Friday, September 19, 2008

If you can't coach your best player, you can't coach your team

I always look forward to Coach Duane Silver's emails. He's a veteran coach who is willing to share his insights, observations, and 35-plus years of experience. And he does so in a way that's clear and interesting.

Here are a few gems from his notes from this week:

-- If you're a high school or junior high coach, make it clear to the parents that you will talk with them about anything -- except playing time.

-- If you can't coach your best player, you can't coach your team.

-- If your opponent scores three times in a row, and you don't score, call a time out.

-- This may sound a little crazy, but Gregg Popovich does this: If the Spurs go on a run and score about four times in a row, and then the opponent scores, he calls time out and will get his teams attention and focus back. ( unhappy for his team giving up a basket)

-- If you're not a "defensive coach" you're not going to win big games.

-- You need to substitute early in the year for defensive mistakes. Most coaches do not do this. Watch 'em: They only substitute on offensive mistakes.

-- At the practice before a game, really get after your team. Then, on game day, they can't do anything wrong. Be positive. It works.

-- Here's a big mistake I've made as coach: I thought the kids weren't listening to me. I was wrong! They are listening. They just act like they're not.

-- Coaches say they want to fast break, but few emphasize it.

-- In the words of the great Joe Paterno, "Your players tend to become what they believe you think they are." They pick up on a coach's words and body language. If you don't believe in them, they'll know it and they'll perform that way.

-- When players come into the gym for practice and just start shooting around and talking it tells me they have an unorganized coach. To me they should come in the gym and have something to do. Have a plan for them from the moment they arrive. Ditto for pre-game.

-- Players want to be pushed hard. They'll not act like it, but they do. Kids only remember teachers who really challenged them.

-- Have dates with your wife and listen to her. Women have intuition that men don't.