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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Basketball: Fault Lines, What Do We Say and How? Plus Double Lagniappe

It's always our fault. Always. Years ago I coached a player who was really, really least running. She outran the ball, a lot. That recalls Pete Newell teaching maneuvering speed. How fast can you play under control? One memorable Sunday, the player committed fourteen turnovers in fourteen minutes. She wasn't alone. I don't even remember who we played, just how poorly. I almost needed psychotherapy. 

But when a player commits a peck of turnovers, I remember the adage: "one mistake, bad play, two mistakes, bad player, three mistakes, bad coaching." 

To borrow a literature analogy, we know coaching involves both writing and editing. That means getting it down, then fixing it up. The editorial process takes heart. Driving the bus doesn't entitle us to run down the passengers. Shakespeare penned, "The quality of mercy is not strained..." 

We own shot selection, as in Jay Bilas' advice, "It's not your shot, it's our shot." 

If they won't listen to Bilas, they might listen to Ben Rector. Drive.

Players want to get better not to get blame. 
At the youth level, fundamentals outweigh results. Players need regular encouragement, like casino action rewards gamblers or golf satisfies the duffer with periodic attaboys. "Way to go," "great effort," or "I believe in you" always beat "just don't." 

Coaching is not criticism. That said, how many of us like criticism and relish correction? We all effect others. Curiosity, gratitude, laughter, or rage...some people willfully enrage others. In itself, that might make us curious or angry. Our inner voice answers, "I never looked at it that way," "so cute," or "die, biatch, die." Instead of gratitude for constructive criticism, "thanks for sharing," we think, "you are not my friend." But friends can say, "you need to work on your breath." 

Words matter. We could say, "you cannot be serious" to a player or "let's do it this way." "You really hustled, but" affects us differently than, "you really hustled, and..."  When Atul Gawande hired a mentor to oversee his surgery, he wrote about music teacher Dorothy DeLay, "She expanded their sense of possibility." How can we transform ourselves, improve our learning, our teaching, our positive effect on others? How can we embrace our faults and work with them? 

Reflection. Latish Sehgal writes, "Regularly analyze and observe your own actions." Some coaches film the bench during the game, assessing body language and behavior. How many of us film and examine OUR body language and responses? 

"This is who we are and that is who we are not." Edit both the inner voice and how we respond during stress. We can always be better. 

Play to a song in your heart. It's YOUR song. Katy Perry's Fireworks or Roar share a very different vibe than Yes and No. Motley Crue's Without You contrasts with their Don't Go Away Mad, Just Go Away

Lagniappe: (from Coach Liam Flynn)

This would require scouting and adjustments against the mid-PnR with zoning action away from the ball to cover the roller. And it gives up ball reversal for possible three-point shots. We choose our poison. 

Double lagniappe:


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