As we approach October our minds starting racing and getting cluttered with all the possibilities of our upcoming season. What if? What to do? What if we do this or if we don't do that? If is a really major player in our lives as Coaches. Most of our regrets as Coaches are based on lack of spending time on If and relying solely on Do.
I started thinking about this topic a lot recently. I spend a lot of time (Paige would say ALL my time) thinking about the IFs of Basketball. I like to be prepared. My friend Alan says " Over prepare so you don't under preform." There are many examples of preparing for Ifs. Watching film, scouting, and practicing are the easy ones to point out. But like with anything, If has limits. All Coaches by nature are Doers. We all know Coaches that are Sayers more than they are Doers but let's stick to the positive side of people in this topic. Do gets things done. Action is what makes things happen.The key is finding how to balance your IFs and DOs. Here is what I came up with.
One of the definitions of If is "a supposition,uncertain possibility: My definition of IF is simple. It is an Impact Factor. If you attempted to prepare for every Impact Factor in basketball, you'd spend more time scheming and less time "skill-ing". In a sense, you'd be so prepared you'd be under prepared. Take the uncertainty out of the possibility. Select your Impact. Factor what the result will be. "IF we don't block out..." I'm certain that if you don't block out you lose most games. "If we don't turn the ball over..." You win..
All of the definitions of Do deal with action. From the current action to the past tense (finished) form of done. Take DO. Now accept that DO is a Direct Opportunity; Directly on you and it's your opportunity. Direct yourself to your opportunity. Some will think of DO as Direct Others. As a Coach DO is Directing others to Opportunity. Always keep do in the right perspective. Don't Do just for the sake of doing.
While IF is the important part of planning, DO is what we are actively pursuing. Do can also be negative. Whether you do or don't do something, there is a positive or negative reaction. As a Coach your control over DO is limited by your attention paid to IF. Players are the Doers. Coaches can increase their control over DO by doing more with the IF. As a Coach it is important to have a balance of IFs and DOs. For every If I try to have an equal Do. For every offense you use, continuity or sets, create drills that work on every IF. (Teaching Your Offense)
Here are a 3 quick thoughts on IFs and DOs:
IF there is a chance it can happen in a game, DO a drill for it in practice.
Don't get caught off-guard.
IF you don't understand something, DO research on the topic. Ask questions.
The only stupid questions are the ones that don't get asked.
IF it's not working, DO something else. Don't be married to a failing ideology.
5 most important words in Coaching: "Crap it is not working."