Wednesday, May 13, 2015

David Blatt and What People Think "Coaching" Is

I loved the David Blatt hire by the Cavs and I still do. I really think that the guy can coach. I also think he fell into an unfortunate trap of unbelievable expectations and a tough situation for a first year NBA coach. If he'd taken over a middle of the road NBA team he would have had a much easier transition - and probably have done a lot better.

But this post is not to defend David Blatt. He's a big boy and he can handle it himself. This post is to talk about his recent comments on coaching and how people perceive "coaching". For insight into what people think "coaching" is, we need to look no further than Blatt's defense of himself this week:

Well....yeah... Obviously Blatt has received a fair dose of criticism and a flood of memes. While this statement makes me laugh I think it's an accurate insight to how many people perceive coaching. If you were to survey the layperson who watches basketball, they likely believe that the game is dictated by game coaching and that coaches really are making 150-200 critical decisions in the course of a game. Kind of like when you play NBA 2K at home and control the player's ever move. Why do I think that? Look at all the coaches in the NBA who are getting fired - especially over what happens in games - obviously someone thinks that their game time decisions are costing their team's wins. 

This is a big problem that I believe coaches face. The truths of coaching I have found are:
  1. Players win games on game day.
  2. Coaches win games in practice. 

My point being that coaching is not about the "game day decisions", as I believe a small percentage of games each year are won and lost on those - as important as they may be. Good or bad coaching happens every day in practice with the tactics and habits that you engrain there. It's about making a few big decisions on how you are going to run your team and then executing them in practice. Practice is the teaching and the game day is the test. 

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