Interview with Rocky Parise, Elizabethtown HS ed note: LLhoops.com
re-introduces Rocky Parise..Rocky is currently in his second year with
Etown HS.. LLhoops thought it might be interesting to get some insights
to how a coach deals with his/her summer program. ~ Dell Jackson
1) How do you plan out your summer
Being at a school like E-Town, the
first thing I do is contact the football coach to make sure our schedules
don't conflict too much. The second thing I do is to talk to
our players' AAU coaches to see if I can work around their schedules
as well. This is the world we live in today, and, to be stubborn
and not work around conflicts would hurt our team and our players.
After I figure out which days work
best, I schedule our weight lifting, open gyms, workouts, summer league,
and team camp. As a novice head coach, I have learned that the
quicker I get things scheduled, the more likely we are to have good
This has all been trial and error
for me as we never really had a set off-season
workout regimen before. However, I'm starting to see what works
and what doesn't work, which just comes with experience.
2) Do your players play AAU?
I have been trying to get our players
involved more and more with AAU. I want to make sure they are
with the right program and a coach who will help them. We have
had very positive results so far with Larry Locker playing for someone
I respect a ton in Doug Kraft. I also placed a very talented
incoming Freshman we have, Luke Pierson,
with a close friend of mine and former Lower Dauphin Head Coach, Mark
Hofsass. I have tried to get our younger
players involved as well, but a lot of them have been reluctant due
to playing a spring sport, which I completely understand.
I embrace the AAU movement and people
need to understand that playing an extra season of basketball puts
those guys so far ahead of the competition, that they are ready to
play High School basketball at a much earlier age than in the past.
The High School teams that have the most players, who play AAU, are
usually the best, that's just a reality.
3) What is the balance between workouts
and playing games?
This is something I am very passionate
about. In the past, we have had players who can't make it to
any open gyms, weightlifting or workouts, but their schedule is magically
clear for summer league. It's very frustrating. I would
rather see a player, if he can only make 1 night per week, go to an
open gym. The reason? In a game, he will spend 30 min
driving to the game, 1 hour at the game and 30 min driving home.
In that 2-hour time, he will have taken MAYBE 5 shots and played 20
minutes of basketball. Compare that to an open gym where they
are getting at least 100 shots, working on skills and playing for
a full 2 hours. It's not complicated to figure out.
I do feel you need all 3 to become
a better player and a better team: Weights/Open Gyms/Summer League.
The players who also believe in that philosophy have improved immensely
over the past 3 months and have overtaken the kids who rarely show
up. It's been a good life lesson for our players...the harder
you work the better you are. Not very complicated.
4) What do you think is most important
aspect of player development in the off-season?
There is no 1 important aspect.
It's the combination of the 3 I stated above: Weights/Open Gyms/Summer
League. As a new Head Coach last year taking over a program
that never had a weight lifting program, that was my main focus.
I had to figure that all out and get that moving. So if you
asked me last year, weight lifting was a main focus.
However, this year it's just the
buy in. We have had really good, talented players buy in to
working hard and getting better for the sake of the team/program.
There are some that are on the fence, and I feel that those guys need
to decide if they are in or out, because we are moving along regardless.
After a tough year last year, for
a group of guys to work hard for 2 to 3 months and see the results
by having success in the Spooky Nook Summer League was really cool
to see. Bigger programs and schools that are successful year
in and year out don't have to worry about wins in the off
season...but we do. Going 7-1 in the Nook League was
huge for our program and our kids and it meant a lot to us.
Hopefully we can carry that confidence over into the season.
Bonus: How do you balance hoops, work
and family during the summer? :)
It's really difficult. I'm not going
to lie. You can email Ang(my wife) and that could be an entirely separate interview!
However it is a little easier as a Head Coach, because I coordinate
with her first before I even call the football or AAU coaches!
As an assistant, you are kind of at the mercy of the schedule.
I have had to leave family vacation 3 days early 2 years in a row
now for team camp. That's difficult but everyone is very supportive.
I know it's a good example of work ethic for my sons Ryan and Dylan,
who are involved in all aspects of that, but hopefully it's a good
example to our players that you have to sacrifice fun sometimes to
achieve your goals.
Work is business as usual during
the summer. All of our workouts are either at night or early
in the morning, so it never overlaps with my job. I'm blessed
to work for such a great. local, community
oriented company in Donegal Insurance, that encourages me and empowers
me to be a leader in our community and make a difference in our student
Interview with Rocky Parise,
ed note: LLhoops.com re-introduces Rocky Parise..Rocky is currently in his second year with Etown HS.. LLhoops thought it might be interesting to get some insights to how a coach deals with his/her summer program.
~ Dell Jackson