Sunday, October 21, 2012

How to Become a Great Coach

First let me start by telling you that this isn't a post with tips from myself about how to become great like me. I, just like all of you, am striving toward greatness daily. Whatever level you coach on, whether it is elementary basketball or professionally, I hope that your goal is to be considered a great coach. What makes a great coach? Who would you consider a great coach and why? To me, greatness is simple. A great coach is consistent.  I think we overuse the word great in sports. Great is an achievement. Great doesn't happen very often but when it does everyone knows it. Here are what I believe and have learned from others are the keys to becoming a great coach.

#1 Get Your Eyes on I First
Jimmy Dykes includes this is his 20 truths of Basketball. Great Coaches get their eyes on themselves first after a loss. "I didn't have my team ready for this..." Great Coaches take the blame. Average Coaches place it. "Kids just don't know how to win. They don't get it." A Great Coach takes responsibility for the team's failures. Fix yourself before you attempt to fix the situation. Once you learn to self-evaluate and improve yourself you can ...

#2 Fix the Situation
Great Coaches fix the situation. A lot of coaches can see the problem but not very many are able to fix the problem. A Great Coach understands that you do not complain about what you are unwilling to fix. A Coach that is able to see a problem and fix the problem right then versus complaining, waiting until later or even worse ignoring the situation, will find themselves having less problems to deal with in the future. We all will have problems that arise every year. Hopefully they are minor but some will be major. As a Coach you have to be able to assess and fix each and every problem that arises.

#3 Be a Communicator
There is a difference in being a teacher and a communicator. I had the pleasure to watch Coach Brad Stevens practice last year and I think he is one of the best communicators in our game. He was coaching a drill that I'd guess his players had done multiple times but the way he taught it, talked and explained I left there feeling like I've done that drill since middle school after seeing it for 5 minutes. He is a great communicator. A communicator gets all the necessary information to the audience in a manner that instills the message into a unforgettable moment of learning.

One of the things about being a communicator is this. You either teach it or allow it. As a Coach, any and every action that a player does, including off the floor, is either taught by you or allowed by you. Think about that. EVERY action- Either taught or allowed. This ties in with the don't complain if you are unwilling to fix it.

So that's it. If you were looking for Xs and Os or a certain philosophy I don't think that weighs into the process of being great. Sure, most of the coaches I consider Great have that knowledge but they are also consistently doing these three things to the highest level. That's what makes one great. Consistency.