“Asking better questions leads us to better solutions. The principles and tools you read about are just that – principles and tools. How we apply them is the art of coaching!”
Chapter 12 Reflection: When was a time you realized you did something the wrong way? How did that hurt your overall development and progression? Looking back, what could you have done differently to realize a better outcome?
Postgame conversations. You strive as a coach to be as consistent as possible, in response or reaction. Following games can be a volatile mindset for everyone in the locker room. There have been instances after games where I have been frustrated to the extent where I have gone into the locker room and spoke out of emotion, rather than rationality. While I don’t think this hurts my overall development as a coach because it creates experiences that I can draw from to improve. It certainly isn’t constructive for me or our program. The expectation following games – win or lose – is to be succinct in general response and mention what is next on the schedule.
For example, if we win, “That’s a great job tonight of competing together and putting together two strong halves of basketball. We have things that we can take from tonight that we can improve upon, so tomorrow at 3:30 let’s be locked in ready to get better!”
And if we lose, “Tonight we got away from a few (reference points of emphasis or keys-to-game) of our concepts, and for too long. Good teams competing for playoff contending opportunities have to find ways to get back on track being resilient in what we do best. Let’s make sure we don’t waste any time strengthening what we do best as a team tomorrow when we hit the floor at 3:30 after school.”
My preference is to ensure that we recognize a win, or acknowledge a loss while identifying ways to improve despite the result. These are just sample messages following games that I prefer (tend) to utilize, however following tough losses or poor nights of effort emotions can cloud your better judgment.
“Effective does not always equal beneficial. What this means is that just because something is effective does not mean that it will be beneficial for the person. Starving yourself will lead to weight loss, but is not a beneficial way to lose weight! Screaming, punishing, and controlling players can lead to more wins, but it will not develop character and leadership.”
Chapter 13 Reflection: What are some of the beliefs and behaviors you could purge to evolve into a transformational coach?
Body language and consistency in choice of words. I am a firm believer that culture-to-court success is predicated on the system that you build. A system in my definition is the culmination of characteristics tangible and intangible that embodies the program. From locker room signs, off-season development, or the language used to coordinate scheme. Everything comes into play developing culture and consistency in how we operate.
An area where I can continue to improve (or purge) is in the body language or word choice that potentially contradicts any of those characteristics our program strives to represent. Our program identifies with being together; it is my responsibility to demonstrate trust in us and limit word choice of “I” or “You.” Our style of play is to encourage pace with freedom of play based on the expectations of our shot selection. If my body language suggests frustration following a quality possession with a missed field goal attempt, it could be perceived as contradicting to what we preach. These are just a few examples, however in the grand scheme of things if we are looking to build a system that creates transparency of expectations and execution to be successful then everything comes into play. The best programs that I have been a part of there was little question of what we do and how we do it. That clarity gave players the freedom to play limiting the amount of concentration spent on what they’re supposed to do, rather than exploiting other teams attempting to disrupt us.
“If you want to be a transformational leader – if you want to call people up – it takes a high standard of communication, both verbal and with your body language.”
Chapter 14 Reflection: Who is the most inspirational leader in your life? How do they call up others?
Inspiration comes from my family. My father with simplicity in character. My mother with a dedication to her craft demonstrating risk-taking of what drives her. A brother that will challenge any of my doubts or internal struggles. A wife that takes is ready to co-pilot any adventure at all times.
“Raising the standard of your communication starts with love. Stop telling them where they need to go as people; lead them there!”