Magic Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw, Magic Senior Vice President of Marketing and Social Responsibility Shelly Wilkes and AdventHealth Strategic Partnerships representative Rachel Anderson spoke about their experiences and shared their advice. The visit was also part of the Her Time To Play initiative in partnership with AdventHealth providing girls ways to connect, collaborate, and actively engage with one another through the game of basketball. Her Time To Play is a national grassroots initiative created by the WNBA and NBA to inspire the next generation of girls, ages 7-14, to play basketball in a positive and healthy way. This national initiative is dedicated to championing change on behalf of girls and women through the platform of basketball.