1.1.4 Influencing a broader network of coaches
Why influence a broader network?
In addition to generally raising the
standard of coaching, which benefits the game of basketball, being involved in the development of coaches will also:
- Generate support for your team and programme amongst those coaches;
- Assist with the identification of assistant coaches in your programme and in the overall succession plan for coaching within the club;
- Assist in the identification of players and development of players, particularly creating a progression of skills teaching as the players move through the teams within the club;
- In a regional or national team, your players will spend more time within their club environment than in your programme. The more supportive the club (and club coach) is of what is being done in your programme the less conflict the player may experience between the two environments.
In terms of the development of
coaches that may be opponents in some competitions, the better their teams are prepared, the better your teams must be prepared, which again assists with the overall development of basketball.
How to influence a broader network of coaches?
This is mostly about developing
relationships with the coaches and may be done through participating in coaching clinics, making your practices open for other coaches to attend or creating a newsletter that you provide to coaches.
For regional or national team coaches (selecting athletes from clubs) meeting with each of the club coaches to discuss your programme and the players/coaches involved in it can be very effective.
In working with the coaches some key things are:
Take the time to find out what the coach is doing, what challenges they are facing and, perhaps most importantly, what they are interested in learning. This is obviously harder in a clinic situation, but whenever you have the opportunity spend time listening to the coaches that are in your broader network.
These coaches may know your players better than you do and may be spending more time with the athletes than the athlete does in your programme. Accordingly, these coaches may have insights into the players that will be helpful to you, whether that is an insight into how to motivate the player or their ability to play a different role.
To get the support of a network of coaches you need to share with them. Give them access to your practice sessions and your planning processes. Gaining access to the “inner sanctum” or to experiences that others do not get, can be exciting and motivating for coaches.
Explaining or sharing some of the difficulties that you are facing (e.g. in regards to the timing of camps) may result in the coach attempting to help rather than hinder the programme. One of the first things that you should share is your programme calendar.
Part of sharing is also being open with the coaches. If mistakes have been made (e.g. if regional team commitments conflicted with club commitments), admit them and be open to taking action to correct them or, at least, to avoid them in the future. If you are not sure of the answer, then say that.
Whether it is a technical question (e.g. how would you defend this situation) or a more general question, saying that you are not sure and then discussing how you would go about making a decision is a valuable response. It lets the coaches understand some of the process that you go through to make decisions and will enable them to reflect upon their own process.
Concepts, not plays
Your team may have a particular structure in how you play and you
will no doubt get questions about that. Answer them as freely as you can, but also give some insight into why that is your structure – is it because it suits your particular players or is effective against likely opponents?
It is important that coaches understand the reasons why, so that they can then determine whether or not it would be suitable with their own team. Many coaches will attend a clinic and then try to implement everything from the clinic with their own team, without consideration of whether it is suitable for their team. You can’t stop coaches from doing that, but you can:
- Let them know the factors behind why your team uses a particular structure;
- Discuss the fundamental skills that are required to effectively use the structure that your team has;
- Demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of your structure;
- Discuss what variations you could make and the factors that would influence that decision.