The Kuzbyt sisters were mean coaches, they admit, but it paid off.
"The boys worked really, really hard and that’s why they ended up winning," said Amanda Kuzbyt, 27. "That’s what we told them from when we started in the playoffs. It can be done."
Amanda Kuzbyt and her sister Kerri, 18, coached the 12-Boys Corydon Comets basketball team this past spring. The team was unsuccessful during the regular season, coming in eighth out of nine teams.
They ended up playing their way into playoffs, but once they were in, nothing could stop them. The team ended up winning gold, beating the top teams in their league.
Kerri said after the first couple of games in the regular season, they were worried.
"We practised so hard, and they’d get it in practice but when it got applied to a game, all of it got thrown out the window," said Kerri. "I just thought ‘what do we do with these boys?’ So we started running."
"We started the running and they didn’t like practices so much after a while," added Amanda. "There were a lot of sprints and a lot of pushups."
When someone on the team missed shots, or didn’t do a layup properly, or wasn’t paying attention, the player and then eventually the whole team would be assigned pushups. Kerri and Amanda said the boys enjoyed it, though, and soon they would bargain how many pushups they would have to do.
If the shot was made, the team wouldn’t have to do the pushups but if not, it was double.
"They were always very positive about it," said Kerri. "They were just great kids to work with. They worked hard, especially when it came to playoffs, and they had fun, which of course is the most important thing."
As for how the sisters came to decide to coach the team, they have their own accolades and years of experience to bring to the table.
Kerri, who graduated from Sisler High School, was voted top girls basketball player and provincial athlete in 2012 and now plays guard for the University of Winnipeg Wesmen while she studies Kinesiology and Education.
Though Amanda didn’t play basketball, she watched their brother and Kerri play, and watched their father coach. She also recorded stats for her siblings, and now works at an entertainment company in Osborne Village.
"I really wanted (to coach) guys," said Kerri, who played boys’ basketball until the age of 12, when she was forced to play with girls’.
"Women’s is less competitive at that age," said Amanda. "Depending on what age you get to, a lot of the time it becomes secondary to ‘I got to check my phone,’ or ‘I’ve got to do this,’ and girls fall into that trap a lot quicker than guys do."
Plus, she feels coaching boys gives her some room to be tougher.
"That’s another thing, you can be meaner to boys," said Amanda.
"I just really wanted to be hard," said Kerri. "I feel that they get more out of it."
Though they can’t coach during the winter because of Kerri’s school and training
schedule with the Wesmen, both of the sisters are up for coaching again next spring.