1. Take time to explain what we want from our players. We must strive for clarity
2. Demonstration after we tell our players what we want; there must be a
demonstration each time. We need to give our players a picture demonstration
before we get into repetition.
3. Building blocks are the only way to develop a player. For example, if we do not
address a players feet and be specific about how we want him to pivot then it will
cost us down the road. Do not rush your teaching. We should do one thing at a
4. Teaching your team to be physical takes technique, sequential instruction, and
patience. It is easy to call a player a "nutless wonder" without considering that
most players have never been taught the finer points of hand to hand combat. If
we would spend a little more time with football coaches we would figure out how
to teach our team to be physical.
5. Be objective about an all out effort. We demand that a player go at 100%
effort. What is 100% effort and has there ever been a player who knew what that
meant. Probably not? For instance, put a heart monitor on a player and measure
their heart rate. The instructor can be more objective about individual effort this
way. Yet, we talk and sometimes yell at our players about going "all out" all the
time. What a stupid statement when you really think about it. How can a player
read and think? For example, a good offensive player must learn how to change
speeds with cutting and ballhandling. This requires that the offensive player
control his body and NOT play at 100%. Too many times we buy into the myth of
the 100% effort and forget about going after a player's intellect before asking for
a quality effort.
6. Demanding perfection. What a bunch of crap! The more a person chases
perfection the less they can enjoy each act. How can a perfectionist be happy
with anything? The least enjoyable person to be around is the perfectionist; I find
a lazy dog to be just as unpleasant. Demand that people do the right thing, yet do
not fall into the trap that nothing is ever good enough. If you are always chasing
perfection then how can you teach a player to enjoy a job well done. As Coach
Wooden stated, "A man must find balance, be it emotional, physical, spiritual, or
intellectual.". Why is it that certain coaches will say that they were devastated by
the loss at the end of a 33-1 season? If you believe in your preparation and
teaching process then how can any loss devastate you? In other words, losing is
part of sports; you learn from it and move on. A disciplined mind comes in many
different forms and being mentally tough also requires that you must accept the
brutal reality that no one is perfect and a quality effort is a joy in and of itself
regardless of outcome.
7. Follow through. If you want discipline in your organization then follow through
with consequences for actions. Our discipline breaks down when we do not
quickly punish the transgression. How come so many coaches fall prey to this
area? Because it could hurt the outcome of your season if you lose a certain
player. My experience tells me just the opposite. For example, George
Gwoldecky, head hockey coach at Denver University, benched his best player for
the national championship game. Coach Gwoldecky made a statement for all
8. Take care of ourselves first. Whether it is our mental and physical health (i.e
eating, exercise, prayer, reading, etc) daily schedule, finances, family, and other
personal matters, we need to address those things first. Why? Because if you are
not in order how can you fully give to your team, staff, and school? You cannot.
9. Apologize. We demand so much from others and we want them to see their
mistakes and fix them. In short, we set ourselves above our own vulnerabilities;
we should openly admit our errors. Once you have done this in front of your team
it will be much easier for them to acknowledge their mistakes. This is an
imperative act by the head coach if you want quality communication.
10. Allow for failure. Part of learning is the margin of failure and sometimes you just have to let the players fall flat on their rumps. This is difficult but necessary.