Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Guarantee Success by Practicing Failure

This post is a partnership blog with my friend Alan Stein. I had started my post on practicing failure and we talked about a post he had done earlier. There are not very many chances to work with the best in the world in their craft so I'm thankful for this opportunity. If you're interested in seeing Alan's work up close, I'd encourage you to find MAKE a way to attend his Huddle.

Failure is something we are all as coaches drastically trying to avoid. In Alan's post he talks about the benefits of failure. I agree 100% with him and most of you would too. The fact we acknowledge we need failures for the teaching and learning experience shows there is value in failing. It's the moment of failure we are trying to avoid. You can control the timing of failure. All of us as Coaches practice daily on doing things the right way. Why are we not practicing failing and more importantly how do your players and yourself deal with failing? Teaching your players to overcome adversity is a major trait of a winner.

Here are 3 ways I practice failure.

#1 Stack the Deck
In a 5 on 5 situation put your players on teams in the order: (1 = best player regardless of position)
1,2,8,9,10 vs 3,4,5,6,7
Make one team's chances of winning seem impossible. For our college coaches this may be more difficult. What the players reactions after teams are announced? Did one team concede defeat already? See how your 2 best players respond. Do they stay in your offensive system or do they decide to do it on their own? How does your other starters perform without the best two players? Do they concede defeat?
If your best is a post player, how hard does he play knowing the guards may not be able to get him the ball?
Do whatever match ups you feel necessary to cause a defeat. Then watch for poor body language and lack of effort.

#2 Be a Awful Official
Some of you after reading that thought "so just be a normal referee". While I appreciate your sarcasm, I mean be truly awful. Call hand-checks on one team and allow Battery charges to go uncalled on the other. Call walks on pivots, away from the ball offensive fouls on made shots; Anything you can think of to disrupt any flow that is positive. If possible, have one coach officiating and one coach coaching. After a bad call, if there is any negative body or verbal language the official should reward the other team while the coach should remove the player. We've all been in a situation where we felt we were getting a raw deal. This drill can be a training moment to focus on what you can control.

*Disclaimer: When one team is benefiting from another team's misfortune, be prepared to step in quickly to defuse anything too heated and explain what and why you were doing what you were doing.

#3 Go Against the Odds
Make success almost unattainable....but demand it. Practice vs more players. Run your press offense versus 10 players; 5 in a zone press and 5 in full court M2M. Practice with uneven numbers in half court defense with consequences for not getting a stop. Here is a drill to use for this.

This is the Man Down drill. If at any time a player isn't in proper stance, position, or communicating remove him from the drill. The drill continues 4 on 3. If another player on defense makes a mistake, remove him. You can go down to 4 on 0 if you wish. This drill stresses the importance of each possession while placing a large amount of distress on players. (It does create some great teaching points. 1 player guarding 2 if a defender gets misplaced or injured on the other end. Asking 3 to guard 4 for 15 seconds isn't unheard of. It's hard, but not impossible.

 Fail when you want to so you can succeed when you want.  I hope this helps you all plan your success by scheduling your failures. That's another 3 from the corner...


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