Wednesday, December 4, 2019
With the season started for most of us now, things are in a different gear. Recently I watched Michigan play and Coach Juwan Howard was motivating his players by holding up a photo. The photo was of PJ Tucker from USA Basketball. It's famous for this reason.
Click here to watch.
It got me to thinking about how we communicate with our Players. It also got me thinking about when we do it. We would all agree that communicating is a huge part of success with any organization. We would all also probably agree that most problems can be avoided with clear, concise communication. We ask our Players to talk more on the court. In order to achieve that we Coaches need to teach them how to talk-not just to each other but to the Coaching Staff as well.
One of my goals this year is to be efficient. The definition of efficient is achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.
So in the next few minutes I hope to effectively and efficiently share some ideas to help you with communication.
These are three things we talk with our players about and that I have worked hard on myself about doing efficiently.
1. Don't ask a rhetorical question UNLESS it is to check for understanding.
This simple rule can help you avoid a lot of the "back talk" and defensive player reactions. Putting a Player on the spot after a mistake is a great way to get attitude and defensive behavior from a Player. They know they messed up. You know it. Their teammates know it so addressing it publicly doesn't do any good unless it is a learning moment for everyone. Then, make sure you make it about the action, not the Player. At times, I will ask a question that they all can answer about a situation as a way of checking for understanding. This takes the focus off the one and back on the whole.
2. When you ask a question, let them answer...and "I don't know" is an acceptable answer.
Give Players a chance to talk. Let them take some ownership in things. I often ask a Player "What do you see?" When I do this, I want them to (1) be honest, (2) be confident in answering and (3) be able to explain it because that helps in their understanding. Choose your questions so that "I don't know" is a rare answer. When a question permits an IDK answer, then use it as a chance to teach to the individual and also the group.
3. A statement about a situation to a Player should only be answered with a "Yes Coach, Yes Sir or Yes Ma'am".
There are times when the Coach's word is the last thing that needs to be said about a situation. I would encourage you to avoid statements that can be answered by No. The word No does something to your brain. Don't believe me, read the attached article.
Players need to understand that sometimes the only acceptable answer is Yes. Then move on. Don't keep beating a dead horse.
4. Don't waste a timeout to gripe.
The mistake happened. Coach calls a timeout and then spends the sixty seconds complaining about instead of fixing the issue. The bench is the best place to correct issues you're upset about. Timeouts need to be beneficial for the team, not for us Coaches.
Here are a few quick things we use with our program.
1. Coach in tweets, not in blogs. - Say what you need to say fast.
2. The first person to talk on defense is right. - This one eliminates a lot of issues on Defense.
3. Have a conversation on Defense- Saying help over and over loses it's intensity. Saying "Dave, I've got your help" gives Dave confidence and lets him know someone is actually ACTIVELY there!
4. You can't coach mad-You don't think clearly when you're angry.
Get mad. Get over it. Get back to coaching.
Good luck to you all this season. Keep growing and protecting the game.
The Most Dangerous Word in the World