I saw this video this weekend and was wondering how it related to basketball. I knew it did because when I watched it I only thought about basketball (maybe because I’m a “freaky”). But then I realized it is the innovation, the lack of fear to try something new.
As coaches and teachers we have the obligation to be innovative. Sometimes it feels like everything has always been invented but this is never the case, the way to coach and teach basketball will be different in 20 years just as it was different 20 years ago. Maybe the “traditional warm-up” will be some sort of martial-arts routine to ensure not only physical preparation but also the mental preparation of preparing your team for “battle”. We can’t be afraid to innovate.
It’s a constant theme that great coaches preach but young coaches rarely accept.
In order to be successful you have to be yourself, you can’t be somebody you aren’t, no matter how much you study them.
This can be difficult when you look at the successful coaches that you aspire to be like and you notice some major differences. So many times coaches try and copy successful coaches which is a major mistake. Learning from successful coaches is necessary but copying should be treated like plagiarism in a University. Learn some things here or there but be true to yourself and who you are, especially when coaching.
Last week I had the opportunity to go and watch a full week of practices for F.C. Barcelona’s basketball team, currently leading Spain’s ACB and the reigning Euroleague Champions. Outside of the NBA, it is debatable wether there is better basketball to be found.
This was a part of the education or formation of coaches organized by the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB). Spain is the model for their commitment and programs for educating their coaches and I will repeat, the benefits are just beginning to be seen in the talents arising regularly out of the youth leagues.
Watching Xavi Pascual coach was a great learning experience to see what they are doing on a day to day basis at the highest level in European basketball.
Obviously I won’t get into any detail about specifics so as to not come close to breaking the privacy agreement that the coaches make prior to attending these sessions.
Watching Pascual in action for a week of practices was a great learning experience. Learning from the best is a great way to learn.
Top level coaches from all over the world consistently repeat that going to watch other coaches practice is one of the best ways to get better as a coach. So to be able to go and watch a week of practices of the ACB team of your choice, and in my case F.C. Barcelona being directed by Xavi Pascual, one of the best coaches in Europe. It is an opportunity coaches in Spain are very fortunate to have, and the fact that this opportunity is available every year is almost unthinkable. But it is a reality here in Spain and I am grateful to have been able to finally participate in this program. It was an experience that I will never forget and just enhances my positive feelings toward the FEB’s commitment to educating coaches in the game of basketball.
Here is a nice video about Ricky Rubio and his legend and his current situation here in Barcelona. Was happy to finally see the shot that he hit in the European Championships that I had heard so much about. Honestly I have twice as much confidence in his success after seeing that clip than before. For a 15 year old to have the presence of mind to call for the ball after a dagger of a 3 in the championship of a European Championship…it says alot about his competetive nature.
As a coach we have to find a way to get in the house. When I refer to getting into the house I mean playing well and coming close to realizing their potential. If we try to determine success based on wins and losses we will never be satisfied. Instead, as Wooden so famously proclaimed, success should be based on the effort and the realization of potential both individually and collectively.
Have a plan but don't be stubborn against changing your route. There are countless ways to guide your team into the house.
So with the objective to get our team into the house (or to play well and realize their potential), How do we get there?
I think each coach has his methods to guide their team to their destination. Every coach is an expert in their own area and they know the route through the front door, the back door, the bathroom window or any of the other many possible solutions to the problem of guiding the team into the house. And it is exactly that point that we must always remember : THERE ARE MANY SOLUTIONS AND WAYS TO BE SUCCESSFUL AS A COACH. We should have our method mastered but at the same time be willing to adapt and to recognize as quickly as possible if “our route” is not working with our group and make the adjustments necessary to make sure that we get into the house.
Don’t let the mission fail because the front door was locked.