Another nomadic adventure - In 2018 I travelled to North America to learn from the Washington Mystics, Canada Basketball and other basketball genius'.
🖐 Quick Hitters - 2018 👇
1. Decision making is a skill. How do we teach it?
"How can we contextualise the skills we are teaching to help our players make better decisions?"
(Canada Basketball/Washington Mystics)
The use of a guided defenders in as many skill development scenarios as possible (phase B) allows the offensive not only to work on the skill itself, but to also create an understanding of WHEN to use the skill and HOW it applies in a game context. Not only does this enhance the decision making of the offense it also allows the defence to understand team concepts e.g. how to close out short, taking away the middle driving lane etc. How can we contextualise the skills we are teaching to help our players make better decisions? For an in depth look into phase teaching check out the Canada basketball notes below.
2. The importance of effective messaging and having a common terminology
“Talk in ‘tweets’"
(Point Guard College)
The language and terminology that we use in our delivery is an essential part of our player’s retention of a skill, offensive/defensive tactic or a set play. Being efficient with our messaging, using catchy words that can encapsulate an entire concept of the game, allows us to talk in ‘tweets’ and use less characters in our coaching. If we can be efficient with the way we can communicate to our players, we are able to spend less time explaining and demonstrating and more time doing. As a club, how can we align our terminology so that we are all speaking the same language?
3. SCHAPE ‘ing our environment. How can we create a leadership enriching environment?
"How much are we allowing our athletes to take on leadership roles in our practice environment and in games?"
Put our athletes in situations that stretch their leadership skills. How much are we allowing our athletes to take on leadership roles in our practice environment and in games? Encouraging peer to peer feedback and ensuring that our players are put in situations where they will have to communicate and problem solve. This gives us as coach’s quick feedback on who our leaders are, and maybe who shows the potential to be a good leader. Want a player to work on their leadership skills but won’t talk to the group? Add sections to the practice where that player is the only one allowed to talk and organise. An athlete centred approach is the key to building stronger leadership (see the SCHAPE acronym in the PGC notes for more ideas on leadership).
4. Developing a style of play that evolves over time.
The best programs in the world at the international, professional and university level have a distinct style of play (philosophy) that gives programs a direction in the short, medium and long term. It is no coincidence that countries like Canada and Australia (that have had some of the best long term athlete development plans from the grassroots to the elite level) have produced some great results on the international level having small populations in comparison to the basketball power houses. Not to mention the influx of players from these countries now playing in the NBA and WNBA. I have some great resources on style of play and a top down approach from both Australia and Canada that I’m happy to share. How can we create a style of play that gives us direction in the short, medium and long term with our skill development, team concepts and recruitment?
5. What does the research say? Show me proof!
"The research doesn’t always stack up to what impacts on winning for our teams."
Conversations with Mike McKay and Sefu Bernard (if you’re not following them on twitter already, go do that now!) over the summer led me to the conclusion that all of the best coaches are forever expanding upon their knowledge from multiple resources (analytics, research papers and their own data collection). Having an understanding of what’s trending in basketball specifically, with the way that analytics is impacting on the game, particularly with pace and the type of shots that are deemed to have the highest points per possession value. It’s also important to have an understanding of the research around what’s best practice in coaching delivery. With that being said, the research doesn’t always stack up to what impacts on winning for our teams! Specifically looking at your own team, figure out what may be a performance indicator for your team. Find a way to measure that performance indicator in practice and the game. If the numbers are progressing and its impacting on winning, then it’s a key performance indicator that we should continue tracking and should be an emphasis in your coaching (Mark has a lot of different ideas on this).