This group discussion was led by Travis Ford of Oklahoma State University, Shaka Smart of Virginia Commonwealth University, and Brendan Suhr of Coaching U. The discussion is about finding and coaching your team leader and also coaching the modern player. There is some excellent insight from all three of these coaches, and it is a must-read for any coach involved in the game of basketball today. These basketball coaching clinic notes are from the 2010 Florida Coaches Clinic and were compiled by Mark Daigneault.
Basketball Coaching Clinic Notes
Finding and Coaching your Team Leader/Coaching the Modern Player
Coach Suhr: NBA comes down to two things: 1. Basketball 2. Leadership
- Are your leaders your best players?
- Were you one of the best players when you played?
- Are you taking care of the potential leaders that are not your best players?
Who picks the captains of the team?
- Coach Ford gives his team a questionnaire and gets their input, but will ultimately decide who his captains are. He will also confer with the strength and conditioning coach.
- Coach Smart meets with potential leaders of his team once a week. This is an informal meeting where he lets his guys talk. He also allows them to run captain practices once a week in the offseason.
- He Will also meet with potential leaders in his freshman and sophomore classes to nurture leadership skills.
- One of the best ways to develop leadership is through recruiting – identifying potential leaders in the recruiting process.
- “What ifs” – pose questions to your players during the springtime that address specific issues that could come up on/off the floor.
- Coach Smart: 1st level of leadership is taking care of your own stuff. You can’t lead anyone if you don’t take care of your own stuff.
- The first time your team faces adversity, your leaders will reveal themselves.
- Coach Ford: James Anderson needed to be cultivated as a leader because he was the best player on the team, even though this went against James’ personality.
- You can identify a leader by who is following him.
- Almost as important to identify players with the wrong message. What is coming out of your players’ mouths when you are not around?
- Coach Ford spends the first two weeks of school very focused on who’s going to lead his team…especially when adversity sets in.
- Focus on the 9-10 guys that are on board with your message/culture.
- Cannot get distracted by 1-2 guys that are not.
- Three kinds of guys on your team: Leaders, Followers, and Cowards.
- Players don’t know what they don’t know, so we need to tell them what they don’t know.
- Bring in people that the players have high respect for to talk to the team.
- Get your leaders to see the game as the coaches see it.
- Common Kevin Garnett quote: “I hear leadership, I don’t see it.”
- Leadership is truth: the truth has to be told.
- The hardest place to provide leadership is with your friends.
- Leaders – do they occupy the seat or execute the position?
- Leadership can build or destroy.
- You can win without a great leader; you cannot win with a great leader of the wrong things.
- Three simple steps to getting what you want: Know what you want, Be willing to pay the price, and Pay it.
- Captains’ practice – once a week for 45 minutes.
- Have leaders show the team an edit on film.
- Have players give a scouting report.
- Have your point guard lead a walkthrough.
- 1 timeout per practice for his team.
- ‘Accountability Teams” – 3 teams with 1 leader per team.
- Used this over the summer with the strength coach in charge.
- Awarded points for various things: showing up on time, getting extra shots up, etc.
- There is always inconsistency between what a player wants and what he is willing to sacrifice/do to get it.
- He spends an enormous amount of time and energy getting to know his players.
- Will walk a player to class from time to time.
- Will bring guys to his house (usually meets with guys individually at the beginning of the year).
- “Bio Night.”
- Players are assigned to do bios on one other player, and all bios are presented on Bio Night.
- Coach selects who is partners with whom and says that he learns a ton about his players (and they learn a ton about each other ) during this night.
- He will also allow his players to ask him any questions they want.
- Need to maintain a good relationship with players because there are a lot of avenues for them to vent (Facebook, AAU coach, family, etc.).