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Tommy Amaker: Make Fun A Priority

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Tommy Amaker (@HarvardBBall), a PCA National Advisory Board Member, has been Harvard's head basketball coach since 2007 after serving as head coach at Michigan and at Seton Hall. His college basketball career began at Duke, where Amaker started at point guard for all four years, leading the team to four NCAA tournaments and the 1986 Championship game. He was the 1987 winner of the Henry Iba Corinthian Award as the nation’s top defensive player, and he was enshrined in the Duke Athletic Hall Of Fame in 2001. His playing career also includes a gold medal as part of the U.S. national team at the 1986 World Championships.

When asked by parents and coaches how to keep kids involved in basketball, Amaker tells them he hopes the kids are having fun, because that's the best way to ensure a kid will want to play the next season. If the fun aspect is at the forefront, kids will be motivated, work hard, and enjoy themselves.

Fun is a part of his own team's mentality at Harvard. As he says here, "We work too hard at this to not have fun at it." Amaker says this is even more critical for young athletes. An environment focused on fun allows kids to enjoy what they're doing and want to come back, so they can fully embrace the life lessons from sport.