Coaches Corner Archive
Reach Coach Krause's previous Coaches Corner articles:
Develop Your Coaching Style
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Teaching/Coaching Younger Players
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
- Untrained coaches
- Over-involved parents
- Over-organized programs.
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:
- Two Foundation Books
- Basketball Skill
Progressions - a book focused on skill development (what to teach,
when to teach skills and modifying the game for youngsters).
- Beyond the Backboard - the complete handbook on youth
basketball for parents and coaches (philosophy, planning, motivating,
practicing, teaching, playing basketball)
- 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:
- be challenging and enjoyable
- improve skills and allow successful experiences for all players.
- assist youngsters in developing physically, emotionally and socially
Lessons from the Legends
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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
Know yourself, develop your unique talents and serve others has been my
personal and professional mantra for some time. To use this means:
- Know yourself - identify your strengths and weaknesses then
develop an action plan to build on those strengths and overcome
weaknesses. This growth plan is a process and takes time.
- Develop your unique talents - every coach has a special
personality and unique coaching style. Be yourself (some say become
your best self) and don't try to evaluation some famous coaching style or
personality. No one should or will be able to coach as you do - this
is your coaching legacy.
- Serve others - ultimately, the coaching profession at it's
best is about service. Coaching/teaching is about helping others to
develop - physically, psycho-socially and emotionally. When the
effectiveness of your coaching is measured, it will depend on the
development of your players in basketball but more importantly, as future
citizens and leaders (person power). After all, relationships will
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
SUBSTANCE OVER STYLE
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
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
- administrators- possible but not likely, they tend to focus on $ and the
bottom line of winning and losing.
- players- most tend to be attracted to the spectacular, the quick fix over long
term fundamental foundations. Would a player be known for shooting layins or 3
point FG's, for the dunk shot or a reverse layin off the glass, for a steal or
preventing penetration with great footwork.
So , what can coaches do to develop an
emphasis on substance over style?
- 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.
- Reinforce great team plays rather than individual plays.
*screens ( setting and using)
*great effort plays
*positive attitude, character plays
- Focus on team before self.
- Emphasis on service to team ( servant leadership) and team roles and goals.
- Reward substance with playing time.
“Become your own best guide”
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:
– 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.
– 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)?
– 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
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:
- Basketball Balance
- Physical - Players must learn how to get in a quick stance and
maintain a quick stance with balance in order to attain maximum
- Offensive and Defensive - Both individuals and teams must
strive for balance between scoring and preventing opponents from
- Transition - On offense, teams must strike a balance between
offensive rebounding and establishing their defense, especially having a
safety back on defense. On defense, teams must establish a balance
between gaining possession of the ball (primarily through rebounding)
and pushing the ball up the court on the fast break.
- Inside and Outside - Again, players and teams should strive
toward achieving a balance between inside scoring moves and plays and
outside scoring opportunities.
- Players - A team should have a balance of players that can
excel at the primary basketball skills; ball handling, shooting,
rebounding, and defending.
- Team and Individual - Even though the primary focus in a team
sport such as basketball must be on team play, there should also be a
balance between that team play and individual play.
- Life/Personal Balance
- Emotional - One of the most challenging balance areas requires
us all to keep things in perspective in order to achieve
- Mental - Basketball is a game of finesse and reason, even
though quite physical in nature at times, therefore mental balance is
required for optimal achievement.
- Work and Play - The time honored balance between doing what is
required and what we prefer to do is always a struggle.
- Self and Others - One of the great lessons of a team sport is
to reduce the importance of self in order to serve others.
- Einstein was four years old before he could speak.
- Isaac Newton did poorly in grade school.
Beethoven's music teacher once said of him "as a composer he is
- F.W.Woolworth got a job in a dry good store when he was 21, but his
employer would not let him wait on customers because he "didn't have
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Boston
Celtics Hall of Famers Bob Cousy and Bill Russell suffered the same fate.
- A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he had no good ideas.
- Winston Churchill failed 6th grade.
- Steven Spielberg dropped out of high school in his sophomore year.
He was persuaded to come back and placed in a learning disabled class.
He lasted a month and dropped out of school forever.
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"
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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Coach Jerry Krause, 502 E Boone, Spokane, WA