Volunteer Coach Julian Griffith Finds Success On and Off the Court

YMCA AAU Youth Basketball Team celebrates a tournament win.

“My advice to anyone coaching at the Y is to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons,” says Julian Griffith, a coach for the Lionville Community YMCA Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball league for the last three years. “Don’t just be there for wins. The main purpose is to make a difference, regardless of the score. If you’re dedicated to giving time and effort to those kids, you see them become better players, and you know you’re doing the right job.”

Griffith began at the YMCA as a camp counselor after graduating from St. Joseph’s Prep in 2008. “Looking back at it, I never thought that I’d be at the Y that long, let alone that I’d make a big impact on a lot of kids’ lives,” Griffith explains. “I have had many parents come to me and say, ‘we love how our son or daughter interacted with you. They talk about you so much and we want to thank you for what you’ve done.’ It’s a lot of those kind words from families that kept me wanting to come back.”

Griffith grew up with basketball as the focal point of his life. He played for a year at St. Joseph’s Prep and several years in the AAU basketball league. His play became limited when he suffered a rotator cuff injury.

Like Griffith, you do not need to be a professional athlete to be a coach.

He grew up with the sport, but Y coaches just need to be willing to help. The YMCA provides all the tools necessary to make a successful coach, from training to providing lesson plans, but being passionate about what you are doing makes all the difference. “I love working with kids,” Griffith says, “that’s the main reason I came to the Y. It’s awesome to work with them and see them grow and prosper, bettering themselves and making good lifestyle changes.”

Griffith has a little more advice for future coaches, “Make sure you throw in some life lessons. I remind my kids that it takes hard work to get what you want. If you want to be lazy and not put your heart and soul into it, you’re not going to get what you want.”

“Finally,” Griffith continues, “you have to make sure you handle every person a little differently. Every child is different and learns differently. Some learn fast, some learn slowly, but if you’re able to help a child learn, they’ll want to play more, and you’ll know you’re doing the right thing.”

We are always looking for more awesome volunteer coaches. If interested, complete our volunteer coach interest form and a member of our sports team will be in touch soon!