The NBA is not a development league; it is a competition, and most teams strive to win as many games as possible to reach the playoffs and ultimately win an NBA Championship. However, few players are finished products, and many players enter the NBA barely out of their teens, which means that continued player development is imperative for continued team success. Therefore, coaches not on the 76ers have a balancing act: Win games and develop young players to continue to win games. […]
What is the job of a coach? At the professional level, an argument could be made that the coach’s job is to put the team into position to win. How does one accomplish that goal? There seem to be two approaches: One limits players in an attempt to reduce mistakes, whereas the other attempts to develop and expand players. […]
The guys were beat up on Monday. This was the toughest stretch of the season: play Thursday, practice Friday, play Saturday on the road (home after 1 A.M.), off Sunday, practice Monday, play Tuesday on the road (home after 3 A.M.). Compared to an NBA schedule, or even some high school schedules, it does not seem so bad, but players here are accustomed to playing one game per week. […]
We entered the week down 1-0 to the top seed (21-1 in regular season). We had two practices to prepare after a 14-point loss. Nobody in the club gave us much of a chance; the club manager stopped me Thursday before our game and asked if we were going to practice on Friday. He was implying that we would lose Thursday night, and our season would be over. I said, “Of course we’re practicing. We’re not losing at home,” and walked away. He told me over the Christmas break that reaching the play-offs would be a good accomplishment, but not reaching them wouldn’t be the end of the world. The club hadn’t beaten our semifinal opponent in four seasons or been past the semifinals, and nobody believed that would change now. […]
One goal (duty) of a coach should be to increase the team’s motivation. In Sven-Goran Eriksson On Soccer, the authors suggest that motivation is a function of self-confidence – when a player loses confidence, his motivation wanes. […]
Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness.
My friend – a father of five and a good youth basketball coach – sent me this email:
“Here’s a stupid story. My son is playing minors baseball (with actual pitching) this year. He’s always been a real confident player (almost cocky), and he’s an above-average player at his park and easily the best player on his sorry team. Anyway, he swings at a lot of bad pitches. His coach yells at him and threatens to move him back in the order every time he grounds out or pops up on a bad pitch. I stayed out of the way until I realized he was so nervous at the plate that he was striking out. I finally got it out of him that he was trying to walk because he was afraid of swinging at bad pitches and he wouldn’t swing until he had at least two strikes and then he would swing at ANYTHING. I told him to stop listening to his stupid coach and swing at anything he thought he could hit. Anyway, he ended up making the All-Star team and is doing OK again.” […]