Monday, March 16, 2009

Three Kinds of Coaches

I got an e-mail from Kevin, the TC Hoops Czar today. It contained a GREAT summary of Coach Larranaga's ideas on three types of coaches. Thanks to the Czar for sending this my way.

Almost all coaches fall into1 of 3 categories.
Practice Coach
Game Coach
Players' coach (i.e teaching/trusting coach)

Some coaches are great teachers. They are like a professor holding class on the court. The players learn and improve and the team is always well prepared. Other coaches are game coaches and are able to make instinctive adjustments in games. They have a great feel for the game and can easily and calmly communicate their thoughts to their players no matter how stressful the situation. These coaches often win close games because their teams are like them. - cool, calm and collected at the end of close games.

The practice coach prepares his team well, but then during the actual contest continues to correct every mistake, like it was practice. I often found myself making corrections under game conditions that I needed to ignore. I should have waited until we got back out on the practice floor to help improve this situation.

Game coaches, on the other hand, rely too frequently on their gut instincts and spend relatively little time teaching the skills of the game and helping players improve in practice. They like to "X and O" the game but not truly develop the individual player. Everyone becomes a pawn in his own personal game of chess.

The best category is the players' coach who prepares his team fully in practice with drills to develop essential skills, with a solid X and O game plan, and with a clear vision of how he expects them to play. However, once the game begins, he trusts that what he has taught them in practice will be executed under game conditions.

If a mistake occurs, the coach should applaud. That's right, he should clap. Truly great coaches have so much confidence that they believe that once you have prepared your team, questioning or correcting them on the court will only lead to indecision.

This doesn't mean you never make corrections or adjustments during a game. Rather, it means you should be patient with your players and find an appropriate time to address issues you feel need to be covered. Making adjustments at time-outs and half-time is still necessary. However, what you say to your team and how you say it will be very different once you commit yourself to clapping for mistakes, such as missed shots, or bad plays. Your players will remain more calm and confident.

After I read this, I am a complete practice coach at times I micro manage a little too much. I realize this however, and am going to really work to switch my style to the third one. I think there are a lot of young coaches that end up being practice coaches, and it's funny that even though I know that I still fall into the trap! But hey, on the bright side I'm smart enough to know my short comings and will work to rectify the situation!

On another great note, the State Tournament is only a week and a half away! I am pumped to go! This will be my 15th State Tournament in a row, as I attended my first one as a third grader and was lucky enough to see Khalid El-Amin as a sophomore barely beat that great Staples Motley team in the old St. Paul Civic Center. After that game I was completely hooked on basketball. While most kids pretended to be Michael Jordan in their back yards, I was being Khalid El-Amin!

No comments: