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Column: St. Francis basketball coach Todd Wolfson is using Twitter to offer life lessons

St. Francis basketball coach Todd Wolfson
St. Francis basketball coach Todd Wolfson has won a state title, but he’s leaving another legacy _ helping inspire and teach with his tweets.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

The most valuable item in Todd Wolfson’s basketball office at La Cañada Flintridge St. Francis High is his mini-refrigerator packed with Perrier and Pellegrino. He always allows guests to quench their thirst on a hot day. The man knows his stuff.

Wolfson is also a very good high school basketball coach, having won a state title with West Hills Chaminade in 2014 and a regional title with St. Francis in 2020.

At 37, he’s straddling Millennials and Generation Z, making him perfectly suited to be Southern California’s newest advice specialist.

Perhaps he needs to start a Twitter column called “Dear Todd.”

All it takes is a look at his Twitter feed (@SFHShoops) to understand the impact he‘s having offering life and basketball lessons to coaches, players and followers.

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He’s committed to speaking honestly.

FYI: Just because a college coach follows you on social media or likes your tweet … doesn’t mean they are recruiting you.

Wolfson said, “Since I was a high school player, I’ve felt people always want to tell you what you want to hear. I’m targeting people who want to hear the right things.”

Do coaches have favorites?

100%!

YES THEY DO!

They like the ones who show up on time, work hard, accept coaching, get it done in the classroom, work hard in practice, set the example & are athletes of high character. It’s easy to favor someone who does all the right things.”

Wolfson said he receives one or two direct messages a day from Twitter followers. Some tell him, “Hey, great stuff.” Others say, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He’s sticking with trying to be a teacher on social media, which means everyone has a different opinion.

Younger players on varsity:

You’re not going to be the best player on the team right away. The best way to get minutes …

Find a role.

Accept it.

Dominate it.”

Wolfson comes up with his ideas by talking with high school and college coaches. He writes down thoughts in his phone.

6 signs your athlete needs a break or just some time off:

1. Poor or worsening performance.

2. Mood changes.

3. Difficulty focusing.

4. Overreactions in games to team + refs.

5. No more joy after wins.

6. Grades suffering.

7. Constantly getting sick.

No days off mentality doesn’t work.

Wolfson said his job as a teacher and coach is to “help kids find their path.” Offering Twitter advice has become part of his calling in his eighth year at St. Francis.

Athletes:

Want to know the best supplement you can take for your brain, gut, anxiety & immune system?

SLEEP.

The more you get, the better student and athlete you will be. Stop laying in bed at night staring at someone else’s IG story.

The refrigerator in the St. Francis basketball office.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

It’s a challenging time to be a high school coach because too many athletes are willing to transfer if they disagree with a coaching decision or aren’t getting playing time. Patience is not part of some players’ and parents’ thinking.

Heard it many times.

‘I just need one offer.’

Then, when the student athlete gets that first offer, the narrative changes to ‘I need more offers.’

Stop worrying about the chase & find peace with what’s best for your future. Don’t settle, but stay realistic.

Wolfson’s pinned Tweet is his favorite. It’s why he teaches, coaches and works with young people trying make a difference.

Most high school athletes must understand:

20 years from now, no one will remember if you scored 20 points, scored three touchdowns etc. Everyone will remember how you treated others, teachers, staff+ the kind of person you were to your teammates, coaches + community.

Character first!

VIDEO | 06:36
LA Times Today: St. Francis basketball coach Todd Wolfson is using Twitter to offer life lessons

Watch L.A. Times Today at 7 p.m. on Spectrum News 1 on Channel 1 or live stream on the Spectrum News App. Palos Verdes Peninsula and Orange County viewers can watch on Cox Systems on channel 99.


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