Coaching

TELLING vs TEACHING | Communication

We are launching a new series that we are calling TELLING vs TEACHING. This is motivated by a recent video that was posted by Brian Kight. Check out the video below, to learn about the most under-coached profession.

 

How is it possible that coaching is the most under-coached profession? The answer is very simple. There are no clearly defined requirements to get into coaching. To take that a step further, we are seeing more coaches TELLING players what to do, as opposed to TEACHING players how to play the game. Below are some of the examples that you might hear in a gym:

“You’ve got to finish that!”

“Talk on defense!”

“Take care of the ball!”

These are all examples of TELLING, when experienced coaches understand that the key is to spend your time TEACHING your players. Here are some “teaching” examples, which align with the same “telling” statements from above.

“Keep your eyes and chin on the rim!”

“Talk it, touch it, switch it on the ball screen!”

“Get to two feet in the paint and throw to what you see!”

While these are general examples, it is most important that coaches recognize the value of TEACHING players how to play the game. TELLING players what to do is counter productive for an experienced coach, because the goal is to create an environment that is conducive to learning and improving.

The topic of the first blog post is to discuss communication. One common misconception is that players do not want to talk. In most cases, the problem is actually that players do not know what to say. Most coaches have been around teams that talk, laugh, make jokes, and are loud off the floor. As soon as players get into a practice, they stop talking. It is not an unwillingness to talk. The problem is that no one has taught players what to say. How much would your team improve if all of your players communicated like PJ Tucker in the video below?

Before we can teach our players how to communicate effectively, we must equip our coaches with a process to break it down with their teams. If we don’t coach the coaches, then we will be back in the habit of telling our players, instead of teaching them. Here is a great way to break down communication into three phases for your team.

PHASE ONE: What are you doing?

In Phase One, players are encouraged to simply talk through what they are doing individually. This might sound like, “I’m in help. I’ve got the ball. Jump to the ball. I’m in a gap.” This is the starting point for players. The key is to correct terminology, but never tell a player that they are wrong. We want to build confidence!

PHASE TWO: What do you see happening?

In Phase Two, players are talking about what they are doing, but also what they see happening. This is where the communication starts to involve their teammates. This might sound like, “I’m in help. Cutter coming through. Ball screen right. Ball screen right. I’m hedging. You’re back. I’m here.” It is being able to communicate what is happening in that particular moment. Once again, as a coach, we want to hold players accountable to communicating with our terminology, but we do not want players to ever feel like they are wrong. Furthermore, this is where you will see breakdowns in communication between teammates. It is essential that you encourage players to work through it. Coaches should take the role of mediator, to keep communication productive, but should not shut down the back and forth between players.

PHASE THREE: What is going to happen next?

In Phase Three, players reach an elite level of communication. This involves being able to recognize and call out actions before they happen. It is unlikely that you will get your entire team to this level, but the best teams have a couple of these types of communicators on the floor at all times. Phase Three communication might sound like, “Ball screen coming. Ball screen coming. Be ready to switch it. I’ve got help on the slip. I’ve got help on the slip.” In this example, it is recognizing an action early, communicating the plan to teammates, and also acknowledging coverage for a potential counter from the offense. 

As you look to create better communication with your team, the key is to TEACH players how to talk. If you find yourself saying, “we need to talk,” then you should consider stopping and going one layer deeper to discover why your players are not talking. A mediocre coach tells the players what to do. A great coach teaches the players how to learn what needs to happen. If you take ownership for becoming a better teacher, your teams will improve, and your program will be on the path to sustainable success.

Do you have thoughts on TEACHING vs TELLING? You can share them by connecting with us on social media (@DynamicCoaches). You can also e-mail us at: INFO@dynamiccoachingtools.com

ABC’s of Bad Coaching

Go to social media and you will see a constant trend of “coach bashing.” Parents complain about coaches. Players complain about coaches. High school coaches claim that AAU coaches are ruining the game. AAU coaches claim that HS coaches are too political and hold their players back from maximizing their potential. So, do bad coaches exist?

Yes. Bad coaches are everywhere. There are bad high school coaches, bad AAU coaches, and bad collegiate coaches. “Bad” is a relative term, which depends on who is judging the performance of each coach. Before this starts to sound too negative, which we might have already passed that point, we need to explore what makes a “bad coach.” Below you will find the ABC’s of “bad coaching.”

 

A| About Me

This is the coach that thinks that the 45-point win is about his coaching ability and not the massive talent advantage on his roster. When a coach makes the success of the team about themselves, they lose sight of the number one objective for all coaches, which is to serve their student-athletes. The “about me” coach can not move past their ego, which prevents them from empowering their players, and ultimately stunts the development of the people within their program.

 

B| Blame Others

Some coaches are undefeated, if it weren’t for those darn officials. Bad coaches find countless reasons to avoid taking ownership for the challenging moments that come with the job. When the team suffers a loss, the players are referred to as “they.” You might hear something like, “they didn’t want it bad enough.” Good coaches are able to take ownership for the challenging moments, and maintain the focus on what “WE” need to do to work through challenging moments. Bad coaches that “blame others” survive by pointing a finger at the uncontrollable things, which take the attention on things that the coach could be doing better. Blaming others is like vomiting around your team. You feel better afterwards, but everyone around is disgusted, doesn’t want to be there anymore, or is also vomiting out the same blame that started with you. 

 

C| Complaining

This bad coach is always talking about what could be accomplished, if they had the same advantages as everyone else. Complaining is frustrating to everyone else, does you no good, and does not move your team forward. Instead of being jealous and complaining about what a successful program has, use that energy to study other successful programs. Unfortunately, complaining gives a bad coach the satisfaction of deflecting the negative attention. All coaching jobs are not created equal, but all coaches are also not created equal. Bad coaches complain, because it makes them feel better about themselves. Good coaches spend their energy attacking the challenges, so that their competition will eventually complain about the program that they have built. Bad coaches are about themselves, they blame others, and there is always something to complain about which establishes a negative and losing culture.

 

Thankfully, we can find incredible examples of coaches who are avoiding the ABC’s of bad coaching. These coaches take ownership and accountability for everything in their program. By taking ownership, the coach is empowered to find a way to embrace challenges, improve each day, and eventually build a championship culture. Coaching is a challenging job and the ABC’s of bad coaching will tempt all of us. Put your players first, take ownership for challenging moments, and maintain a positive outlook and your program is destined for a bright future.

DCT | Chalk Talk | Episode 2

In Episode 2 of the Dynamic Coaching Tools “Chalk Talk” series, we breakdown “14-Chase.” This is a set that we first saw utilized by the Louisville men’s basketball team. We eventually used it with our team, and then it was also ran multiple times throughout the 2018 March Madness. Here is our team running the set.

 

Now, enjoy Episode 2 of “Chalk Talk,” and then take a look at the counter that can be used against switching teams.

Here is the counter, which is used against teams that are switching screens.

 

If you have questions about this set, please contact us via e-mail at: INFO@dynamiccoachingtools.com

FastModel Finish | Up North Challenge 2019

The 10th Annual Up North Challenge tips off on Friday Night, in Shepherd, Michigan. For this year’s event, we have decided to take one of the most exciting new concepts in basketball, and incorporate it into our tournament. You can learn more below.

If you are in love with the sport of basketball, you might have noticed an interesting basketball tournament that has taken place each of the last five summers. The event we are referring to simply goes by the name, “The Basketball Tournament (TBT),” and allows anyone the opportunity to compete for $2 million dollars.

One of the most recognizable things about The Basketball Tournament is the way that games end. Every game ends with a game winning basket, thanks to their “ELAM ENDING.”

Per TBT’s website, “The concept was developed by Cincinnati Reds groundskeeper and Ball State professor Nick Elam. After logging hundreds of NBA and college games, he came to an obvious, yet profound conclusion: intentional fouling (a) doesn’t work and (b) is incredibly boring to watch. From there, he spent years trying to figure out a way to eliminate this archaic late-game ritual. It ultimately became the Elam Ending.”

At this year’s 10th Annual, Up North Challenge, we will introduce our own version of the “Elam Ending.” Thanks to the help of our friends at FastModel Sports, we will implement the “FASTMODEL FINISH!” The FastModel Finish rules are simple.

  1. If the game is within 20 points, at the first dead ball under 4 minutes, the FASTMODEL FINISH will go into effect.
    • If it is over a 20 point margin, the clock will continue to run.
    • If the lead is still 20+ points at the 2 minute mark, the game is over.
  2. If the FASTMODEL FINISH is in effect, at the first stoppage under 4 minutes, there will be a “30 second timeout.”
  3. During the timeout, the officials will write the “target score” on a dry erase board next to the court.
    • TARGET SCORE = Leading team’s score +7
  4. When play resumes, the clock will be turned off, and the first team to hit the “target score” is the winner.
  5. EVERY GAME ENDS WITH A “GAME WINNING SHOT!”

While we can not take credit for the concept, we are excited to receive feedback from the 48 teams and coaches in the Up North Challenge. Nick Elam watched and catalogued literally thousands of NBA and March Madness games, and found that teams resort to intentional fouling roughly half the time. In the 2018 NCAA Tournament alone, teams in 44 of the 70 second halves/overtime periods tried to come back by purposefully fouling. However, according to Elam’s data, in only three of those 44 occasions did the trailing team eventually come back to tie the game or take the lead.  Our “FastModel Finish” will hopefully improve the end of game situations, create more excitement for the players, and open the eyes of basketball coaches to some alternative ways to end a game. At the conclusion of the tournament, we will be sending out a google form, to request feedback from all 48 teams. Once we have that feedback, we will be sharing a blog post with FastModel Sports, and talk about the positives and negatives from the “FastModel Finish.”

 

FUN FACT
The Up North Challenge and The Basketball Tournament have a small connection. Camp Darryl, a program started by Darryl Matthews, has played in all 10 Up North Challenge tournaments. An all-time great shooter, Travis Bader, played for Camp Darryl. Travis Bader played an important role in helping Overseas Elite win multiple “The Basketball Tournament” titles.

Control the Controllables | Draymond Green

There is no doubt that Draymond Green has played a critical role in the Golden State Warriors’ NBA Championships. He is a versatile player, who provides a level of toughness that compliments the Warriors’ explosive offensive attack. The one constant criticism of Draymond Green has been his emotional instability. A lot of people think of scenes like the one below, when they think of Draymond Green.

 

In Game 5, of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors seemed to be in serious trouble. Kevin Durant hurt his calf, and was expected to miss some serious time. Despite this set back, the Warriors responded by winning back-to-back games to eliminate the Houston Rockets, and took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Portland Trailblazers. During these games, Draymond Green has played some of his best basketball. 

 

 

One of the obvious adjustments that Draymond Green has made, other than increasing his aggressiveness offensively, has been his mental approach. After winning Game 3, Draymond talked about it.

 

 

Draymond Green has clearly taken a “control the controllables” approach to his game. Instead of majoring in the minor, he is choosing to focus his energy on helping his team win. This was most clear when he put his leadership on display, following a Jordan Bell missed dunk. 

 

In the post game, Draymond Green also displayed the importance of allowing other people to strengthen the influence of a leader. In this case, it was a message from the Warriors’ video coordinator. As the tweet below states, every person around a team has an impact on the group’s culture. The best cultures are “exclusively inclusive.” What that phrase means, is that each person must demonstrate the standards that are required to be a part of the team. Once they do that, then they deserve to have their voice respected, which allows the group to perform at their best.

 

With Draymond Green demonstrating his ability to block out the distractions, and “control the controllables,” the Warriors are going to be tough to beat. This is a lesson that can be used with any team, as there is no escaping the threat of outside noise. Look for Draymond Green to continue to play at an elite level, as long as he can maintain this focused mentality.

End of Season Tools: AAR

As teams finish their season, we want to help provide some valuable tools, which will launch your program into next season. One of the hardest things for coaches to do, is to turn off their competitive spirit, drop the ego, and effectively self-evaluate. We found a great tool, which is pulled from the book, “The Culture Code,” by Daniel Coyle. An After Action Review (AAR) is used by the U.S. Army to deliver feedback after unit training exercises. The purpose of the AAR is to identify issues, find areas for improvement, and obtain lessons learned. So, how does this relate to your team? The answer to this, is found in the questions associated with the AAR. Take a look at the questions below, and think about your basketball season.

After Action Review Questions

What were our intended results?
What were our actual results?
What caused our results?
What will do we do the same next time?
What will we do differently?

We recommend that you follow this process, in using the AAR questions to evaluate your season.

  1. If you are the Head Coach, answer these questions by yourself. Do not share your answers with anyone else, but make sure to keep a copy.
  2. Get your coaching staff together, and have them work together to answer the questions. Have someone document their answers, so you can use them later.
  3. Have your players work together to answer the AAR questions. This should happen without guidance from the coaches. Simply give them the questions, and let them document their responses. These are group responses, not individual responses from each player.

At the end of these After Action Reviews, the Head Coach has a nice collection of information, which can be used to begin productively planning for next season.

The AAR will provide you with the WHYs, which can lead to the HOWs, and this information will help you effectively plan for next season’s success.

Team Building: “ABC Team Challenge”

Is your team struggling to COMMUNICATE IN CONFLICT? The phrase, “communicate in conflict” refers to the communication when a mistake is made, adversity hits, and frustration shows up. The best teams are able to clearly communicate, learn from the challenges, and get to the next play. The ability to be a team that communicates well, in these conflicted moments, comes from trust and experience. This simple team building exercise teaches teams to focus on learning from mistakes, not overreacting, and getting to the next play. Below are the details for the ABC Team Challenge and two videos of teams completing the challenge.

The “ABC Team Challenge” usually takes less than ten minutes, and is a great way to start of end practice.

You can follow Dynamic Coaching Tools on Twitter or Instagram at: @DynamicCoaches

A Coach’s Best Friend: Film

Throughout this season, I have come across multiple coaches who are not filming games. Every time this happens, I respond with an e-mail, encouraging coaches to stop ignoring the opportunity to improve their coaching staff, team, and individual players. It is our belief that all varsity coaches should be filming every game. This is part of your job, and you owe it to your players. Furthermore, filming practices can also be very beneficial. Below are the reasons that we believe that Film is a coach’s best friend:

1- It is the best teaching tool!

As the saying goes, “the eye in the sky don’t lie.” Film allows players to watch their mistakes and these teaching moments are very beneficial to player development. Film can help a team better understand areas for improvement, challenges from opponents, and it provides clarity for everyone in the program. There is no better teaching tool than an organized, well planned film session.


2- Players need film for college coaches.

Most high school coaches have players that are interested in playing at the college level. Your players will need film, so college coaches can evaluate them. By providing film to college coaches, you are doing your part to help your players have an opportunity to continue their careers.

3- You can exchange film to scout opponents

One of the worst phrases that coaches say is, “We don’t scout, because we are just worried about us.” This is code for, “I am too lazy to prepare my team to win.” As a varsity basketball coach, you should be scouting your opponents. This is especially important in league play. Scouting provides an opportunity to steal points for your team. It is very impactful, against good teams, if you can prevent 4-6 points for your opponent, and generate 4-6 easy points for your team. If you are not filming and sharing film, other coaches will be less likely to help you with film.

4- Film helps ensure accurate stats

Filming games will help your staff ensure that you have accurate stats. Depending on a student manager to take stats during the game is fine, but there is a strong chance that those stats are not accurate. Film can be used with services like Krossover or Hudl, which will provide statistical breakdowns of your team. Stats are also important for recognizing and rewarding your players for big achievements. It might be scoring 1,000 career points, or providing proof that a player should receive all-league or all-state honors. The stats also allow coaches to provide a program record book, which is a great way to honor the best players throughout the history of your program.

5- What you see during games is only part of the picture. Film fills in the gaps.

When you see post game interviews with the best coaches, you will regularly hear them answer questions with, “it is hard to answer that without looking at the film.” This is because the best coaches know that the film will provide valuable information. You can look at a box score and see the results. It might be a lack of offensive rebounding, too many turnovers, or poor shooting. Film fills in the gaps, and answers the question of WHY those results happened. If you do not watch film, then you are taking an educated guess, as opposed to finding the undeniable answers that can help your team improve.

If you are a high school coach, make sure that you are filming games. Film is your best friend, and will help you maximize the development of your team.

You can follow Dynamic Coaching Tools on Twitter or Instagram at @DynamicCoaches

New Year: Is your team ready to win?

As the calendar turns over, basketball coaches begin conference play, and hope to have the answer to how their team can win. Through the experiences gained from October to December, most teams have had an opportunity to be challenged, learn from adversity, and establish an identity. Below are three questions that you had better know the answer to, if you want a chance to win your league:

What does your team do better than anyone else in your league?

✔ What is your team’s biggest weakness, and how can you help your team overcome it?

✔ Do your players know and accept their roles?

These three questions are guiding thoughts, which will give your team a chance to play their best basketball. We hope this helps your coaching staff evaluate where your team is at, as you prepare for the most important stretch of the season.

You can follow Dynamic Coaching Tools on Twitter at @DynamicCoaches

Leadership Development

It is becoming obvious that all Championship teams have a clear understanding of the importance of great leadership. This past year, we were able to see it across all levels of basketball.


COLLEGE BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP COACH:


WNBA CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYER:


NBA CHAMPIONSHIP COACH:


At the end of most seasons, coaches will talk about their leadership, and their season, in a similar tone. If leadership is an important factor in the success of a team, then why are coaches ignoring it? Here is one of the most ridiculous statements that you will hear from people about leadership:

“He/She is a born leader.”

Nobody is a “born leader.” People are a reflection of their experiences, the people around them, and their vision for the future. The purpose of this post is to challenge coaches to formulate a LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PLAN.

Here are five suggestions, to improve the leadership in your program:

  1. Start a group chat with your leaders.
    • This sounds simple, but it can make a huge difference. This off-season, I used the GroupMe App to start a group chat with our Captains. In this chat, I constantly share leadership articles, quotes, and ask questions. This has created a clear understanding of my expectations, and allows me to control the messaging that our leaders are receiving. The questions allow for a better understanding of what our leaders know, and areas for growth and development.
  2. Launch a Leadership Development Program at your school:
    • We had our first Leadership Development Program at our school this fall. We took our Athletics Department theme, and designed a program to spread this down to our student-athlete leaders. This included an introduction to our theme (Servant Leadership) from our Athletic Director, a college coaches panel, four break out sessions, and a varsity coaches panel. By the end of the program, we had a clear understanding of our standard, expectations, and how we could work with our athletes to ensure success.
  3. Spend an entire practice silent or only whispering:
    • This idea was first put on display, years ago, by Geno Auriemma. He spent an entire practice whispering his instructions. This meant that the players had to listen, communicate, and execute. All coaches agree that the best teams are player led, and so it only makes sense for coaches to take a step back. Record the practice that you are quiet, and then watch it with your staff to learn about the leadership and communication dynamics of your team.
  4. Clearly communicate your expectations at your parent meeting:
    • At the high school level, the most underrated aspect of the “buy-in” in your program is the parents. Programs who struggle are constantly complaining about the parents. In reality, the percentages tend to show that great players are driven by overly involved parents. If you embrace the power of these parents, and work to control the messaging, then it can work in your favor. If the parents understand what you are trying to accomplish, then they are more likely to express these things on the drive home.
  5. Your best tool is former players/leaders:
    • The best tool that you have in your program are your former leaders. Those former players are going to be able to connect with your current leaders, in a different way. As coaches, we can not always get on the same level as our leaders. Our former players have the ability to do that, but once again, we can control the messaging. If you are not utilizing your former players, to help support your current leaders, then it is time to get started.

These are just five of the ideas that we recommend for coaches, as you try to develop leaders in your program. In six months, you are going to be talking about the leadership on your team. There is a strong chance that you will talk about your team, the same way that you discuss your leadership. Start pouring into those leaders now, so that you can maximize the potential of your current roster.

You can reach us for more information on Leadership Development by e-mailing us at:

INFO@DynamicCoachingTools.com

You can also find us on Social Media: @DynamicCoaches

Scroll to top