Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Learning from other sports

Great story in my local paper today about Mike Martz, the Niners' offensive coordinator, and his emphasis on footwork and fundamentals for his QBs.

It reminds me of how similar sports are in terms of fundamentals and what a guy like me (a basketball coach) can learn from watching coaches of other teams -- football, soccer, baseball, lacrosse -- as they work with their players. I find myself doing this as I watch my kids work out with their teams.

In any sport, it's about things like timing, footwork, spacing, a good stance, balance, eye-hand, recognition, vision, communication with your teammates, etc.

I love listening to and learning from veteran basketball guys like Herb Livsey as he talks about a player's footwork or Hubie Brown as he talks about the importance of the timing of play patterns on offense.

My father learned so much from his college football days playing for former Detroit Lions coach Bill Edwards at Wittenburg (pictured above). He used to tell me that his basketball philosophy was borrowed more from football than from anywhere else and that Coach Edwards was the biggest influence on his coaching style. It's why he would meet with coaches like Paul Brown.

Along those lines, over the last 10 years, I've learned so much from coaches and managers in other sports as we talk about coaching philosophy, strategy, training camps, etc. Meeting with true professionals like Michael Lombardi, Jon Gruden, Pat Williams, Kevin Towers, and Bruce Bochy provides different, but relevant perspectives and management strategies. Their knowledge is surpassed only by their generosity.