10 Things To Make You A Better Coach
from the coaching newsletter,
by Chris Kusnerick, Head Coach
St. Anthony High School, Effingham, Ill.
Winning Hoops is published six times yearly. We would like to thank Lessiter Publications for allowing us to reproduce this article.
1. Use A Computer
Computers are great. Four years ago I wouldn't have thought about touching one for coaching, but now I couldn't live without one.
A computer has made me a better coach because now I'm more organized and better prepared. The word processor program is great for letters, making schedules, rosters, practice plans, etc. I have my entire playbook saved on a disk, including all team rules and regulations.
A few computer software programs, such as Practice Pro Planner and Assistant Basketball Coach, can make your basketball program "computer friendly."
2.Preseason Parents Meeting
A preseason meeting with the player's parents is a must. This is a great way to interact with the parents and they will be impressed with your effort.
Meeting lets you outline your philosophy concerning practice, cutting players, playing time, etc. It also gives the parents a chance to ask questions and meet the coaching staff.
The past few seasons we've had the parents meeting the night of the preseason intra-squad scrimmage. After the scrimmage, we invite parents of the players on all levels for desert, coffee, etc. We have each player pay $5 to cover the cost of the evening. Considering how much the parents will be doing for their children throughout the year, $5 isn't that much to ask of the players.
3. Attend A College Game Or Practice As A Team
This builds team unity and gets your players away from the practice floor together in an informal atmosphere. In the process, the players have the opportunity to learn something by watching the game or practice.
I haven't met a college coach yet that wouldn't let us sit in on their practice. Most coaches will give you free tickets to a game as well.
Anytime you can get your team away from the court to build relationships among the players, it will increase team unity. Plus, as a coach you get to observe and learn more about your players.
4. Work A Basketball Camp
I work one or two camps during the summer besides running my own. It gives me a chance to meet other coaches and learn how they do things.
A lot of my best ideas have come from other coaches I have met. At a summer camp, you have lots of knowledgeable coaches around you-the perfect time to ask question after question on any facet of the game you're struggling with.
It's also a great way to build connections. When you are looking for a new job down the road, it pays to know as many coaches as you can.
5. Give Players A Practice Plan Each Day
I started doing this a few years ago and I wouldn't do it any other way.
Each day during the season, I'll post the practice plan in my classroom. Players stop by throughout the day to check it out. It's also a terrific way to communicate with your players, pass out forms (insurance, physical, schedules, travel itinerary, etc.) or just get a chance to see them face-to-face during the day.
It lets the players know what I want to accomplish in practice that particular day. It gives the players more responsibility—if they want to know what's going on, it's their duty to find out.
6. Great Fund Raiser
Bring back old players, divide them into classes and have fun. Every coach wants the support of the alumni and this is a great way to keep former players on your side.
7. Have A Christmas Party
I've done this every year I've been a coach. As a team, we exchange names with a $5 or $10 limit. Include the cheerleaders, managers and scorekeepers to make them feel an important part of the program. It's another great way to get everyone in an informal setting having fun away from basketball.
8. Attend Junior High Practices
At our school the junior high season starts in early October. This gives me the opportunity to help the junior high coaches.
It also gives me a chance to interact with the younger players who someday will be playing for me. It also allows you to evaluate the coaches and see if they're teaching correct fundamentals.
9. Individual Evaluations In The Spring
This should be a must for all coaches, no matter what sport. Players need to know where they stand. Let them know their weaknesses and what they need to work on to improve.
As a coaching staff, we evaluate our returning players in the spring. We'll also have each player fill out an evaluation form on themselves. Then I set up an individual 15 to 30 minute meeting where each player and I will go over the evaluations.
This individual meeting is great for goal setting and inspiring players to improve in the off season.
10. Hard Work
Let's face it, nothing beats hard work. As a coach, you have to be willing to work harder than other coaches. Putting in the necessary time can be difficult, especially with families, but nothing replaces hard work.
We're always telling our players that anyone can play defense—it just takes hard work.
A good basketball program can be developed by any coach too—it also takes plenty of hard work.
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