Trevor Lampman was coaching AAU basketball at RockIt Sports in the West End of Richmond when he first met the Henderson’s. Faith Henderson, now a Powhatan High School junior and a third-year varsity player, had come to play in the organization.
Lampman not only had the opportunity to coach Faith and her Powhatan varsity teammate Kayla Terry, but he also helped them improve.
Kristy Henderson, Powhatan’s head varsity girls basketball coach and Faith’s mom, saw the improvement both players made under Lampman’s leadership and the team’s tutelage.
So when the head coaching position on Powhatan’s JV girls basketball team came open this year, Kristy asked Lampman about it, and Lampman had been wanting to get back into high school coaching.
“Having practices five days, six days a week before games … that’s just more of my style,” he said. “I like being able to really coach. I want to teach.”
He’s now part of Powhatan’s girls basketball program.
“It’s been a while since I’ve coached high school, so it’s exciting. It’s a great place to be,” Lampman said. “Kristy’s a great coach. They’re great kids. I’m excited about the future and what lies ahead this year and for years to come.”
Lampman coached for nine years at the Division I level. He started as a graduate assistant at Winthrop University in Rockville, South Carolina, then went to Western Carolina University and eventually High Point University. Wanting to spend more time with his family, he finished off his collegiate coaching career at Winston-Salem State. He worked his way up from assistant to recruiting coordinator.
Lampman got his first high school varsity job at Cannon School in Concord, North Carolina, where he said he had the honor and privilege to coach McDonald’s All-American Krista Gross, who was recruited by top Division I schools and went on to play for the University of North Carolina.
In addition to coaching at Powhatan, Lampman is also a teacher in Chesterfield County.
For the Indians’ new JV coach, it’s been great getting to work with Kristy, as well as with the two new varsity assistants, Madison Howdyshell and her fiancée Brock Geiman, who have also joined Powhatan’s program this year.
While Lampman’s 2020-21 JV team is young – featuring mostly eighth graders, one sophomore with limited playing experience and a couple of freshmen who played on last year’s undefeated middle school team – he said that the players are good kids, they’re eager to learn, they work hard and they seem to enjoy playing the game.
“They’re cheering each other on and they seem to like each other quite a bit,” Lampman said. “They have a lot to learn, but it’s fun when you get kids like that, because you can watch them grow quickly.”
For Lampman, improvement comes with the willingness to be pushed outside of your comfort zone. He pointed out that there’s a period of failure before success.
“The kids who are not willing to be pushed out of their comfort zone do not advance at the same rate as the kids who are just like: ‘This means I’m going to fail – I’m going to fail, I’m going to fail, I’m going to fail, I’m going to fail – and then all of a sudden, on that 100th try, boom! It goes right,” and it might be another 50 tries before you do it right the second time, Lampman said. But from there, “they excel, they take off, they soar, and then it becomes, ‘All right, what else can you teach me?’”
Lampman stressed the importance of mental toughness – of grit.
“I think mental toughness has to be developed if they don’t have it already, and I think that’s just so crucial for life,” he said. “If human beings have grit, they will endure the failures, they will endure the tears, they will endure the frustration, and then…one day they’re going to be rewarded with that ‘Eureka!’ moment…and it’s a great joy to watch when kids get there.”
He strives to see in others what they don’t see in themselves right now. That includes letting the kids know how good they can be and/or what role they can excel in, as well as giving them new challenges and new skills to learn and develop.
He added that the girls play so much better if they get along off the court and have a connection with each other.
“If they’re having fun and they’re excited about it, they’re going to be so much better than if they’re just showing up, punching the clock and then leaving,” he said. “When kids are hanging out, they’re going to the mall, they’re going to each other’s houses, you see that there’s actually a friendship between multiple kids on the team…if kids are playing for one another and they’ve got each other’s backs, if they are genuinely excited about somebody else’s success on their team, then you start to see a lot of success.”
He tells the girls on his team that the goal this season is to improve every day. If they’re doing drills, they want to do them with more efficiency or more speed on Tuesday than on Monday. At the end of every practice, he’ll name a player of the day; they’ll talk about why she’s player of the day, and it usually has to do with what she did better today compared to the day before.
To Lampman, what matters is that the girls continuously progress.
“Do we get better from quarter to quarter? Do we ever stop battling? Do we ever stop fighting? Do we ever stop working on the things we need to work on to get better in the long run?” Lampman said, adding: “Our role as a JV coach is to help them get ready for varsity and help them be a better ball player, to help them enjoy it more, to help them be efficient in all ways, just to help expand their game.”
One major challenge of coaching a new team during the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is not knowing what the schedule will ultimately look like from day to day. After watching college teams postpone and/or cancel contests, Lampman said “you wonder as a coach how many games we’re actually going to get in a season.”
But he added: “We’re going to attack each day like the games are going to go on, and if they don’t, we’ll keep practicing.
“Hopefully the kids will get an opportunity to compete. It’d be a shame for them to work as hard as they’ve been working and not have a chance to put on a uniform and actually play in a game at some point.”
He said they wash hands during breaks in practices, and he makes sure that they’re keeping distance off the court and wearing their masks properly.
“Other than that, we’re just trying to practice as normal, follow the guidelines we’ve been told to follow.”
Even if the team only gets to play a handful of games this season, Lampman is overjoyed for the girls that they are getting the chance to play.
Their season tentatively begins on Saturday, Jan. 9 at home versus L.C. Bird with JV playing at 5:45 p.m. and varsity at 7:15 p.m.