Creativity in coaching basketball

“In action and adventure sports, creativity is always the point,” wrote Steven Kotler in The Rise of Superman. “Football is a matter of creativity and imagination,” said former French footballer David Ginola in Dave Wright’s Performance Soccer Coach. In basketball, one rarely hears creativity mentioned so prominently as in other sports. Soccer coaches constantly mention creativity. Last week, Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger went even further than creativity and invoked beauty: […]

Illustrating the difference between Peak by Friday and player development philosophies

Last weekend, I was the assistant referee for an u16 state cup semifinal game in which the #1 seed lost. This was the third time that I had refereed the losing team, and they had won 9-1 and 18-0 in the previous games. In the 18-0 game in February, their striker played all but the last five minutes as a striker and scored 11 goals. Their goalie never left the penalty box and touched the ball twice in the entire game. Players never switched positions or tried something new. They scored and scored and scored again.  […]

Chaos, Creativity, and Right & Wrong in Youth Basketball

I am not anti-set play. I tend toward being a set-play coach as opposed to a motion coach. However, I attempt to teach in a way that does not restrict: Our plays are more like entries into a semi-structured freelance offense as opposed to directions to follow explicitly.  […]

The Predictability and Perfection Traps: Stifling Creativity

There are two general ways to improve performance: decrease negative plays and increase positive plays. In Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insight, Gary Klein used the equation:

Performance Improvements = Reduce Errors and Uncertainty + Increase Insights 

Klein’s focus was improving the creativity or insights of organizations, but many of his thoughts apply to basketball players, coaches, and teams. Klein argued that organizations fall into two traps (predictability and perfection) that stifle insights or original thinking.  […]

Using the club system to develop a true feeder system

Last week, after watching some of the youth teams in the club play, I asked to organize a coach’s meeting. My purpose for the meeting was a desire to create a club philosophy. Within our club, coaches change almost every year, as most youth teams are coached by senior players. Therefore, there is little consistency from year to year, and the growth and development of the players appears slow and fragmented.  […]

Differential Learning and Basketball

A BBC article titled “Cracking coaching’s final frontier” focuses on learning in sports. While many coaches pay lip service to their role as a teacher and the hardwood as a classroom, few understand learning. A Belgian soccer coach named Michel Bruyninckx calls his training “brain-centered learning” and approaches his coaching very differently than most coaches. He has developed several of Belgium’s young talents, and his methods have caught the eye of the Belgian Football Association. […]

Can “Fundamentally Sound” Be a Negative?

3355813378_f3399859e1

Several years ago, I trained two young players. Joey’s dad was a prominent high school coach. He had perfect shooting technique. His dad did not allow him to play in pick-up games or for an AAU team because he did not want any bad habits. He ran his own mini-clinics for Joey and his friends so they could play, though he structured their play and demanded precise fundamentals throughout. […]

Coaching talent and management strategies

I started to brainstorm this post after reading the article “Success Can Make You Stupid” in Fast Company. This morning, I visited Vern Gambetta’s blog and he had written this:

If you are a sport coach it is good to have some exposure to the game as a player at some level. With professional baseball the pedigree they often look for is someone who has played Major League baseball, this results in severe inbreeding bordering on incest. It allows little creativity or innovation. I think Bill Belichick is the coach he is because he did not play pro football.

[…]