The Art of Coaching

“Bruce had a fine line to tread. He had to teach me to be more disciplined without dampening my love for chess or suppressing my natural voice. Many teachers have no feel for this balance and try to force their students into cookie-cutter molds. I have run into quite a few egomaniacal instructors like this over the years and have come to believe that their method is profoundly destructive for students in the long run.” – Josh Waitzkin, The Art of Learning (p. 9) […]

A critique of coaches and the misunderstanding of learning

Last week, a friend attended a college basketball practice. As he watched, and grew frustrated by what he witnessed, he sent me a series of texts. The texts began:

The poor skill level in WBB is sickening.

I should mention that he watched the practice of a program with many highly-rated players that likely will be a top-25 team this season. To provide some context, my friend played and coached college basketball and has trained at least two All-Americans. I value his insight. […]

Double-Edge Sword of Demonstrations and Instructions

During my presentation, one question focused on the timing of block practice and random practice. In a traditional coaching methodology, coaches start with the block practice with lots of instruction and feedback and isolated drills. Once players show improvement, the coach adds a new element or puts the skill into a scrimmage. The decision-training style of coaching starts with competition-like drills and “hard-first instruction.” […]

The Purpose of Practice

Last week, I spent the week running basketball camps for a high school coach. We had sessions for high school players; 6th-8th graders; and 3rd-5th graders.

With each session, I had a different purpose. However, I managed the camp based on the players’ enthusiasm: if they appeared to enjoy something, we continued; if they did not, we stopped. […]