Coaches Corner Archive

Reach Coach Krause's previous Coaches Corner articles:

Develop Your Coaching Style

February/March 2005

Coaches are often accused of being control freaks and many adopt an authoritarian style of coaching.  Much can be said for allowing all players and coaches input and voice into the leadership and decision making of a team.  There are many ways to coach and all coaches are encouraged to build their coaching style around their true personality.  Players today insist that coaches be themselves (be real and not be something you are not).  However, in this ever involving quest to develop a coaching style you should focus on factors over which you have control. 

One component of your coaching style is to teach your athletes and model for them a focus on controlling the important things in basketball (and life) in order to be successful.  Many athletes (and coaches) tend to waste time and effort on areas that are not under their control and become frustrated and concerned with these uncontrollable factors. 

Every person can be responsible for and take charge of three things: 

  1. Attitude  - Everyone can chose a positive attitude in even the toughest of circumstances.  The positive, optimistic approach is a strong factor related to success.  Faith and hope propel people forward and upward with possibility thinking.  Always choose a positive path.
  2. Actions - Choosing correct and positive actions can also contribute to success.  The friends you choose and the environment you surround yourself with are also important success factors.  You always can choose to work hard to improve and give your best effort.
  3. Responses - Life will knock you around if you let it.  But you don't have to let it.  Life and basketball are full of challenges.  Most of which you will tend to have automatic reactions with that often will be negative and disappointing.  Choose to make a learned positive response to all that happens to you, good and bad. 

You can't always control what happens to you.  You can, however, decide what to do about it or how to respond.  There is a positive, forward-looking way to respond to whatever may come your way in basketball (such as a turnover) or life (such as a mistake). 

Teach yourself to act/respond with positive purpose to each setback - find the value within.  Choose a response based not only on the situation but also on who you are and who you want to become as well as where you want to go.

So, a life/basketball lesson to teach and model for players is to develop to develop your coaching style around your unique personality.  Empower yourself and your players to focus on control of attitude, actions and responses.  Take responsibility for these three critical factors for success.


Teaching/Coaching Younger Players

October/November 2004

Coauthor Bruce Brown and I are very concerned with how younger players are exposed to basketball and learn the game.  In our opinion, there are too many:

We are developing a comprehensive basketball package for parents and coaches in youth basketball.  This package has been developed in cooperation with the preeminent basketball coaching organization in the United States, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), whose motto is "Guardians of the Game."

We advocate youth basketball focused on fun and fundamentals with coaches who primarily are interested in developing kids through sound basketball programs.  Parents are given information to evaluate youth basketball programs as well as prepare those parents who choose to coach teams in youth basketball.  In these programs, all players are encouraged to practice and play and be successful at some level.

The NABC instructional packet for youth basketball will consist of:

  1. Two Foundation Books
  2. Thirteen Videos (will also be available in DVD format)

Our hope is that parents and coaches will be able to develop worthwhile feeder programs for young people that will: 


Lessons from the Legends

April/May 2004

One lesson passed on by many coaching legends was presented in my February/March, 2004 coaching tip - to leave a coaching legacy.  This means to know yourself, develop your unique talents and serve basketball / others by passing on that unique legacy.

When noticing that most outstanding coaches do indeed leave a special legacy to their players and the sport, I was struck with the idea that those worthwhile legacies were often lost or at least diminished when that coach left coaching or completed their career.  One of my former players went on to become a Hall of Fame coach himself but tragically died from cancer prematurely in his coaching/teaching career.  From these ideas come these conclusions:

  1. Outstanding coaches lave special legacies.  These I call "lessons from the legends" of basketball - worthwhile ideas concerning basketball and life that are worth learning.  This concept could be called "getting the best ideas from the best people in the coaching/teaching field."  Hall of fame coaches of any era can be mentors for us all!
  2. It is a worthwhile lesson to undertake the good of preserving the "best from the best" legacies.  It is my intent to gather and preserve as many basketball coaching legacies as possible in a series of "Lessons from the Legends" books.  The first three books in the series is at the publisher and will be available soon - Lessons from the Legends of the Naismith Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.
  3. All coaches need to be open to learn the knowledge/experience lessons from successful coaches past.  What better arena to learn - get the best ideas from the best people in our field.

Leave a Coaching Legacy

February/March 2004

Know yourself, develop your unique talents and serve others has been my personal and professional mantra for some time.  To use this means:

One way to ensure your coaching legacy or specific imprint upon your players is to develop a special basketball passion.  Mine has been fundamental skills - the players and teams I have coached are acutely aware (sometimes painfully so) of my positive/insistence upon basketball basics.  They have literally heard me say "Capture and Chin the ball" hundreds, sometimes thousands of times during a career.  What you teach and emphasize is what you get in coaching.  Players notice/learn your emphasis/passion.  Enthusiasm is caught and taught.  Identify, develop and show your basketball passion.  Your players will learn to remember and appreciate it.  And it will become part of your coaching legacy; passed on and remembered by your players, hopefully as a positive factor in your lifelong relationships.


SUBSTANCE OVER STYLE

November/December, 2003

In my opinion, there is a basketball trend today that emphasizes style over substance. It can be seen at all levels of basketball, but is especially prevalent at the professional level. unfortunately, because of the vast media exposure of the NBA and to a lesser extent, the college level, there is a definite trickle down effect to all levels of basketball. It seems to be style plays that attract the most media attention. What do we see on ESPN Sport Center- the spectacular dunk shot or the great pass, an outstanding defensive play, and diving on the floor for a loose ball. I believe you know the answer to that one.

It seems to me that coaches are the only possible hope in reversing this trend that can affect the integrity of basketball as a team sport.  Who else can affect change?

So , what can coaches do to develop an emphasis on substance over style?

  1. Focus on fundamentals and fun in basketball programs. I agree with John Wooden who proposes that a dunk shot should only be worth one point because it is only a style/ athletic play as opposed to a substance/skilled layin shot.
  2. Reinforce great team plays rather than individual plays.
                        *assists/passes
                        *rebounds
                        *hustle/scrap plays
                        *screens ( setting and using)
                        *defensive plays
                        *great effort plays
                        *positive attitude, character plays
  3. Focus on team before self.
  4. Emphasis on service to team ( servant leadership) and team roles and goals.
  5. Reward substance with playing time.

Become your own best guide”   
Jerry Krause

October, 2003

In the media/information age of toda, there are literally hundreds of choices for basketball materials – books, pamphlets, videos, CDs, DVDs and software.  It is important for each coach to select materials that are right for them.  Some important criteria for this process are:

  1. Quality – to identify top quality educational material it is necessary to evaluate the coach(es) producing them.  What is the track record of teaching for that coach (not just their win/loss record)?  Have these materials lasted over time (more than one edition)?  Are coaches satisfied who have used these materials?  Another tip for determining quality is to consult professional reviews of the materials. 
  2. Substance – Is there breadth and depth for the materials?  For example, do the materials fully cover the subject; descriptions, demonstrations, explanations, teaching/coaching cues and drills?  Are the materials easily understood and implemented (user friendly)? 
  3. Reasonable – in cost and use.  Are the materials guaranteed?  Is replacement possible for faulty products or materials?  Is the cost within the accepted range of price for similar materials?  Can you convince your school to purchase these products for professional advancement?  In other words, do they pass the professional growth test?

Be cautious of getting materials from “name” coaches.  The best products are the best regardless of who produced them.  Find materials that fit you and your program.  Apply the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple / Simple)  It is more important to focus on what your players know, understand and appreciate.  Remember, it isn’t what you know but what your players know that is critical.  Find ideas that you can adapt to your philosophy and system – not adopt total packages (unless you are a beginning coach with limited knowledge).

A final reminder: become your own best guide related to other peoples opinion of your program and coaching.  The only test you need to pass is the mirror test – be able to look yourself in the mirror each day.  Remember to not take criticism personally – it is only someone else’s perception of what is going on.  You have to listen to others with an open mind but need to become strong enough and confident enough to do what is truly right (in your heart and mind). 


"Balance is perhaps the most important word for a player or coach to keep in mind." 
Coach John Wooden, Hall of Fame Player and Coach

September 2003

One of the keys to success in basketball and life is balance.  Balance and quickness should be emphasized in every basketball situation. 

There are many types of balance that must be attended to in order for any player to be effective in reaching their potential.  Some of the most important areas are:

  1. Basketball Balance 
  2. Life/Personal Balance

Failure List

July 2003

Somewhere we all must meet someone who sees greatness in us and expects it from us.  How will you see your players this month?


"Win with humility and lose with dignity"

May 2003

John Wooden stated an important maxim "Win with humility and lose with dignity."  Kipling reminded us to treat triumph and disaster exactly the same as they are both imposters.  From a coaching standpoint, this is a strong reminder for us as coaches and to teach our players this principle.  In order to achieve consistent performance, we all need to keep things in perspective.  This coaching tip is one way to develop consistency.

 

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