Communication

CONFIRMED CONVICTION

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:

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.

Following this clip, we provided the coach with the following information.

The response was to ignore the proof and provide more opinions.

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!

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

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