Coaches are creatures of habit. We want things done a specific way, which in most cases is “how we have always done it.” As the coronavirus has shown, the best coaches must find a way to adjust, adapt, and accept the things that are out of our control. In this post, we will provide some suggestions to help you work with your administration to provide a positive experience, put safety first, and we hope that it will help you finish the season with your team on the floor.
HAVE A PLAN, BEFORE THE FIRST “POSITIVE”:
- There is a strong chance that someone in your program is going to test positive for COVID. Accepting that will allow you to move forward with planning for this reality.
- What if the Head Coach tests positive, or is exposed, and has to miss a minimum of 14 days?
- What if an Assistant Coach tests positive, or is exposed, and has to miss a minimum of 14 days?
- What if your best player tests positive, or is exposed, and has to miss a minimum of 14 days?
ARE YOU PREPARED FOR THESE SITUATIONS?
When Alabama Football Coach, Nick Saban, had his first false positive (he recently missed a game, from actually testing positive), I was impressed with the Alabama Football program’s response. It was organized, there was no panic, and they continued with their business. As Matt Zenitz wrote in THIS article for AL.com, the goal was to make things “as normal as possible.” There is also a video press conference where Saban acknowledges that they had a plan if any of the coaches were to test positive. So how do YOU go about preparing this plan?
STEP ONE: Put your coaching staff responsibilities to paper. Share this document with your staff. Here is an example from our program. We also have a program guidebook, which dives deeper into the specifics of each coach’s roles during practice, as well as before, during, and after games.
STEP TWO: Discuss and plan how responsibilities will shift if each individual coach (or collection) of coaches has to miss time.
STEP THREE: Let your players know that you are planning for this to take place, so that is mentally prepares them ahead of time.
Another area that coaches should plan and adapt, are practices and game day procedures. Here are some of the things that we have put in place.
- Everyone must wear a mask inside of the building at all times.
- No more than four players allowed in the locker room at a time (this allows for effective distancing). Your locker room might be different.
- Players bring their own water bottles.
- Players are temperature checked and screened before practice. We also apply hand sanitizer at that time.
- Whenever we “circle up,” we have used floor markings (volleyball 10-foot attacking lines) to keep our team spread out.
Thankful for the opportunity to coach our players today!
Our first official practice is in the books. Proud of the effort and energy that our team brought to the floor!#Ubuntu #LadyVikingsHoops #WeAreVillage pic.twitter.com/wJB1ZfZoF9
— Doug Brotherton (@CoachBrotherton) November 3, 2020
- Coaches where masks throughout practice. CLICK HERE to find the mask worn by a lot of college coaches, which I have found to be the best mask to wear when coaching.
- I ordered a 3-pack of the BLACK mask, for about $50.
- We committed to NO SPECTATORS for all home games. This was a decision from our administration, which we supported. While we miss having fans at the game, it does increase our opportunity to successfully finish our season. We are streaming all games via the NFHS Network.
- If you don’t have a budget to stream games, you can easily stream FOR FREE, via YouTube. It might not be the best quality, but it is better than missing multiple games due to the spread of COVID.
- Bench setup has been adjusted, to try to mimic the NBA benches. After the success of the NBA bubble, we found a cost affordable way to create a “safe space,” for each player.
- Each player has their own assigned seat. The first row of chairs are our four coaches and our first sub. The third row of chairs are our starters. The second row are for our bench.
- Each player has a plastic basket behind their chair, for additional masks, their water bottle, towels, a ziploc bag for masks that are already worn, and hand sanitizer.
- This is another area that coaches should consider. In the past, a timeout would have looked like this:
— Andy Johnson (@CoachAJohnson) November 2, 2019
- We have now changed our timeouts to increase distance between players, our players wear masks, and we do not share chairs.
- We purchased six stools via Amazon. We keep them against the wall, at the end of our bench.
- For full timeouts, our assistant coaches are responsible to set up the six stools on the corner of the court, near our bench.
- Players in the game grab their mask and water bottle, before coming to the stools.
- Players who are not in the game stand behind the stools.
- At the end of the timeout, our coaches wipe down the stools with Clorox wipes and place them back against the wall.
- For 30-second timeouts, we remain on the floor, spread out in a semi-circle.
- We are NOT using locker rooms on game days this year. There is no reason to put 12-15 people into a small space, for an extended period of time. Instead, we have created areas in our gym, using the same stools that we have for timeouts.
- We set up 15 stools into a semi-circle, on the sides of our bleachers. A chair is placed in the middle for the coaches. At halftime, our players all put on their mask, grab their water bottles, and walk over to our meeting area.
- Stools are spread out, in multiple rows.
- At the end of halftime, our assistant coaches wipe down the stools with Clorox wipes.
- We have the same set-up, on the opposite side of the bleachers, for visiting teams.
- The same process is used post game.
There are a lot of other processes and procedures for coaches to consider, but these have worked well for our program. The key to having a successful season, is the same as helping your team improve. We must eliminate our ego, avoid being stubborn, and adapt for the betterment of our program. If we are stubborn to our old ways, the pandemic is sure to shorten our season. We can finish the season on the court, if we all work together, share best practices, and are willing to be flexible. Lastly, there is no perfect solution, for the imperfect situation that we find ourselves in, but we must always remember that our main mission is to provide student-athletes with a worthwhile experience.
Successful coaches are creatures of habit. They create systems and processes that allow them to attack each day in an organized way. While reading the book “The 5AM Club,” by Robin Sharma, we were introduced to the “20/20/20 Formula.” This formula offers a simple way to get a great start to your day. The 20/20/20 Formula includes:
20 minutes of exercise
20 minutes of meditation or in-depth reflection
20 minutes of learning or reading
We have been using this formula with our team. Our players receive off-season points, if they post their 20/20/20 Formula before 9:00AM. We made a couple of minor adjustments, so our program 20/20/20 includes:
20 minutes of exercise
20 minutes of reading or listening to a podcast
20 minutes of meditation or writing out a schedule for your day
Lastly, we are going to use this to start an exciting new Challenge for coaches! It is going to be the DCT 20 & 10 Challenge.
This challenge will be the 20/20/20 Formula, with a basketball twist, and it will last 10 days. The first group will go from August 12 – 21.
Dynamic Coaching Tools (DCT) 20 & 10 Challenge
- We will have 10 coaches in the initial group.
- Each morning, coaches will exercise for 20 minutes, read for 20 minutes, and will meet on a scheduled Zoom call for 20 minutes. We will meet at 6:30AM (CT) | 7:30AM (ET).
- The 20 minutes zoom call will be a web clinic. This short web clinics will be led by the coaches in the 20 & 10 challenge. Each day, a new coach will present, based on a schedule that will be shared with the group. Coaches can pick any topic that they want to present about, as long as they can present for 20 minutes.
- At the end of 10 days, every coach who completes the challenge, will have a chance to launch their own group.
Are you interested in joining us to create better habits, optimize your mornings, and network with other coaches?
Fill out the form HERE. We have limited spots. If you miss out on the first 20 & 10 Challenge, we will offer you an opportunity to join us when we “run it back” at the end of the August.
It is an unprecedented time in the world. The global pandemic of 2020 has led coaches to jump into clinics, zoom calls, books, and social media. With the infinite number of resources, there is a strong chance that coaches are flooded with ideas, in a year that we will all see a smaller window to prepare our teams. This issue brings us back to a quote from Bob Richey, the head coach at Furman, who said, “coaches today need to have more conviction.” These seven words from Coach Richey have never been more true. As coaches are flooded with information, it is important that we have a clear understanding of our convictions. This will help coaches filter the information, to get to what is relevant to their programs, and it can help identify the areas for growth. So, what is CONVICTION:
A firmly held belief or opinion
Having a firmly held belief or opinion is something that coaches do very well. In a lot of cases, this becomes apparent as coaches debate different points. There is a balance that is required between being open-minded and having conviction. There is a simple way that coaches can effectively jump into the conversations about our beliefs. Ask the question, “can you prove it?”
“There is a simple way that coaches can effectively jump into the conversations about our beliefs. Ask the question, “can you prove it?”
Asking coaches to prove their convictions will make these discussions more productive. It will lead to challenging our beliefs with unbiased information, which will ultimately change or confirm our convictions. Regardless of the outcome, we will know that we are improving as a coach, as we gain the necessary knowledge to create CONFIRMED CONVICTIONS. To confirm is to establish the truth or correctness of something previously believed, suspected, or feared to be the case. Convictions are an opinion, but CONFIRMED CONVICTIONS are the truth. This should be the goal of all coaches.
DEALING WITH KNOW-IT-ALLS
What do you do if you are in a situation where a coach stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the proof you are providing, or will not prove their own convictions? The answer is simple to say, but hard to do, and that is to just walk away. The moment that you get into one of these situations, you are dealing with someone who is either a KNOW-IT-ALL or a person who is not interested in other people’s opinions. Any coach who is a know-it-all is not interested in learning, growing, and improving. As coaches, we strive to be what Kevin Eastman refers to as a LEARN-IT-ALL, who never stops learning, evolving, improving, and growing. Here is an example of a conversation with a coach who is not interested in CONFIRMING CONVICTIONS.
I’m cool with it: Got to her spot with three dribbles. She probably makes that a high percentage of the time. https://t.co/PxA71We9j3
— Chireno High School (@CoachLoverson) July 26, 2020
Following this clip, we provided the coach with the following information.
WNBA teams shot 34% from mid range shots, outside the lane.
This player shot 27% on jump shots off the dribble last year.
Follow up questions:
How often do you think she works on shooting from here?
Does the defense want her to take this shot? pic.twitter.com/ot5prhmaPE
— Doug Brotherton (@CoachBrotherton) July 26, 2020
The response was to ignore the proof and provide more opinions.
Smooth&comfortable shooting it: She works on that shot daily: She is a pro. I’m sure she plays overseas. Hoops is her life. The defense didn’t have a choice. Came to the ball. Ball faked defender off balance now defender is chasing. Plenty of space missed the shot. https://t.co/makXlKSpmD
— Chireno High School (@CoachLoverson) July 26, 2020
I do not believe that this coach automatically falls into the KNOW-IT-ALL category, but it was very apparent that the coach was not interested in moving past an opinion and into unbiased proof on the topic.
As we said earlier, it is time to walk away.
In our upcoming PILOT PROGRAM, our eight month coaching development program, we will constantly search for CONFIRMED CONVICTIONS. A constant theme of the program will be to search for opportunities to ask coaches, “can you prove it?” In creating these CONFIRMED CONVICTIONS, we will help coaches develop an identity, confidence, and a program with elite buy-in. In conclusion, the next time you disagree with a coach, avoid the urge to debate your opinion, and start searching for unbiased proof on the topic.
Are you a Head Coach, within your first three years of taking over a varsity program? Be on the lookout for our PILOT PROGRAM, which launches on September 1st, and will be a wonderful resources to take your program to new heights!
As we continue to explain our Program Building Model , it is important for coaches to understand how to evaluate the TALENT GAP within a program. A talent gap is the cumulative attributes of the personnel within a program, as they relate to winning games. Here is a break down each of these attributes.
Athleticism is the first thing that jumps out to people when evaluating a talent gap. We define athleticism as a combination between size, speed, and strength. We show a bias towards athleticism whenever we walk into a gym, during warmups, and pass judgement during layup lines. In most cases, we predict that the team with better athletes is “more talented.” The team with better athleticism might be more naturally talented, but that does not mean that they are automatically more talented. Below is the definition of TALENT.
Natural aptitude refers to natural ability, but the definition clearly includes “or skill.”
Skill is the part of talent, which can improve the most rapidly with development. There are countless skills within basketball, but the skills that have the greatest impact on the talent gap are ball handling, decision making, and finishing. For the sake of simplicity, we include shooting within the finishing category. If a team is exceptionally skilled, they might actually be more talented than an athletically superior team. We ran a poll last month asking the question, “what is the biggest separating factor between the best team in your league and everyone else?” Athleticism and Skill tied with 44.9% each. This shows the increased value that coaches are putting on skill. It is time to also count skill towards the way that we judge talent.
The final category in our talent gap is specific to a team. Depth is an important factor within the talent gap. Throughout the season, teams will face foul trouble, fatigue, and injuries. We measure depth in two different ways. The number of capable players and the versatility of your players. A team with eight interchangeable pieces might actually be “deeper” than a team with twelve different players. Depth is an important part of the talent gap, because it stresses the collection of the entire group. Below is a look at the talent gap.
In our last blog post, we talked about the three things that a coach must improve when taking over a program. Once a coach evaluates the TALENT GAP within the program, the next step is to work hard to either increase a positive talent gap or decrease a negative gap. In the coming weeks, we will share a Development Model, which will give coaches a plan to increase the talent within their programs.
For more information, you can contact us on social media (@DynamicCoaches) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In our last blog post, we shared our PROGRAM BUILDING MODEL. When trying to build a program, there are countless areas that need your attention. We encourage coaches to filter through this information and make it a priority to get to the W.I.N.
W.I.N. = What’s Important Now
It is our belief that there are three main areas that a coach must focus on improvement.
Our next blog post will take a deep dive into the TALENT GAP. Coaches must evaluate and have a clear understanding of how the talent in their program compares to the other program’s that they are competing against. The quickest way to win more games is to improve the talent on the roster. A talented roster will have some success, based on the advantage created by a positive talent gap. Depending on the level of the program, talent can be improved through player development or recruiting.
We recently ran a poll on our twitter page, asking “What is the biggest separating factor between the best team in your league and everyone else?”
— Dynamic Coaching Tools (@DynamicCoaches) June 23, 2020
As you can see, coaching only got about 4% of the vote. Coaching will take a talent gap and shrink or expand the advantage created by that talent. Due to that, we believe that improving the coaching in your program will help you win close games, and can help your program find consistent success. Improving your coaching staff can be about finding experienced coaches, aligning the skills of your coaches with the program needs, or even focusing on improving as a head coach. The best coaching staffs are full of “learn it alls,” who are constantly finding ways to improve.
We define culture as, “how we do things here.” The most important thing to understand about the culture of your program is that every single person around the program is going to make an impact. A strong culture can also impact the talent gap. Your culture can help you win big games and gives your program a chance to have sustainable success. How can you start the process of establishing and improving your culture? We will address that in an upcoming blog post. You can start with these two exercises and take a look at the example below.
What are the 3-4 things that will define your program. If you can’t limit it to 3-4, then you are spreading your attention too thin. One suggestion is to pick things that go beyond basketball and have a broad spectrum.
“THIS IS US” (25 Words or Less)
Describe your program in 25 words or less.
As you jump into the process of improving your program, these three areas will make the biggest impact on your program. This type of narrow, focused vision will help a coach block out distractions and focus on the W.I.N. that we described earlier in the post. Want more PROGRAM BUILDING information? Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook ( @DynamicCoaches ).
The number one factor to winning games is TALENT. While this might not be a popular reality, because some aspects of talent are out of the control of a coach, it is the truth. Without talent, it is hard to win games. Talent is made up of three main categories; athleticism, skill, and depth.
Culture is defined as “how we do things here.” Every person around a program has an impact on the culture of a program. Culture is the easiest area to impact, but the hardest thing to control. Sustainable success can be directly attributed to good program culture.
Coaches have all of the power, but very little control. The best coaches recognize that their role must shift from driving force to quality control. The sooner that this can happen, the quicker a program has the opportunity to become an elite program.
The word ELITE is thrown around too frequently, but there is no denying that the definition of elite describes what every program is striving to achieve.
Want to know how you can become the driving force to making your program elite? Be on the look out for our next blog post, which will talk about the first three areas that a program must improve!
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