Cal Poly men’s basketball coach Joe Callero says he’s coaching more than just players on a basketball team, he’s coaching people to be better in their everyday lives. In pushing his players to be better people, Callero is giving them lessons on how to be thankful for the work put in by a teammate, how to accept a compliment and how to say ‘thank you.’
One way Callero does this is by encouraging the players to slap hands with each other after a free throw, when one player leaves the court and another enters or when simply wanting to say ‘good game.’
“At the end of every practice, we have a circle and I pick out two players and they have to compliment somebody else on the team, what somebody did well in practice. That doesn’t make you weak to praise somebody,” he said. “People like to hear that they’ve done a good job and we’ve got guys that are doing really good jobs. It sounds elementary, but it’s true.”
A coach who likes to lead by example, Callero set up a Twitter account in early June to begin what he called “a new era in Cal Poly men’s basketball.” The main purpose of his Twitter account is to promote the basketball team, encourage his players and show the rest of the world how proud he is of his team and their progress. He hopes that by setting up his account, players will jump on the praise bandwagon.
“I think that it’s the way I want them to treat other people,” he said. “When they get a chance, praise other people.”
In the process of it all, Callero hopes the players not only hold on to the life skills taught by the coaches, but that they will also form a lasting relationship between coach and player.
“What you want to have, when they get done with their career that they feel like you’re going to be on e-mail and phone contacts forever. You may not talk to players for two or three years and they call you up, they e-mail you, ‘Coach, let me give you an update. I’m getting married; can you come to the wedding?’ ‘Coach, I just had my second kid,’ ‘Coach, here’s a player I want you to look at,’” he said.
“It’s all about the people and those relationships. I love basketball, but I’m coaching David Hanson. I’m coaching Lorenzo Keeler. I’m coaching the players as people and then basketball’s there.”

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