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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Basketball: Teach Better

I am not a teacher. As physicians we constantly teach, as education changes behavior. As a resident, Chief Medical Resident, and Fellow at Bethesda Naval Hospital, I had major teaching responsibilities.

We're the new coach with new students. We need attention. When attention lapses, failure can mean catastrophic defeat. We've all lived it. 

Eyes on me. Ridiculous or necessary? 

1. Don't be boring. Energize. Players must want to practice. We need a sense of urgency every day. 

Prioritize process not managing expectations. 

2. Have a clear philosophy and sell it. Steal Pete Newell's, "get more and better shots than your opponent." We need great shots and great stops. 

3. Keep it simple. Simple is hard. Get feedback. Demand "performance-focused, feedback-rich" culture

4. Use multiple teaching tools.
- Notebooks (Write it down...your commonplace book)
- Video 
- Course material (e.g. Jay Bilas' Toughness, offensive and defensive standards)
- Flashcards
- Quizzes (One coach told players that only players who knew the plays started) They all learned the plays.) Testing improves recall. Reward understanding and performance.  

- Steal from the masters...Teach Like a Champion (above). Don't apologize for caring and demanding their best. 
- Update your drill book and playbook. Revise and edit.  

- Use Mental Models...what's the difference between rigid and flexible thinking? Push on your bed and it moves...push on a waterbed and waves flow and return. Live your Circle of Competence (teach what you know; know what you teach). Think with probabilities. Get your best players using your proven stuff. 
- Tell great stories. In How Champions Think, Bob Rotella tells the story of a 90 year-old who addressed a national golf convention and promised to work on his short game for two hours a day. The next year, he apologized and hoped participants did better than he did. "I missed two days..." 

Spencer Haywood tried out at Detroit and was offered a scholarship if he sank fifteen consecutive free throws. The rest is history. Kobe Bryant took 1,000 daily shots for 100 days during the offseason. 100,000 shots. Larry Bird took 500 free throws before school.
- Persist. From Teach Like a Champion, "Get ALL students to exert effort and not give up. You ask a question and a student shrugs his shoulders and says, “I don’t know.” Rather than moving to the next student, learn the technique NO OPT OUT."

5. The Blank Sheet Technique
- Review a subject, like rebounding, with students
- Perform spaced repetition coming back to the students a blank sheet and a pen and ask them to write as much as they know on one side of the paper...they can discuss rebounding philosophy, angles, positioning, offensive versus defensive, drills, outlet passing...but they have to turn in something. This modifies the Feynman technique of define, explain, research, and simplify. 

The Socratic Method draws out answers and understanding. "In Socratic teaching we focus on giving students questions, not answers."

Find solutions through teamwork. 

"Make every day your masterpiece." - John Wooden

"Annie Dillard has said that day by day you have to give the work before you all the best stuff you have, not saving up for later projects. If you give freely, there will always be more." - Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird 

Teach players, "I'm not worried about you being the best; I care about you being your best."


Hat tips: Radius Athletics

Teach specifics. Where do you want the screen? 
Horns flows into high ball screen. 

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