Thursday, February 5, 2009

Good coaches make adjustments based on the needs of the team

Another great story from Winning Hoops, this one about Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, won won "four Division III national championships at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, including a
mind-boggling 5-season stretch where his teams went 138-8."

Now in his eighth season with the Badgers, Coach Ryan has guided UW to the NCAA tourney seven times, reaching the Sweet 16 twice and the Elite 8 once.

In his three head coaching stops, Coach Ryan focuses initially on two goals:

"Our first issue is to make sure that the players understand what it’s going to take to achieve our goals and how much work it’s going to take to get there. I need the players on board with everything I’m going to implement."

"Meanwhile, while I’m explaining the commitment end of things to our players, I make sure the locker rooms, the facilities, the weight room and everything else that’s a part of the program is upgraded. The players need to know that there’s alwayssomething being done that has their best interest at heart. If they’re making a commitment to us, we’re making one to them."

According to the article, "many coaches will initially think that bigger-picture things such as
facility upgrades aren’t in their control and that they don’t have the resources at their disposal that a Big 10 program has."

"The first things we did, for example, when I took over the programs at both UW-Platteville and UWMilwaukee was to build a new locker room,” he says. “Now, I didn’t stroll into those schools and demand that they be rebuilt for me. We took it upon ourselves as a staff to hustle it and get it done. We worked hard to get people to donate time, money and materials at both schools. It shows the players that if they’re out there working hard for the ‘new coach,’ they’re going to be treated with respect and the fact that things will get better.

The more they work, they better they’ll become as players on the court and the more we work as a basketball-program collectively, everything else around it will be better. Mortar and brick only goes so far — but it does send a message to the players that there’s a commitment to them.

I have no sense of entitlement ever. That’s not the way I was raised. I don’t except other people to do things for me. But I do expect other people to help if we’re all making a commitment."

As for practices, Coach Ryan recommends focusing on "drills that emphasize what we deem as the most-critical skills to have in order to execute as a team. The important thing is to make sure that you get your teaching points across."

Build versatility into your practices. It’s a progressive thing. You can’t just say, ‘Well, on October 20th we’re going to do 15 minutes on transition defense, 10 minutes on fade and backdoor cuts, 18 minutes on baseline inbounds plays,’ and so forth.

Groups of players change each year. Some groups of players are older, more experienced and know the fundamentals, while others are younger, inexperienced and have less discipline
. You can’t expect 18 year-olds and 22-year-olds to get to the same place, at the same level and in the same timeframe.

Good coaches make adjustments based on the needs of the team
. You need to be regimented and go over everything, but with built-in flexibility.”