I hope everyone that is sick returns to good health. For anyone that is not sick, I hope you remain in good health and find the opportunity in this crisis. School is no longer in physical session for me. Free time is in abundance. Below are three strategies that I have taken on to optimize coaching basketball in the midst of the coronavirus scare. Jay Wright in his book Attitude made a profound statement regarding any type of adverse situations:
“The word ‘crisis’ in Greek means ‘opportunity.’ So during a crisis in my life, on my team, in my business, or in my marriage, we can ask ourselves, ‘Where is the opportunity in this mess? Where is the opportunity to grow stronger?’”
1. The Steve Nash Workout
I passed along an email all families in our youth program. The gist of it asked all players to complete a 20 minute shooting workout that Steve Nash used to use each day until April 7th. To hold players accountable and make it competitive, I asked them to record it in a Google Spreadsheet. Some of the players do not use Google Sheets or are brand new to it, so my expectations are low there. That said, many families and players have responded positively to the idea, so I think they are invested.
I know that the video is not the most exciting, so I also gave a Cliff Notes variation of what Steve Nash does. I stole this from a set of clinic notes that someone provided from Bob Hurley. Feel free to steal it from me since I stole it from someone else who quoted someone else who watched someone else.
The Value of the Steve Nash Video
The Steve Nash workout is not perfect from a skills development standpoint, but it checks off many boxes. First of all, a hoop and a ball is all that is required. It is designed to be an individual workout which means that social distancing is maintained. I cannot find a better video that incorporates individual skills on the Internet. If you have one, please share it in the comments. Second, the workout is relatively short. Twenty minutes is not asking for much, and when you compound a twenty-minute workout over a span of weeks, growth is bound to happen. Third, there are a variety of skills and finishes that Nash uses. Guards develop forward moves and vice-versa.
The spreadsheet is something that I created and gave them editing privileges using Google. Hopefully players that are especially competitive see their peers on there and feel the social pressure to compete with them.
2. End of Season Reflections.
Our team started using Google Classroom late in the season. I uploaded our playbook and scouting reports and went away from printing physical copies. Reading Coaching Better Every Season by Wade Gilbert (highly recommended) the past couple days, I realized the opportunity to get feedback on our season. I created a Google Form and posted it to the Google Classroom. Players answered either true, somewhat true, or false to the following prompts which were taken from Gilbert’s book.
Players enjoy playing for our team.
It is hard work, but fun to be on our team.
Players on our team grow as people.
Players respect, appreciate, and encourage each other.
We deal quickly with players who disrupt team harmony.
Setbacks and defeats do not undermine morale.
Players enjoy coming to practice.
Coaches balance giving players praise and criticism well.
Bad news is dealt with honesty, face to face.
We focus on getting better, not just results.
Communication is of the utmost importance to us.
Coaches listen as well as speak
Players’ feelings are important to us.
The Patriots are to blame for Brady leaving.
The Purpose of the Survey
The process is not perfect. Players might not answer truthfully if they believe the coach is going to hold a grudge based on their input. That will always be the case when you solicit feedback. Players were encouraged to be honest and I think there will be a chance for me and the other coaches to reevaluate our culture based on these responses.
In addition to the survey, I asked our senior players to also fill out a more open-ended survey in Google Forms. Here is what I asked them:
- Did you enjoy the season? Why or why not?
- If you were the coach of Saugus High girls hoop next year, what’s the first thing that you would change?
- What was your opinion about our scouting reports?
- Provide one thing you like about our film sessions and one thing that you think we can improve about film sessions.
- One thing you like about our practices…
- Something that could be improved about our practices…
- What is your greatest regret over the last four years?
- What is your favorite basketball memory over the last four years?
- When you become a basketball coach, what is something that you will copy from what we do? What is something that you will do differently?
- Eighteen years flew by and now you’re almost done with high school athletics. It’s just one of many examples of how finite life is. When ultimately your life is through, in one sentence how would you like to be remembered?
I have asked the players permission to share their answers on this form and will do so in a future post.
3. Write a list of five.
Each night before going to bed I make a list of five things that I want to accomplish. I write them on a marker board so that I see them every time I walk to the refrigerator (I make this walk frequently). Exercise and reading are consistent themes, but at least one item is about basketball. Today for instance I sent off a series of questions that I will be asking a couple coaching friends that I network with. We have agreed to do a teleconference at a mutually agreed upon time.