We caught up with Todd Shelton, Director of Basketball Operations for North Texas Men’s Basketball, to get some insight on coaching and basketball. One things we love about Todd is he always keeps it real. After working at every level in basketball, spanning from Texas high school basketball to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Todd shares some great perspective on accountability, coaching and technology.
Q&A with Todd Shelton, North Texas Men’s Basketball
How do you effectively equip student-athletes for life without handing everything to them?
I think is a fine line. You have to make kids accountable and let them know there will be consequences for negative actions. Disciplining kids is how I keep them accountable. After so much discipline, sometimes it is time to move on from a kid, but I want to give the kid every opportunity before that happens. Sometimes I create responsibility contracts to ensure they know I mean business.
What motivates you to coach?
I coach because I love kids. I love the game of basketball. I’ve always worked with kids since I was in high school, student teaching, coaching high school athletics, and now college athletics. When you do something you love, you will never work a day in your life—95% of the time this motto applies to me and my job. I would also like to make it to the highest level of college basketball that I can – probably the Big 12. The Higher you work your way up the more you are able to provide for you family.
How have you seen technology change during your career and it’s importance?
I was born in 1978 (which is the best decade to be born in my opinion). I’ve seen the invention of the internet, social media, email, cell, TeamSynced, and basketball video software (HUDL, Krossover, Synergy). Heck, I even had a black and white television. I was able to adapt and learn how to use these tools to be successful. Coaches before me sometimes aren’t technology savvy, and sometimes the new generation relies too much on technology. If coaches aren’t aware of the latest technology their programs will eventually suffer.
What advice do you offer young coaches who are trying to differentiate themselves from the next guy?
- Network – get to know as many coaches as you can and treat them all with the same respect.
- Do all of the little jobs the same way you would do the most important ones.
- Find a mentor.
- Cause someone to believe in you as a person which will lead to an opportunity.
- Learn a trade that the people around you don’t have. For example: Photoshop, video, technology, graphic design.