Measure Your Success By Your Effort

Footwork Makes You Smarter

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Importance Of Measurable Tasks In Tryouts.

I witnessed an excellent tryout this week for the U17 Provincial Team. After a few warm up drills where players were being accessed for their basic movement, skill, athleticism the structure of the Try-Out began.
The Tryout was set up with an initial footwork drill. The players were shown an offensive move driving from the perimeter to the paint. The footwork was finishing with a 2-step, outside inside foot, pivot back for the reverse jumper creating space on the finish. The footwork was demonstrated, the separation was demonstrated, but the reasoning was not explained. It’s a Tryout, so the details of why are not as important as determining if the players are at the stage that they can pick up on the nuances and perform the skill. There was a series of progression drills that followed with 2 players based on that move, then three players incorporating proper rotations and spacing. Again the reasoning was not explained and I agree with that stance in a Tryout.

The next series went to 2 on 2 drills, where the players if they understood what was going on would then try to incorporate the skills learned in the previous drills into the 2 on 2 games. The Tryout then progressed to 3 on 3 games and eventually 5 on 5 games.

Now truly you can’t expect to see those concepts being applied in the 5 on 5 situations. You can only hope you’ll find a few players that get it. The rest think it’s about them scoring.

At each station there were coaches with clip-boards assessing the situation and taking notes. My hat goes off to that group of coaches.

Brad Rootes - Head Coach
Chris Cheng - Assistant Coach
Fatih Akser - Assistant Coach


Coach Paul

Monkeys In A Cage

There is a difference between a captive audience and an audience held captive.
Coaches any drill can be good or bad depending on what you do with it. Make sure your drills are teaching skills that can be applied to the game. Change your drills so that your players are not bored when they come to practice. I know it’s better to be razor sharp at a few things then mediocre a many things, but that does not mean you can’t teach the skills you want to emphasize in different ways and in different drills. Give your players new challenges in your teaching environment. It’s been my experience players actually want to work hard for you. They are bored when they are not working hard.
Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life. – Confucius

Coaches give your players a job they’ll love.

Coach Paul

Coach By Consequence

Coaching by Consequence, it is not for everybody but just consider the following.

Turn on any game, and you will see Coaches parading up and down the sidelines, leaving their designated boxes, throwing clipboards, chairs, swearing, shouting at players, shouting at Refers. We see this behaviour at all levels of competition. We see very successful Coaches displaying this behaviour. Is it any wonder that this trickles down to youth levels? Where are the mentors?
What does any of this type of behaviour have to do with coaching? You are not coaching when you are acting in this manner. Personally if the opposing Coach is acting in this way, I think I have an advantage. He is no longer coaching, and I will take advantage of that. I never think, “hey he is getting an edge up on me with the Refs and he’ll get all the good calls”, quite the opposite. You are not putting yourself in a good light with parents, referees or players You are simply not setting an example Do you actually think Refs don’t log that type of behaviour? Do you think it won’t have an effect on the game? Referees are people they are influenced by their emotions. Why do you think we have phrases like “the make up call”. Think about the amount of energy goes into this behaviour and the percent of times you get the expected result (the elusive call reversal). More often the flamboyant complaints end up in a call against you. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein
The bulk of coaching happens in practice. That is where you prepare your students/players for the exam/game. That is where you teach skills. That is where you teach behaviour. That is where you teach your systems. That is where you give life lessons. That is where you become an example and mentor to your players.
I see a strong parallel between coaching and teaching. I also see a strong parallel between coaching and parenting. In a picture perfect world we want a Coach to present the best knowledge he or she can about the game in an exciting or interesting way so that the players are sparked to learn. Is this not the job of a teacher? You want them to know their material, and to make it interesting. In the end, it’s the player that has to do the learning, but you can change the learning curve by knowing your material and presenting it in an enthusiastic way. You would also want to know where the boundaries are for behaviour and what the expectation for performance is. Is this not the job of a parent?
Be clear about what is expected. Have rules for performance and behaviour. Do you want to be the Coach that is always screaming or the Coach that motivates by making players want to learn? Have a consequence when they break a rule. I’ve always used a rule for being late for practice. I like to know ahead of time if you will be late but regardless of the reason you must buy your way into practice. Depending on the age, the buy-in is adjusted. An example would be 30 push-ups, 30 sit-ups and 3 minutes on the jump-rope. No yelling, no screaming, just a natural consequence for being late. It’s been my experience there is no fuss about it either. They just do it. I don’t mind players talking in drills, matter of fact I encourage them cheering each other on, but you must not talk when I’m talking. When I’m talking I’m teaching. You can’t learn if you are talking while I’m teaching. Consequence for breaking the rule can be as simple as sitting out of the drill. If the kid is a player, he won’t want to sit out. For more Rules for games, practices and floor time click here

When you coach by consequence you have to be willing to removing the safety net. A fall and get-back-up experience can be a helpful tool in a player’s / person’s development. Self realization learning may take longer, but it is always more powerful. All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.
-Sir Winston Churchill
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Don’t accuse me of being Pollyanna. I’m not so na├»ve that I don’t understand that there is big money on the line, and jobs at stake. I understand the immediate effect that screaming and shouting can have. But the law of dimensioning returns dictates that this behaviour must be amplified each time to stay effective. Why do we have one expectation of behaviour for a teacher in a classroom, and when that same teacher moves to a different room in the school, the gym, we accept a different set of behaviours. Best run class I ever saw when my children were in elementary school was from a young petite teacher. She set out the rules early. She wrote them on the board, and soon as one was broken she pointed to them and placed a checkmark against the rule that was broken. Second checkmark there was a consequence. When walking through the halls of that school, that class was always well behaved and the students were happy and in a frame of mind to learn. Other classes looked like chaos, with yelling a little control.

Coach Paul

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is Confidence A Skill?

Is confidence a skill? If confidence is a skill, who owns it? Just like ball-handling or shooting, confidence can be taught. Just like any skill some learn quicker than others, and some are more naturally adept to excel in that area.
With deliberate practice a player can become more confidence just as they can become a better ball-handler or a better shooter

Coaching parenting and teaching are very similar in that the power structure is not balanced nor should it be. As a coach you should be someone that is mentoring and teaching. You can be friendly but you are not the player’s friend in the sense that both parties are equals. When you teach it is your responsibility to make it an interesting and exciting environment in which to learn. In the end, any thing taught, whether it is ball-handling or confidence, it is up to the individual to learn it. They own that skill. When a player thanks you for making them better, remind them that they did the work. They learned the skill, and that you were happy to be part of that. That skill belongs to them. They worked at making it better under your guidance.

With the power balance being skewed there is no doubt you can have either a positive or negative effect on a players confidence.

What can you do to help players improve their confidence?

• Positive feed back during drills in the form of sound-bites in drills. Give teaching point and its pure information
• Provide an exciting and positive environment for players to learn
Visualization Exercise For Improving Focus
Shuttling (Internal- External Concentration)
Recognizing, Stopping And Replacing Thoughts
Positive Self- Talk And Thought-Stopping For Improving Focus
Managing Distracters And Focusing On Relevant Cues
• Help players set goals for themselves and for the team. Use S.M.A.R.T. technique
• Conduct sports meditation sessions or introduce them to the concept.
• Help them form rituals
• Have them reflect on their achievements. Hard work and dedication equals results. Have them take a mental snap shot of where they were, where they are now, and where they want to be.
Help them live in the moment.
Coach Paul

Monday, May 3, 2010

Complete Scorer

How many weapons do you have in your arsenal? To be a complete scorer you need to have many.

I see most players practice their catch and shoot. This is good, but what if that shot is working for you today, do you have other weapons to help you and your team.

Coaches love the extra pass to get the ball to the player for the clean uncontested catch and shoot, how many times will that happen for you in a game.

If you are the designated sharp shooter, and that’s the only weapon you have, most good coaches will shade their help defence towards you, to take that weapon away.

More importantly are you shooting at game speed when you practice? Are you charting your progress? Are you timing yourself?

In order to be a completed scorer you need to have the following weapons.
1. Shoot with left hand off of right foot
2. Shoot with left hand off of left foot.
3. Shoot with right hand off of left foot
4. Shoot with right hand off of right foot
5. Catch and shoot
6. Shoot off the dribble (ability to create 3D space)
7. Shoot when you have lost your dribble.
8. Shoot in the Post