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Cobra Kai & Leadership

In Coaching, Leadership by Brock Bourgase

Watching Cobra Kai on Netflix, I was thinking about how this highly unrealistic show could be applied in the real world. Certainly, basketball coaches shouldn’t covert their clubs into gangs that brawl with their neighbourhood rivals but I thought of some other ideas and sent them to the Internet. Spoilers after the break.

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10 Changes

In Basketball, Coaching by Brock Bourgase

The lengthy off-season in 2020 was an opportunity for thorough reflection. After attending dozens of virtual clinics, talking to other coaches and reading, I’ve settled on ten ideas that I think complement my coaching philosophy and can be implemented for the next season. I was not seeking to make significant change but incremental improvements.

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Basketball Lessons

In Coaching, Leadership, Teaching by Brock Bourgase

After reflecting, I wanted to post some thoughts about how I feel regarding recent events in the news: One of the best aspects of basketball is the opportunity to compete with diverse people. When you play the sport long enough, you realize that anyone can play, irrespective of their background, gender or stature.  When you want to win, you pick up the players who will get buckets, no matter who they are.  Success on the court is earned by skill and effort, as it should be in life.

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Star Trek Leadership, Part VI: Chain of Command

In Star Trek Leadership by Brock Bourgase

The simmering Federation-Cardissian tensions come to a boil in “Chain of Command.” Edward Jellico replaces Jean-Luc Picard as captain of the Enterprise and everyone feels the stress from a rocky leadership transition. In this case, leaders can learn what not to do by noting the consequences of poor choices made by Starfleet and its officers. A conflict between Captain Jellico and Commander William Riker distracts from the key objectives, endangering millions of lives. Radical Honesty As the episode navigates towards the climax, Jellico needs an expert shuttle pilot for a dangerous mission. He speaks with every shuttle pilot onboard and …

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Accountable Athletes

In Leadership, Sports by Brock Bourgase

In the middle of the 2008 season, David Ross was cut by the Cincinnati Reds and thought that his professional baseball career may be over. He eventually signed to be a third-string catcher with the Boston Red Sox put played sparingly for the remainder of the season. After the team lost in the 2008 American League Championship Series, General Manager Theo Epstein told Ross that he had heard some rumours that the catcher was a bad teammate but added that he had not found this to be the case in Boston. Ross was concerned about his reputation: as a free …

Team Building on the Curling Sheet

In Mental Training, Sports by Brock Bourgase

With the last bonspiel of the curling season upon us, I wanted to discuss the evolution and improvement of Team Gushue over the past two seasons. While they ultimately fell short of their two major goals in 2018 – representing Canada at the Winter Olympics and repeating as World Champions – Brad Gushue’s rink achieved a level of consistency that only one other team (Niklas Edin) can match at the moment. Taking the next step to become two-time Canadian champions and frequent winners on the professional circuit required the Newfoundland curlers to address several areas of improvement off the ice. …

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Mental Training with Virtue & Moir

In Mental Training, Sports by Brock Bourgase

As coaches, we become myopic, scrutinizing every last detail of our own sport and ignoring, dismissing or perhaps even ridiculing other disciplines. On the surface, the attitude seems rooted in rationality. After all, how can a sport decided by judges be comparable to one which determines the winner based on points scored in a given time? Yet we should take a look around and see what is going on in the neighbouring pitch, rink or dojang. Improvement knows no boundaries. Firstly, we wouldn’t be coaches if we did not seek to fuse the objective with the subjective. Secondly, some of …

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Making the Most of High School Basketball

In High School Basketball, Teaching by Brock Bourgase

As September approaches, student-athlete and teacher-coaches are returning school and a new basketball season is upon us. Here are some little changes that coaches can make in order to develop players into responsible people. Coach the entire student-athlete so that they can make the most of their high school experience. It is unfair to expect teenagers to devote all their free time to a sport or one particular interest. Sports offer physical fitness, social interactions and fun and are a healthy part of the school experience, although levels of commitment will vary. Build Personal Connections with Players Get to know …

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Pre-Game & Pre-Practice

In Skill Development by Brock Bourgase

I’ve been thinking about effective pre-practice and pre-game routines and how players can maximize their preparation. A good routine should prevent injury, raise heart rate and mentally prime the athletes. It should be dynamic and challenging, not static and predictable. Take initiative to get better by creating a routine that can be practice during pre-practice, pre-practice and afterwards. Good Pre-Practice Routines… Recreate Games Take shots or perform moves that you use in games or manifest themselves in the offense that the team runs. If drills do not mimic competitions, they will not prepare athletes. Select a weakness that impacts your …

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Why We Compete

In Coaching by Brock Bourgase

Larry Bird once said that he “always hated seeing someone watch the ball roll out of bounds.” The quote summarizes a player who could do it all: shot, score, rebound, pass, dribble and defend. Although he was a superstar, Bird would hit the floor, dive into the stands, encourage his teammates and play through pain. From his parents, Bird learned to never take a day off – or in his case a play or a game. When describing Bird, players and coaches use words such as “grit,” “drive” and “competition.” To develop that legend, Bird had to apply that work …

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Bringing Team Culture to Life

In Coaching by Brock Bourgase

As a coach, I always aim to improve my communication skills. While I have a firm grasp on my philosophy, as well as the team culture and style of play that I want to see, it is nothing if I cannot get the message across. As John Wooden would say: “You haven’t taught until they have learned.” Emphasizing a team culture helps youth adopt a different mindset, assuming the dominant characteristics of the group. Character skills are malleable, like intellectual and athletic ability (Tough, 2012, p. 97). Key words can be repeated in huddles and used as positive self-talk. It …

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Pin Down Series Drills

In Drills by Brock Bourgase

When there is sufficient time and space, shooting percentage skyrockets. Use pin down screens to free shooters so they can take high percentage shots. Ray Allen Series (Pin Down A) Learning Goal: Learn how to use pin down screens away from the ball. Points of Emphasis: Stay low & balanced when cutting, using the screen & catching the ball. The cutter starts under the basket and prepares to use the screen. The cutter goes to the left side and curls around the cones in order and receives a pass. After shooting, the cutter goes to the other side and executes …

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Transferring the Summer to the Season

In Training by Brock Bourgase

Summer’s over, student-athletes are back in classes and high school practices will soon be underway. Many players spent a lot of hours working on their game, training and putting up shots. The next step is to transfer that hard work to the court and turn workouts into wins. Push Others to Get Better After working out throughout the summer, you have become a better player. But you are only one player and basketball teams demand rosters consisting of twelve athletes. Raise the level of those around you by showing teammates how to work out and encouraging them to join you …

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Star Trek Leadership, Part V: Dealing with Disaster

In Star Trek Leadership by Brock Bourgase

For me, one of the fascinating aspects of Star Trek: The Next Generation is their collaborative problem solving. All team members have a role to play and everyone’s best efforts are integral to success. Characters don’t come to blow, there are few battles between egos and situations must be analyzed critically. In the episode “Disaster”, the Enterprise is impacted by quantum filaments and all members of the bridge crew must step forward and lead. Delegate Responsibilities: Captain Picard is stuck in the turbolift with three children who received top honours in a recent science fair. Children have long been a …

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Rebounding Drills

In Drills by Brock Bourgase

Rebounding is a skill & tactic that is neglected in basketball practices. Practices include ballhandling, shooting and defense but sometimes stop short of completely finishing the possession. Among the Four Factors, rebounding accounts for twenty percent of basketball success. Coaches can help by allowing game situation drills to continue beyond one shot, until the defense secures the ball, and by regularly practicing rebounding drills. Drill should instruct individual rebounding techniques & small group tactics for team rebounding. McHale Rebounding Drill (Rebounding Phase A) Learning Goal: Rehearse skills & techniques for offensive & defensive rebounding. Points of Emphasis: Assume a low …

Defensive Drills

In Drills by Brock Bourgase

Here are some drills that can teach a progression of defensive skills, expanding beyond the ubiquitous Shell Drill. 1-on-4 Defensive Skills (Defense Phase A) Learning Goal: Improve major defensive skills each player should know. Points of Emphasis: Ensure players use proper technique while playing defense at high intensity. At one basket, players take turns playing defense. The defender starts with the ball & initiates the drill by passing to an offensive player on the wing. The defender closes out & shifts positions as the ball is swung, finishing by taking a charge as the last player drives. The defense works …