The Art of Coaching

December 31st, 2014

“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) Read the rest of this entry »

A critique of coaches and the misunderstanding of learning

October 31st, 2012

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Questioning as a Teaching Approach

November 2nd, 2011

Here is a short video from a recent clinic in Amherst, MA talking about using questioning as a teaching approach. Read the rest of this entry »

Limitation of a drill: How to make a coach more effective

July 5th, 2011

I ran a clinic today for some local basketball coaches and introduced simple ball-handling and passing progressions. The idea was to show drills that could be utilized in a practice environment where 40-60 players could be on one court. Read the rest of this entry »

Double-Edge Sword of Demonstrations and Instructions

June 4th, 2011

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.” Read the rest of this entry »

Athlete-Centered Coaching And Empowerment

May 2nd, 2011

My College Teaching class is designed to promote more student-centered learning, but the students are reluctant to embrace this idea. Read the rest of this entry »

The Purpose of Practice

June 19th, 2010

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. Read the rest of this entry »