Everything we do is done with a purpose and designed with the end in mind.
Dedicated practice enables the team to succeed. We compete so we can push each other to get better.
When we rehearse a drill in practice, it is linked to a game situation. When we perform an exercise in a workout, it is based on a sport-specific movement. When we forge habits throughout the season, they are connected to what players will need for the rest of their lives.
A curriculum is developed for a high school program. Individual seasons are planned. Practices are outline. Drills are compiled. We explain why we are doing things the way that we are and how it will benefit the team in the long-term.
Our coaching is supported by science and empirical data.
Times seem to be continuously changing lately and the sport of basketball is evolving to keep pace. Social media permits collaboration between coaches across the globe and I want to access as much information as possible. Video transformed how coaches evaluate players and opponents and it can be an excellent teaching tool.
Research about the adolescent brains allows coaches to better understand and communicate with players. I include sport science research into everything I do, from planning and periodization before the season to mental training after a tough game. Coaches who do not adapt to the times are bound to fall behind.
We guide players so that they make informed choices.
Players must believe in the team’s goals. Coaches help athletes determine appropriate and meaningful goals. Once that path has been chosen, coaches ensure that each player gives their best, in practices, workouts and games.
We always face choices. Like in life, players must come to their own decision and accept the consequences. Freedom to make informed decisions plays an important role in the development of analytical thinking among young people. However, choices have consequences and coaches develop discipline by holding athletes accountable so they can improve.
We meet teammates where they are.
It’s the players’ team so they have a voice. Practice and workout intensity must be player-led and teammates hold each other accountable. Players must believe in the team’s goals in order to reach them. However, once the direction is established, coaches keep the team together.
Basketball is a dynamic game so our practices and training sessions must be fun. We often play small-sided games so that players can rep decisions, as well as skills. Coaching the same way every year does not honour the valued mentors who have helped me in the past. Adapting to each team and continually becoming a better coach is the best tribute.
We are teammates on and off the court.
Since we are a team, it is paramount that we communicate and trust each other. But being a team doesn’t stop after practice. It’s a twenty-four hour per day commitment to support each other and pull together. Especially when coaching high school student-athletes, coaches and players must be teammates off the court, in class and in the community.
We persevere in the face of adversity.
Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. Basketball is a perfect metaphor for life because there is always a “Next Play.” Whatever happened on offense – good or bad – is irrelevant because everyone has to get back on defense. Adolescents need encouragement to keep trying and coaches can provide them with opportunities to do so.
An extra-curricular activity like basketball can inspire players to push themselves in a fashion that is often impossible in the classroom. We can nurture our passion and discover new ways to indulge it. When there are failures or setbacks, we can rebound and create an action plan to overcome any obstacle. Gritty habits build resilient characters.
We treat everyone with the utmost respect.
Sports teams teach life skills and develop leaders. Throughout life, we must respect each other and our abilities. Coaches must respect players as thoughtful and capable individuals. Teammates must respect each other and their needs. Members of the basketball program must respect teachers, custodians, administrators, parents, guardians, opponents, officials and of those who make their participation in sport possible. We respect the game.
We are adaptable to the situation but our standards and expectations are not.
It would be stubborn, short-sighted, and ultimately unsuccessful for me to insist that players adapt to rigid systems and arbitrary rules not suited to their skills. Life forces us into situations that demand flexibility and basketball is no different. Obviously, coaches must adapt their tactics to suit the players who compose the team. Furthermore, coaches need to identify, acknowledge and reinforce the strengths of those players and find a way for them to thrive. Adaptability is a virtue.
Concrete rules do not mean lax standards. We believe that everyone can achieve challenging goals and will take the appropriate actions to enable them to do so.
We aim for the highest level of performance possible.
Young athletes need support to help reach their potential. A particular practice or game is over in a couple of hours and the result soon forgotten. The impact on a person’s life of a playing on a team lasts forever because of the countless moments that comprise a season. We may not always control the outcome on the scoreboard but we can control the process that led us there.
During the game, a team aims to play hard, play smart, and play together. These three objectives are actions that can be controlled. The goal – in sport and life – is to set a personal best each and every game, practice or workout. Coaches guide players to overcome adversity, reflect upon their efforts and refine their execution. Self-actualization leads to success on and off the court.
As players work on their game, coaches work on their craft. Personally, I never want to stop improving as a coach. I don’t seek to imitate a particular coach, but I am always willing to learn about new coaching methods and incorporate different perspectives into my coaching.
If there is a way for the team to do something better, even if it is a little thing, we will try it. By making a number of small changes, we can achieve a significant improvement. We never stop looking for ways to get better.