By Tim Huether
On Dec. 7, one of the top basketball minds and speakers made an appearance at Bennett County schools to bring his message to students, coaches, parents and community members. Part of that message was that he wanted to see Bennett County become significant again and that after coming here last summer and having Bennett County kids attend one of his camps, they have grown on him.
Bertram was very blunt and honest in telling the gathering of parents and community that if they are not willing to do the things that needs to be done to improve the athletic programs and school spirit, they are wasting his time because he is a very busy person and could be home in Sioux Falls instead of in Martin. He said he did not have to be in Martin, but was there because he cared about the kids and wanted to see them get better.
Bertram met with the students and coaches during the day and brought up some of the things that were addressed by the students.
“You have a bunch of kids that want to make you proud,” said Bertram. “You have to be careful of what you tell your kids. You need to tell them three things: I’m proud of you, I love you, and what do you want to eat.”
The kids want more support, you to show more confidence, you to try to teach them a lesson and not just punish them, to sit down and try to help them with school work, take time to make more games, don’t be so pushy, be more encouraging and be more involved.
“Your kids made a very lasting impact on me this summer,” said Bertram. “I spent two days in Martin and I found the kids here were different. I saw a group of kids that wanted to get better. I got close to these guys and I promised them today that I am not going anywhere. I plan to check on these kids monthly.”
“If I’m invested that much and I don’t live here...you parents are the biggest factor,” continued Bertram. “Without you, it does not happen. I want you to start a group called the Warrior Way, driven by a parent’s group, student group and staff, and work together. I’m asking you to work your butts off to make it happen.”
Bertram said athletics are a way for the kids to do something positive.
“You are going to see your athletic programs get better and your school spirit will get better,” suggested Bertram.
He also told parents to let the coaches coach and to please be parents.
He challenged the audience to get out and support the kids at the games and said, “don’t be pocket parents.” He described pocket parents as those who sit off in small groups and talk about the players, coaches and others. He said the coaches need your help and support.
“One of the most important factors out there...you parents know of some kids who need support, who do not have support,” stated Bertram. “You need to support them too.”
Allan Bertram was the head boys’ basketball coach at Chamberlain High School, and is now the coordinator of the Sanford POWER Basketball Academy.
Bertram led Chamberlain to four South Dakota Class A state tournament appearances, five district titles, four region championships and six conference crowns in his 12 seasons as leader of the Cubs. He accumulated more than 225 victories and was named region coach of the year twice. Bertram has also served as Chamberlain’s middle and high school principal from 2010-14.
Bertram spent one year as the head boys’ basketball coach at Todd County High School, guiding his team to a conference championship during the 2001-02 season.
Also active as a coach for the Dakota Schoolers AAU program, Bertram developed South Dakota’s first college prospect camp and has run numerous team and individual camps throughout the region during the past decade.
The Sanford POWER Basketball Academy is a comprehensive player development program featuring private workouts, camps and clinics and team training options.