Coach Tanglis on Delegating, Game Day Routines, and Enthusiasm

In the last of a four-part series with North Andover High School Coach Paul Tanglis, he told me about details. Specifically, Coach Tanglis touched on delegating, game day routines, and enthusiasm.


Coach Tanglis has learned over the years how important it is to have a second voice for players to hear. At the end of the day, the head coach is going to be the one making decisions, but the assistant coach is a partner in the process. In practices, his assistant coaches have become increasingly vocal. This helps insure that their voice carries meaning to the players, but also gives him a confirmation or sheds new light.

In the course of a game, his assistant coaches are vital in helping him see the big picture. Every timeout, Coach Tanglis will first huddle with his assistants because he knows that they are seeing the game through a different lens. After receiving their feedback, he will deliver a message to the players. He told me his thoughts are always shorter, but more productive than he would have delivered without the initial consultation.

Developing Game Day Routines

On game days, players are accustomed to consistency in the routine. They know where and when the pre-game meeting is going to be held. The amount of basketballs required for the warm-up is determined in practice before the first game. Where the team sits at the JV game is determined before they arrive at the visiting gym. During timeouts, they circle up so that every player can have direct eye contact with the coach. Coach Tanglis was adamant that if a player is in the second row behind the coach, his natural inclination would be to pay less attention. After the game players did not take off their sneakers until the coach talked to them.

In looking at my own team, we place a high value on focus, team spirit, and communication. All of these little rules that North Andover employs during games check off the boxes for these three values. Coaches can talk about values, but the actions taken to execute those values is really all that matters. Coach Tanglis’ game day routines are small details that I glanced over prior to talking with him.

Enthusiasm & Leadership

Up until my conversation with Coach Tanglis I always linked enthusiasm to leadership. He describes one of the best leaders he ever coached as the most even-kealed player at the same time. This kid according to Coach Tanglis did everything well. He came to practice on time, worked hard, and invested in himself and the team day after day. He was not a ruh-ruh type of player.

The point he makes is that a player can be a great leader and be a rah-rah type or the player can lack enthusiasm. If a player is going to be a rah-rah type, the challenge is two-fold. First, this type of attitude needs to be on display everyday. Teams will become dependent on that type of attitude.  Second, when a mistake happens on the court to that player, he or she must remain up beat and mentally prepared for the next play. Positive emotion is terrific, but if its sidekick negative emotion comes in equal installments, coaches are much better off working with players who stay away from emotion altogether.

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