There are a lot of different basketball coaches out there with different coaching styles and philosophies, and many of those styles and philosophies conflict with each other. For example, one coach may be completely committed to tough half court defense and walking the ball up the floor every time, while another coach wants to run and gun the entire game. Both coaches could be really successful with their styles of coaching, or they could both struggle to win games.
Coaching basketball the right way and being successful at it, involves a lot of different factors, and even though there is not one cut and dry way to be successful, there are some core principles that every coach should aim for with their team. This article is going to cover some core coaching principles, and some tips to being successful as a coach. Because this is such a broad topic, there is also going to be some great links to other quality articles breaking down some of the different topics as well.
Developing the culture of your program is most likely going to be one of the hardest things that you have to do as a coach, especially at the beginning. Team culture is the way that you believe your program should be run and what your team should be about. It is the standard that you hold all of your players, coaches, and managers to; regardless of whether you are winning or losing. Whether it is how you expect them to conduct themselves in classes, practice, games, etc. you have to be willing to work towards it everyday, and also understand that it is going to be slow going at the beginning.
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The offensive and defensive system that you choose to run with your team can have a big impact on whether you are successful or not as a coach. A great example of this is coach Mike D' Antoni. When he was with the Phoenix Suns as there coach, he had great success with his run and gun style of play, but when he got to the New Your Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, his teams really struggled to win games. The reason why is because he tried to use his run and gun system with the wrong personnel. The Knicks and Lakers teams were not built for that style of offense, and by playing it they really struggled.
So as a basketball coach you need to make sure that you give your team the best possible chance to win. That means that you need to be able to adjust your system to the players that you have on your team. Ideally you want to be able to recruit or bring in players that are going to already fit your system, but if you don't have that ability you may need to change your system from year to year.
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Coaching basketball is more than just X's & O's, and trying to win games. It is about teaching your players and developing real relationships with them. Not only will this allow you to get the most from your players on the court, it is also a lot more rewarding knowing that you have had a positive impact on a players life outside of basketball.
Getting back to performance though and being able to get the most out of your players, think about it like this. If a random stranger walked up to you and asked you to help them move out of their house the following day, you may say yes because you are a really nice person, but most likely you would come up with an excuse, or just say no. However, if a close friend or family member asked you for the same help, you would say yes because you care about them and want to help. The same thing goes for coaching. If you have real relationship with your players and they know that you care about them, they are going to give you everything that they have on the court.
Article: Getting More Out of Your Players
Great teams have great players. That doesn't mean that you need to have a player that scores 25 points a game, but it does mean that you need to have players that are able to step up and make big plays when needed. Very rarely are you going to get a player like this straight out of the box. You must be willing to help develop your players, and spend the needed time on building up their skills. This is especially true when coaching younger players.
As a coach there are only so many practice hours or basketball training hours in a week, and the temptation is going to be to spend all your time working on team stuff like going over the offensive sets, defense, out of bounds plays, game situations, etc. You need to fight this idea though, and still work in some skill development with your team. Even if it is only 20 minutes during practice, make sure that your players are working on their different skill sets. After all, it doesn't matter how great your offensive set is if your team can't make the shot at the end of the play.
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Coaching basketball the right way is not always easy, but the coaches that have been able to figure it out are enjoying the benefits of it. Hopefully this article has given you some food for thought and will help you with coaching your team.