We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexey Koyfman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexey , as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for your children?
I think that the biggest impact on my son was for him to be able to see me in a different light than his father. That opportunity came when I became his basketball coach. Basketball is a team sport and I have never played a team sport. Since I am an introvert, I love meditation sports like surfing and lifting weights. Every now and then I play pickup basketball. Coaching a team sport for boys was a challenge. But I do love a challenge! I decided to coach basketball when I signed up my six-year-old son to play basketball. I saw that there were plenty of kids who wanted to play, however, there was a shortage of parents volunteering to be coaches. I quickly realized that the relationship between a player and a coach can be quite different than the interactions between a father and a son. As a coach, I must display fairness for all the players. Other players on the team and their parents pick up on whether you give your child more playtime on the court or any other preferential treatment. My strategy was to be very firm towards my own child, so that the other players would have nothing else to do but to live up to higher standards themselves. For example, I made my son sit on the bench when he would make mistakes on the court, just as I would with other any other player. One time, I took him out of the game and made him do pushups in front of other players and parents because he would not follow directions. It takes time for the players to start playing together as a team. It is my job as a coach, to make sure that players become comfortable and start trusting each other. It also takes time for parents to realize that it is a team sport and start cheering for other players on the team. I realized that there are three reasons players do not follow coach’s directions: players are physically not capable of making the play, players are stubborn and think they know best, and players have a mental block and are scared. I always told the boys: “Play your very best and aim for the stars (and the hoop, of course!)” For a six-year-old boy the rewards of playing on the team are to make friends, increase confidence, and improved ball handling. A few players lay a foundation of developing their leadership skills. At this age, leadership qualities are expressed in a subtle way. For example, if certain players do not understand the drill, a player can start showing leadership by helping players who are struggling. I heard a great podcast with Sam Walker that completely changed my view of the leaders on sports teams. https://www.tonyrobbins.com/podcasts/part-captain-class/ Sam Walker wrote a book: The Captain Class: A New Theory of Leadership. https://www.amazon.com/Captain-Class-New-Theory-Leadership/dp/0812987071 That podcast expanded my view on the leaders in sport teams. We all know well that there are players that lead by example like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. They play very well but often times do not pass the ball to others because they want to show off. I am not against that. Spectacular plays keep basketball arenas full. Unfortunately, if one of those superstars gets injured, it can slow the team’s momentum. This happened with Golden State Warriors after Kevin Durant’s Achilles injury. An underdog team that played a more solid basketball without superstars – Toronto Raptors – won the 2019 championship. From talking to my son, I realized that the biggest challenge boys face is mental. Boys are scared when they face an opponent they perceive to be better than them. The team is not playing its best in those situations. As a coach, it is my job to break through that mental barrier. Help from the leader within a team is crucial and necessary in those situations. This encouragement does not have to come from the team’s star but from whoever is willing to cheer up the team. At that time, I can see the roots of leadership take place. Seeing those interactions between players makes it was worth my time being a coach.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
During the last year Koyfman Photo branched out into logo design and creating animated logos. (https://www.koyfmanphoto.com/logo.html) We also started to create animations. (https://www.koyfmanphoto.com/animation.html) The animations were used by startups and a non-profit organization for raising funds. It is much easier to depict a product and service in an animation. I also started creating and managing YouTube Channels for my clients. I was very surprised how certain videos get a lot of views. I was under impression that attention span for viewers was short. However, I was surprised to find that 25% of the people finish watching the eighteen minutes tour of Carnes Brothers Funeral Home in Galveston. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIeqdfdpwxg) I realized that people are searching for educational and entertaining content on the web. I also learned that the YouTube video thumbnail make a huge difference.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
When my friends came to visit me, we went to Kemah boardwalk. We also visited Galveston Island and Museum District in Houston. There are a few local hidden jewels in Galveston like Shykatz café and Shrimp ‘N Stuff. Miller Outdoor Theater at Hermann Park in Houston puts on great musical performances.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am very grateful to the Toastmasters International Organization. I was a member in three clubs: Medically Speaking Toastmasters in Houston, Coastal Island Toastmasters in Galveston, and Spaced out Toastmasters in Clear Lake. I met a lot of wonderful people in those clubs. Toastmasters improved my public speaking skills, boosted my confidence, and gave me the courage to start my own business. I would also like to thank Voyage Houston, Donna Stevenson and Tracy Allen Hanes for their help and support.
The Photo of the basketball team with the Patriots logo was taken by Gene Schwartz. The other two photos showing a basketball game were taken by Anton Sizov.