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Friday, August 11, 2017

Voice Lessons: Court Communication

Communication excellence is a struggle.

Coaches learn from other coaches, even from other sports. Bill Belichick has regularly conferred with Nick Saban. Brad Stevens recently attended Patriots practice to see how their operation runs. All of us have been to coaching clinics and many have watched elite college practice either live or on tape. CoachingULive has outstanding programs available in different formats. The Youtube FIBA channel is fantastic. 

Kevin Eastman summarizes, "silent teams lose." 

Communication failure costs lives and games. Matthew Syed hammers this home in Black Box ThinkingOne of eight messages is misinterpreted, making "readback" mandatory. The air travel industry is particularly sensitive to communication failure. English is the international air traffic control standard. Historically, in some cultures, the subordinates would defer to the pilot, sometimes with tragic effect. 






Communication breakdowns cost games. The Chris Webber timeout call comes to mind. I had a breakdown with a teammate in high school that contributed to a painful 90-89 loss (before three point shots!). My daughters lost a sectional championship game in part due to multiple communication breakdowns leading to failed defensive rotations off double teams. 

But a minority of platforms address communication and how to improve on court communication. Here are some thoughts from Anson Dorrance of UNC Women's soccer and The Vision of a Champion. 

""Finding your voice"...is a challenge even on the highest level." 

"Finding your voice is a sociological issue, and it is a true challenge in coaching young girls."

"Very few women or girls are willing to take the responsibility of displaying leadership through communication, because it is stressful. They worry what others will think of them."

"To do that, you often have to be critical...and they have to accept that."

"Your goal is to be effective on the field, not popular." 

"We constantly work on this at practice...they keep score (in drills) out loud. When players are unmarked, we want them to scream out loud for the ball."

"Get in the habit of constant chatter, even if it seems meaningless...it can be informative, "I'm behind you, I'm covering, I've got this player." 

"Every female athlete has to find her leadership voice, and she has to express it...additionally you have to be strong enough to accept demanding and powerful leadership from others." 

"Be the margin of difference." 

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