Negativity in sports among coaches and players

I referee a lot of soccer: Recreation, club, and high school. Nearly every week, if not every game, I am astonished at the behavior of the coach toward the players, and the players toward each other.

In many teams, it appears that there are pre-ordained scape goats. When something goes wrong, everyone yells at this player or these players, but when a different player makes a mistake, not much is said.  […]

Decision-Making Reps in the Pre-game Warm-Up

by Paul Cortes
Head JV Boys Coach, Jewish Community High School of the Bay
Youth Basketball Coach, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department
AAU Coach, Bay City Basketball

One common lament from coaches is that players don’t come out “ready to play”. We complain that our players don’t start playing hard until the game is well under way. While this could be due to player work ethic, the coach’s motivation skills, or simply a disparity in talent, a key factor in whether players are ready to play is the nature of the pre-game warm-up. Part of that is getting players to warm up hard, to work up a sweat. The other part of it is mental. […]

Why do we use drills?

I start with the premise that the game is the best teacher. In every moment of a game, players make decisions. Even when I stand in the corner, I make the decision to spot up rather than cut to the basket (of course, this is different when the coach controls everything and tells the player to stand in the corner, regardless of what happens, but that’s not how I coach). […]

Practice What You Do Most

One of the things I love about this website is the attempt to “rattle the cage” and ask “why?”.  This website is a community of outside the box thinkers who do not accept, “it has always been done that way” as an answer to questions about coaching while keeping in mind that some methods are still around because they are truly time tested.  The joy of coaching is finding out what works for you and your program. […]

Artificial intelligence, deep learning, and skill development

I have compared parents and coaches attempting to control the every movement of their children on a basketball court or soccer field to fantasy football. On Twitter, Innovate FC gave this type of behavior a more eloquent name: Playstation coaching. An article about robots and artificial intelligence provided another metaphor. […]

Avoid choking in unrehearsed situations

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, September 2015.

When Dustin Johnson hit the green in two strokes on the 18th hole, he had a putt for an eagle and the 2015 U.S. Open championship. Instead, three putts later, he settled for second. The putt for eagle was a tricky 12-foot putt, but the putt for birdie to force a playoff with Jordan Spieth was a 4-foot putt. According to stats, Johnson had made 96% of his putts inside 5 feet this season prior to the U.S. Open. The popular narrative was that Johnson choked.  […]