Friday, March 6, 2009

Providing your players with candid feedback

MIL center Andrew Bogut, out since the end of January with a stress fracture in his lower back, had a private meeting recently with Bucks coach Scott Skiles in which they had a candid discussion.

"It's the first time a coach has brought me in and given me positive and negative feedback, and I appreciated that. It's tough to swallow for some guys, especially some who've been in the league for five or 10 years. But I want to get better as a player. To have a coach tell me things like that was important to me."

Asked how it's been playing for Coach Skiles, Bogut's third coach in four NBA seasons, the 7-foot Bogut brought up two key themes, both central to effective coaching: Accountability and fairness.

"I think a team, and each player individually, must be held accountable by the coach," Bogut said. "Coach Skiles has done a fair job of not just calling out the seventh or eighth guy on the bench, but calling out your first-, second- and third-best players. I think that's been the biggest change. Playing for somebody like that every day, it only makes you better as a player. Your game is only going to get better if you have somebody who's going to stay on you every day. It can get tough, and frustrating on some days, but in the long run, there will come a day in your career when you look back and say, 'That's the guy who helped me become better.'

He's not only a great teacher, but he's fair as well," Bogut said. "The stories you hear aren't always true. Just because he's tough and defensive-minded, as most NBA coaches are, that doesn't mean he's cussing us out every single minute. If we play well, he's very fair to us. if we don't play well, practice will be harder, which is the way it should be. I think he does a good job of balancing that."