- If possible, have a colleague film one of your sessions and wear a wireless microphone when your session is being recorded. When watching/listening consider:
- how much of the time are you talking? How often do athletes speak?
- are you having to repeat instructions? Were they clear the first time?
- how much of the time are your comments:
- positive – general encouragement (e.g. “great job”, “well done”)
- positive – specific feedback (e.g. “nice pass”, “good hedge on defence”);
- positive – correction (e.g. “next time, put “chin to shoulder” before pivoting”);
- negative – correction (e.g. “don’t turn without looking first”)
- negative – specific feedback (e.g. “instead of driving for the lay-up you should have passed the ball”)
- negative – general (e.g. “it’s just not good enough guys”)
- In planning for your next practice sessions consider some questions that you can ask players to:
- test whether or not they understand your instruction;
- see how well they can “apply” a particular playing rule;
- help the player to identify what mistake they made and how they might avoid that mistake in the future.
- How often during a practice do you speak for more than 1 minute? Given that a timeout lasts for 1 minute, try at your next practice to limit all instructions to 1 minute!
- Ask players for feedback at the end of a training session – what is one thing that they will take from that session and implement at games or focus on developing? Do they identify the things that you believed were key? It can also be useful to have a team captain facilitate this session and then report back to you.
- Do you start every practice by saying hello to each athlete and asking how their day was? Do you finish every practice saying goodbye to each athlete?
- Explain a basketball concept to a colleague (they don’t need to be a basketball coach).
Then explain it to them a second time in a different way. Have your colleague stop you if you:
- use the same words or diagram the second time that you did the first time;
- use words or diagrams that they don’t understand (this is common when we use “technical terms” without explaining them);
- raise your voice or show other signs of getting frustrated!
Could you explain the concept a third time? Discuss with your colleague how different approaches might work better, or worse, with different people.
- Conduct a practice session without speaking!
- Do you use “penalties” when you are coaching? What are the potential downfalls of doing this?
- What is an activity that your team particularly likes to do at training? How could you use this activity as part of a reward? When would you use it in this way?
- “Feedback is more about what is heard than what is said.” Do you agree with this statement? Discuss with a colleague a situation where feedback was ineffective because of this.
- Why are reinforcement strategies most effective with young players instead of penalties? Discuss with a colleague when penalties may be effective with young players.
- Answer each question below as quickly as possible. Record your answer and then listen to your answers.
- divide the team into 3 lines on the baseline, with one line at each intersection with the 3 point line and the third line under the basket;
- have players in groups of 2 with each group having one basketball;
- get the group to divide into two teams, with the 5 players that started the last game in one team and the substitutes at the start of the last game in the other team;
- stop the activity and have players assemble in the corner of the court where one of your assistant coaches is standing.
- Do you have names for each activity that you use? Ask five separate athletes to describe how a particular activity works, but only give them the name you have for that activity. Are they correct?
- Write down a description of the skill level of your most skilled player and least skilled player. Reflect upon your last practice – were both athletes challenged in each of the activities? Discuss with a coaching colleague how could you have varied activities to better cater for both athletes.