The Final Four is one of the best weekends of the year. Unfortunately, there will be no Final Four this year. This, like a lot of other things currently going on, is unprecedented. Ever since I can remember I have been captivated by the Final Four. As a kid I wanted to play in the Final Four. As a coach my dream is to coach in the Final Four. I have not done either, but I have attended the Final Four as a coach/spectator. As a coach, if you have not attended the Final Four it is definitely something to experience! Whether you go to the games or not; attending clinics, networking, and exploring the host-city are well worth the time.
I have attended three Final Fours. Each one being a unique experience in itself. I was supposed to go to Atlanta this year, which would have been my fourth Final Four. In my opinion, there are two ways to attend the Final Four.
As a Coach
As a Spectator
I will give you my perspective on each.
Attending the Final Four as a Coach
Let me start by saying this. If you have not attended the Final Four, you need to! The Final Four is a GREAT place to learn more about the game and network. There are a ton of professional development options available to coaches of all levels. Most of the coaches in attendance at the Final Four are college colleges. You do not need to be a college coach to take advantage of the learning opportunities at the Final Four. If you are a coach at any level it is a great place to network and learn.
The largest coaching clinic at the Final Four is put on by the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches). I have attended their convention in the past and would highly recommend it for anyone looking to continue their education as a coach. You can sign up to be a member of NABC to receive certain benefits and attend specific events. You do not need to be a member of NABC to attend their Final Four Convention. This convention has it all. There are booths set up with merchandise for sale, clinicians, and networking opportunities.
If you are an up-and-coming coach and looking to continue climbing the coaching ladder a great organization to look at is Rising Coaches. This organization was created in 2010 for young coaches looking to advance their careers and make a name for themselves in the coaching world. They were planning on hosting a Speaker Series and Social in Atlanta this year. This is a great organization to start following.
Attending the Final Four as a Spectator
The atmosphere surrounding the Final Four weekend is definitely one to experience! Every Final Four is unique depending on the host city. I have been to Indianapolis, Phoenix, and San Antonio. With each city offering a different experience. Your time can be whatever you make it out to be.
Other than attending clinics and networking, there are many other options to keep you busy. Fanfest and March Madness Music Festival are great events to attend especially if you have kids. Fanfest offers interactive games, celebrity appearances, autographs, and a lot more. The Music Festival is a fun event for those of all ages.
Each city offers something different and puts its own twist on the Final Four. Exploring the city, eating food, and learning about the history of the city are all things that should be on your “to-do list”.
Even though we didn’t have a Final Four this year there were still a lot of great learning opportunities. The coaching community came together to put on countless virtual clinics. To put some closure to the basketball season we even got One Shining Moment 2020 and if that isn’t enough to get your basketball fix you can watch every One Shining Moment.