Tuesday, November 25, 2008

As you lead so shall you reap

In a story about the recent passing of the great Pete Newell, there was a reference to a book written in 1942 by former Stanford coach Everett Dean (pictured here with his 1942 Stanford team), a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Luckily, I found an original copy on Amazon, which arrived yesterday (in remarkably good condition for a book that's almost 70 years old).

Early in the book, Coach Dean asks 19 of the top coaches of that era to outline their coaching philosophies. Listed below are a two highlights. As you read them, keep in mind these were written in the 1940s, but remain relevant even today.

John Bunn, basketball coach, Springfield College: Several years ago I put in writing my philosophy of coaching. Then I presented seven principles:

1. Have no secrets about coaching.
2. Play the game for fun.
3. Encourage freedom in play.
4. Practice democracy in control.
5. Foster aggressive demeanor.
6. Emphasize team effort.
7. Develop a personal, friendly, reciprocal, and democratic coach-player relationship.

These seven philosophic principles become more important as we see their possibilities.

John Mauer, basketball coach, University of Tennessee:

1. A basketball game is a series of mistakes. The team making the fewest mistakes will be most likely to win.

2. Possession of the ball means control of the game. Do not give it up until you have secured the best offensive opportunity possible.

3. Officiating varies greatly. Be sure that you secure the best men possible and then accept their efforts without criticism.

4. Each team experiences a series of offensive and defensive surges during the course of a close game. When you have your offensive surge, keep it going as long as possible.

5. A strong defense is the "stablizing factor" in your team play. It will enable you to stay within your reach of your opponents and prevent disorganization in your play.

6. Lay the groundwork for your season play in your early practice. Your team play during the season will be determined by how well you have laid this foundation.

7. Team unity depends on proper morale. Cement your team together by developing this morale and spirit.

8. All [players] will respond to a coach that they respect and like. Do your part to make them want to do well for you.

9. Basketball is a great game, worthy of your best efforts at all times. Be a credit to it both as a coach and a man.

10. The vital lessons of how to win and lose, how to conduct yourself under emotional strain, how to retain the respect of your opponents, and how to constantly go forward are a challenge to both the coach and the [players]. "As you lead so shall you reap."