Monday, November 17, 2008

Allowing your assistants to do their jobs

Came across an article from last summer about coaches in their 60s and how they've adapted their coaching style over the years.

After leaving George Washington, U of Houston coach Tom Penders (at left) took a few years off to re-energize and observe other coaches, including Coach K at Duke:

"I watched Mike, who has a tougher job than anyone, and was impressed how much his assistants were involved. Chris Collins, (Johnny) Dawkins and Wojo (Steve Wojciechowski) were doing most of the teaching. Mike was more of a coordinator.

It's similar with Mike D'Antoni. He doesn't say a whole lot. He doesn't raise his voice. He'll talk, but he's doing more observing and evaluating. Now, my assistants are more involved. I've just learned it's very, very important to have quality assistants. If you're on the road, you have to feel safe in what you want them to do."

Like Coach Penders, Dr. Homer Drew also leans more on his staff:

"I utilize my assistants a lot more these days. They work with the players on their footwork, shooting and passing and do a lot of drill work. I'm looking more at the bigger picture now. It's been healthy for the younger coaches and preparing them for the next level."

Coach Drew also believes taking time away from coaching is beneficial:

"Professors who teach every 10 years often get a sabbatical year. It would help head coaches gain a new perspective. Plus, it helps the younger coaches make that transition from making suggestions to making decisions."