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Managing the Game: Recommendations for Coaches on the Basketball Sideline
Chad Seifried, Ph.D., RAA, Louisiana State University and Tim Casey, Upper Arlington High School (Columbus, OH)
PowerBasketball would like to thank Chad Siegfried and Tim Casey for providing our latest series helping coaches and providing insight into what it takes to really "Manage the Game".
Post Game Management
Following the conclusion of the game, the players will again return to the locker room and we advocate meeting privately with your staff to review the outcome and any statistical records immediately available. Keep in mind the scoring book will not likely be accessible until you get done meeting with your team. This emerges as another reason to have others collect the information you want and need before addressing the team. We encourage, the head coach, especially take some time to reflect upon the outcome and review the keys of victory established in the pre-game meetings with the staff and team. Critical questions we typically ask include: a) Did we prepare our team to win?; b) Did we adapt our system to our personnel or ask them to adapt to our system?; c) What positives can we take from this performance?; d) In what areas do need to make improvement?; e) What is/was our team's overall attitude and level of effort?; and f) How did we handle adjustments and did we make the correct ones to better our performance? Like halftime, we review our pre-game notes and messages with our team and compare their performance with our expectations.
After our final words, we remind them about the time and place for the next practice and the locker room clean-up policies, especially on the road. We advocate posting general locker room rules at your own facility and holding your student-athletes accountable for their conduct or misbehavior. We believe it is necessary to instill a sense of pride in keeping your place clean and to leave a good impression when on the road with your program and/or school. Developing a locker room chart about daily clean-up expectations and duties will help improve locker room behavior both home and away. Also working with the custodial staff and gaining their input and/or advice can help much toward your attempts to keep your locker room healthy (i.e. well-maintained). We suggest you provide them some incentives to help you out (e.g. reward or punishment).
When on the road, you will also likely need to make an announcement about the location of the bus. Before the season, we review expectations for bus behavior and require our players to thank the bus driver for their contribution toward their and your experience. We propose you also set a time limit for your players to clean-up themselves and the locker room so you do not unnecessarily loiter there or keep the bus driver waiting. This could be especially important if your team faces a long ride home on a school night. Remember, in many places the bus driver's night is not done after they drop you off at the school. They might also have to return the bus to some location before they too can go home. If your program is fortunate enough to possess a great booster club or parent's group it is possible they might provide opportunities for snacks before you leave on while driving back home. We advise you to discuss the type of snacks they might provide or places you might stop before the beginning of the season. We urge you to develop or review an existing menu before making plans to feed the players.
Interaction with the media is also another area for you, your staff, and players to deal with following the conclusion of the game. One of your assistant coaches should gather the relevant statistics and score book from your official scorer to report news in the local newspaper. This information can also serve you just before you meet with any reporter (e.g. television, radio, or newspaper) about the outcome and your perceptions of the game. Some members of the media might wish to interview one or more of your players after the contest so plan to make an announcement about this in the locker room too following your post game speech. This is something you can also take some time to prepare your student-athletes for during practices. For example, during the year we actually take some time out of our day and invite a member of the media (e.g. television, newspaper, or radio) to conduct some mock interviews with our players and lead a general discussion about what kind of questions we (i.e. our team) can expect from them. We also will remind them during the conclusion of our post-game meeting about what they should say about our opponent and our own play during the game.
College coaches recruiting your players might also wish to meet with them after the game. We recommend for you to ask your players at home to greet the coaches quickly following your post game speech. On the road, we advise the opposite and suggest for you to focus on getting them showered and ready to leave. We believe this helps the college coaches talk to possibly two distinct sets of kids separately which will give each team some highly valuable personal time with those coaches. Following this practice should also allow your program to leave the coaches with a better impression about your program because it also allows them to perhaps get back on the road quicker. As the head coach, you also should prepare to answer some questions about these coaches and announce their presence to those individuals in the locker room during the media announcement. Likely, you will know before the game if a college coach is coming.
If you are anything like our staff, you will likely want to take a look at the copy of your game/video. You could recruit a freshman/junior varsity player, manager, or hire some person to serve as your videographer. They or you should set up the equipment in the approved/preferred location before the game and following the conclusion of the game should bring the equipment back to an assigned assistant coach for the burning of copies if necessary for you to watch and study. Likely after the players, media, and college coaches leave you may meet with your staff, at home or on the bus, to plan out your next day's practice. The results of your game from their perspective and others along with the game video and stats collected should be utilized to guide your thought process about the next day. Finally, after the lights go out and you head home, remember to be nice to your family and try to leave the game in the gym. They probably saw the game too and just want their dad, mom, husband, or mother in that capacity, not the coach.
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