Exchanged emails earlier today with a smart young recruiting coordinator at a Big East school. He asked a couple of questions regarding skills coaching that I thought were interesting:
1. Who are the best guys teaching skill work at any level?
That's a tough question as there are some great ones out there. Dave Hoopla is a great skills coach. I also think NBA scout Herb Livsey, Tates Locke, Pete Newell, Kevin Eastman, and Tim Grgurich do a great job. And Navy's Billy Lang is also an excellent teacher.
2. What are your thoughts on the longevity of this field of coaching?
Coaching's a tough profession -- not only on the coach, but on his family. I loved growing up with a father who was a coach, but not all sons of coaches feel that way. It also takes a special spouse to put up with the coaching lifestyle.
3. Are coaches at all levels neglecting skills that much where we need this new faction of coaching in such abundance?
I believe a good coach should be able to coach offense and defense. He should also be able to develop (i.e., teach) players.
But today it's about "specialization," and that goes for the coaching profession, as well. And it's not only coaches. Most players today have a specialty, too. Instead of guards we have scoring point guards, pass-first point guards, up-tempo points, and big points, etc. It's that way in baseball, too, with starting pitchers, middle relievers, set-up guys, closers, etc.
I like guys who specialize in basketball, guys who are well-rounded. At the same time, I understand the importance (and tactical advantage) of having really deep knowledge in a particular area.