How do we develop talented players?

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.  […]

The ultimate cliche: We need to play harder

With a two-goal lead, Southhampton had a corner kick against Everton. After a poor clearance, and a loose ball, Steven Davis crossed the ball from the left side outside the penalty area toward the center of the six-yard box. As the ball was crossed, Southhampton’s defender Maya Yoshida ran straight toward the goal, in between two defenders who did not see or react to him, and headed in the third goal in a 3-0 win. The television analyst’s lazy, cliched explanation for the goal was that Yoshida “wanted it more.”  […]

The overeager sports parent

Originally published by Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, October 2014.

Early on a beautiful Saturday morning, I walked to the park to watch my friend’s six-year-old son play his Little League teeball game. Nobody kept score, and every player played in the field, changing positions in the field and the batting order in every inning. Half of the team batted in every inning regardless of the number of players who reached base or the outs recorded. The coach emphasized fun, and nobody yelled at the children. When the energy seemed low, the coaches led their teams in a call-and-response cheer. As long as children this young were going to play baseball, this appeared to be a league that kept everything in its proper perspective.  […]

Coaching a European Club – Week 21

I started this week by having a talk with another of my young players. Late in last week’s game, he passed up an open three-pointer and committed a turnover. I explained to him that in the stats that I have (there are no official stats for our games, and nobody from our club travels to away games), he is shooting over 40% from the three-point line. I explained that 40% three-point shooting equals 1.2 points per shot, which is, at worst, our third best possible shot. He passed up the shot in a game in which he tied his career high with 20 points and missed only one shot. I implored him to shoot more, and that we needed him to take 6-8 three-point shots per game and 10-15 total shots.  […]

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.  […]