Monday, April 29, 2013

Trusting the Process (And the System)

I believe the game should be played and taught in a certain way. That way is similar to many and different from many, but it's the way I believe things should be done. I think it's important that no matter what you believe, you have to trust the process and trust your system. That was one of the cardinal mistakes that I made as the varsity coach at South Tama, I didn't trust the process or the system. It was my first head coaching job, I was nervous, and wanted to win. So I tried a number of different things that didn't fit my process in order to try be successful. Of course they didn't work and I wish I would have trusted the process and the system. We would have been far more successful if I had.

What got me thinking about trusting the process was the 7th grade AAU team I coach. We went 2-2 this weekend beating the same team twice and losing to two other solid teams. We are not quite there yet, but we have flashes of brilliance. When we met as a team after those two losses I wasn't second guessing myself or the system that we run. I was able to smile at them and just tell them to trust the process and that we would get better. More importantly it wasn't just lip service. I believe that we will get better as the year goes on. After eight years I have become comfortable with the way we do things and I am able to fully trust the process! I am not sure if there is a more liberating feeling in coaching.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Great Tip for Teaching a Skill: The Right, Wrong, Right Method

Just like salmon return to the same river year after year to spawn I keep returning to Daniel Coyle's "The Little Book of Talent" for great stuff on teaching. If you have not bought this book yet, you are really missing out. There are tons of tips like the one below.

This weekend, one of the things I stumbled onto was the right-wrong-right teaching method. He calls it something else, but I like this name better. Anyway, the premise of the method is for a player to do a skill the correct way once, the wrong way a second time, and the right way again the third time. Then you move on. It's simple and quick, yet hammers the point home in the athlete's brain. It demonstrates right vs wrong. It puts a spotlight on the correct way to do the skill and how it should look/feel.

For example, we will use the method this week with closeouts. Our number one issue with closeouts is that players do not put their hands up enough to contest shots. So when we start on closeouts, I'm going to have them do it correctly with hands up, then do it without hands, and then do it with hands again. That way it will help lock into their brain the proper way to do a closeout.

Again, if you haven't gotten his book you need to. Also visit his blog ( which is always updated with great tips.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tips for Effective Correction

Correcting a player is an important job for a coach - it's what we do! We are constantly correcting players on skills, strategy, and execution. When great coaches correct, it's an art form. There is a method to properly correcting players. When you correct players in the proper way they both listen and understand. Below are some important points to creating the art of correction. I have gotten these from a variety of places, but they are all good.

    - This is the biggest thing that great teachers of
       the game do. They approach a mistake as
      a positive opportunity for growth. Be as positive as you can when you are
      correcting a player.

2. Be Honest
   - This is the most important part with great teachers. Be honest in your assessment
      and the rest will fall into place.

3. Stick to the Facts
   - The correction is not a judgement of the person, but just a fact. Try to stay away from
      good and bad, and stick to phrases such as "try this".

4. Make it a Suggestion, Not a Demand
   - People in general respond better to suggestions than demands. Use phrases such
     as "I think that" or "my suggestion here would be". You will get better results.

5. Teach in Bullets, Not Paragraphs
    - Keep the correction short and sweet. Give the important information quickly,
      then get out and let them correct it!

6. Tell Them Something They Did Well
    - Make sure to mentions something they are doing well in the situation.
      For example, if they are traveling on a catch and  attack, but  they are
      doing a good job of pushing the ball, compliment  the push out but
      then tell them how not to travel.

7. Correct and Walk Away
   - After you make a correction, walk way and let the player digest it.
     That doesn't mean don't come  back and check, but give them a
     minute to process.

8. Praise The Correction
   - When the correct it and do it right, make sure to catch them and
     praise them.

9. It's Ok to Struggle
   - If they are struggling slow it down and teach.
   - Find a different way to explain the process.

Well there you have it, there are some different things that will help you to be a better correction artist!