“If your momma told ya don’t chase a car between two parked cars, you just don’t do it. But, if you got to learn from experience by chasing that ball you might end up … getting hit by a car.”

–Coach John Chaney, Hall of Fame Teacher at Temple University

Legends, Coach George Raveling with Coach John Chaney talking shop. Great soundbite from Coach Chaney on learning from experience and the risks you take having to learn from experience. If 8 and half minutes is too long, fast forward to the 8 minute mark and find out why Coach John Chaney says he pioneered the coaching strategy of pulling his guys off the free throw line to end the game.

Conversations with Coach: John Chaney Part IV from George Raveling on Vimeo.

Coach Chaney identifies that sometimes learning from experience can be risky behavior. But, at the same time he became a better coach that day when he put his guys on the free throw line up 1 with less than a second remaining leading to an eventual over the back call that allowed the other team free throws to win the game. That experience taught him in the future to prevent the risk of fouling and giving the opponent an opportunity to score during that situation, that it would be best to pull all his players off the line. Not to over-analyze the quote provided by Coach Chaney, but I think it is something to be said that improving as a coach comes from improving in risk management. Finding a way to limit the amount of risk you take as a coach, but still provide your players and staff the best opportunity to be efficient and successful is a developed skill.  As you know experiential learning may result in absorbing the most risk (i.e. getting hit by a car), but also the most reward. Coach Chaney says there has to be other alternatives to learning than through experience. So, there has to be an alternative to mitigating the amount of risk you face as a coach that doesn’t leave you with victory or defeat from one costly play. At that same time, when placed in the same situation you can’t let risk paralyze your decision-making. That’s why we played the game, and that is why we look forward to coaching it in the future because it is risks we embrace on the court that we hope as coaches teach our students to transfer to their decision-making abilities in life off the court.


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