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Friday, April 13, 2018

Basketball Coaching Criticism: From Eastman to Einstein


When we put ourselves out there, criticism follows. 

Years ago, I had a patient who wanted to become an actor. He hated his job, had no marital ties, and had done some commercial work. "What's keeping you from following your dream?" He replied, "my friends say I'm not good enough." I suggested that he get new friends and follow his dream. He went to California. I never saw him again. Maybe he's doing dinner theater. Don't let critics extinguish your dreams. 

Coaching is NOT criticism. Good players want to be coached. But be demanding without being demeaning.

We want the voices in players' heads to speak positivity. Rod Olson, author of The Legacy Builder, argues that we should Speak Greatness. Constant criticism can't mint confidence. Olson writes, "People forget that there's life and death in the power of the tongue. It's absolutely not true that words don't hurt. They can hurt, and they can change a life. You know that the basic definition of a coach is 'someone who helps an individual or a team get to a level they couldn't get to by themselves." He adds, "for every correction that you wish to make, you must tell them three specific things they're doing right first." 

What's our plan to address criticism? Have a plan, based on honesty and authenticity. We hear a range of responses from anger, sarcasm, to respectful reflection. 
"You catch more flies with honey than vinegar." 



Too much candor and authenticity may not go over well. 





Comedy won't win many friends...honesty can be too brutal. 


We can learn from criticism. Is it valid? Mean-spirited comments aren't necessarily wrong, just tactless or intentionally hurtful. Coaches have a range of options. We can change strategy, personnel, and motivation. Kevin Eastman advises, "do it harder, do it better, change personnel, $#%& it ain't working." Einstein shares similar sentiments. "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." 

Coaches don't want players to tune us out. Some coaches use the "sandwich technique" when being critical, interposing the criticism amidst praise. "You hustled back in transition, now make sure you protect the basket. Keep bringing that effort." 

I believe that most players respond better to positivity. When harsher words are necessary, I want to deliver them with another adult present. When expectations aren't clear or met, we can deliver written messages personally to the player and family. That shows the importance and commitment to the player, family. and the message

What we say and how we say it ultimately defines us. We can't often change how others treat us, but we choose our response

Lagniappe: easy Horns pick-and-roll with clear.


From Justin Pintar. 

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