This basketball coaching article was written by Adam Williams, who is the Assistant Director of Operations for the men’s basketball team at the University of Central Florida. He has been a part of the Knights program since 2012. Before joining UCF, Adam was a part of the Marshal program as well as West Virginia Tech.
I will often be in discussion with good friends of mine in basketball coaching, and they will ask me the question, “How do I get in?” It’s a simple question with a not so simple answer. These friends are often trying to figure out how to advance their basketball careers. And to be honest, I don’t really know if there is a right answer. What I do know is there are a few core components that will, at the VERY LEAST, make you much better at what you currently do. Here is a short basketball coaching article that I feel can help us all!
There is a reason I lead off with this term. Without a doubt, the most important aspect of becoming a college basketball coach at any level is RELATIONSHIPS. Relationships in recruiting, with other coaches, with important business people are all vital in advancing your career as a basketball coach. It is important to remember that just because you know someone, does that mean that they know you? There is a HUGE difference.
Very few in coaching will hire a person that they do not know fairly well. Trust is the most precious characteristic that we have in our business for a coach. Do I trust you? The bottom line is I must know you well before I can trust you!!
Do not be afraid to reach out. Write 2 letters every day to coaches you do not know but would like to. Attend basketball coaching clinics where you learn the game as well as meet other basketball coaches. Say hello to coaches on the road recruiting; ask them to grab dinner. You will be surprised by the response you get by spending a few minutes of your time trying to get to know someone else!
Answer this question about yourself: When I walk into a room, is my presence felt? If the answer is yes, then you are on your way. If it is no, you may want to consider making some adjustments with how you carry and project yourself to others.
No one wants to hire someone who is unsure of themselves or their decisions. A large part of this is being PREPARED when your number is called, but you must present yourself with a certain confidence or swag. If your boss asks you for your observation about a player or your opinion on a basketball play, he needs you to be confident in your response. If someone cannot look into your eyes and feel like you are sure, they will undoubtedly question you.
The ability to project this confidence to others and then follow through with results can help get you in the door and then keep you there!
You must add VALUE! What is your value? Are you a great recruiter, are you great with kids, are you great with office organization, are you great on the bench during games, are you versatile in all facets? You must bring something to the table that a basketball coach is looking for and cannot be easily replaced. The best part about this is you can do this from any position. Just be the BEST AT WHAT YOU DO!
If you are a DOBO and basketball camp is a responsibility, kill camp! Blow it out of the water! If you are the recruiting coordinator for your team, make it a goal to make a new connection or discover a new player every day. Find new basketball drills for individual workouts. Do something HARDER or BETTER than anyone else.
At the end of the day, Value is such a key in coaching basketball. You have to find a way to make yourself indispensable to whatever staff you are working with. If you add significant Value, those inside your organization will eventually not be the only ones to take notice.
HAVE A BROKEN WATCH
A mentor and coach of mine told me when I first got into coaching basketball: “There is ALWAYS something to do in the office.” This is so true. If you are worried about what time you are getting home or having weekends to yourself, you should re-evaluate your career decision. Coaching is not meant for those who aren’t grinders. To me, every successful basketball coach is a grinder. You will often see the media describe someone as a “grinder,” “relentless recruiter,” or “extremely well connected.” The truth is, every successful coach is one of these things.
I like to give younger guys this advice: Be the first to arrive and the last to leave. It’s that simple. That guide is the only watch you need to worry about when getting into coaching basketball.
I have saved this for last because if you remember anything, I want you to remember this. Be who YOU are! There are enough people in this world trying to be something they are not. Never compromise who you are or your personality for anyone. There is no reason you cannot do everything on this basketball coaching list and still be who you are at the end of the day.
Being a good, genuine, caring person above anything is the most important quality. It will allow you to look at yourself in the mirror every day and like what you see. And in this business, with pressure as high as it is, being someone you are not will eventually lead you to become exposed as a fraud. You cannot keep up an “Act.”
A Career in Coaching Basketball Conclusion
I do hope that some of this advice can help you in your journey as a basketball coach. Remember, we are in a great profession where we get to coach a game for a living. It is a privilege to do so; no matter what level you are coaching basketball at, I will leave you with this quote:
“They will not etch my record on my tombstone, but the chance to have carved something into a young man’s heart will last forever” – Tex Williams