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By Adam Heck

“Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming “ – John Wooden

Be yourself

It’s very important that whatever your style of coaching, be yourself. I mean this especially in your temperament. If you are out-going, be out-going. If you are quiet, be quiet. If you are a screamer, scream (within reason). Don’t try to be like some famous coach that you idolize. Certainly, there may be many excellent ideas and qualities that you can and should learn from successful coaches like Coach Wooden and others, but incorporate them into your own philosophy.

Be organized

You are the leader and must be organized. A disorganized coach imparts this disorganization and a sub-standard approach to the entire program. If you are not organized, others (including players) will not take you and your program seriously. Everything must be organized… your practices, game routines, schedules, year-end banquet, team camps… essentially your entire program.

When parents expect practice to be over at a certain time, end it then, not 20 minutes later. Start practices on time. If you must be late, make prior arrangements with your assistants. Have your “paperwork” done… scorebook entries, stats sheets, your school’s athletic code of rules and policies, etc. Make notes and reminders so that you don’t forget to do things that you have promised to do. Surround yourself with good people… loyal, dedicated assistants who share your passion for the game.

Be open, learn from others

All great coaches have learned what they know from other coaches and players. Don’t take the attitude that you have all the answers and are the greatest coach to ever walk the earth. Be humble and eager to learn from others. This is how you become a better coach. Like players, coaches should “be coachable”.

Attend coaching clinics and camps. There are numerous videotapes and DVD’s, covering every aspect of the game, that you can study. Go to games. Watch games on television. Read basketball books. Assistants should try to learn everything they can from the head coach, as this is a great learning opportunity.

Impact young people

You are not their parent, but you are in a position to be a real positive, important person in the lives of each of your players… never lose site of this. Teach by your example and how you treat others. Be a person of integrity. Players are looking for your guidance, your belief and trust in them, and your discipline. Be their mentor more so than their friend (although you will develop strong friendships with most).

Treat all players with respect and make them all feel important as individuals and members of the team. Have fun with them, but be sensitive to their needs. Help develop character, not “characters”. Help young people to develop priorities… spiritual > family > school > basketball. The coach-player relationship is a vital cornerstone to successful coaching.

Communicate with your players as a group and one-on-one, and maintain an “open door” policy. Before the season starts, meet with each player individually about goals, expectations, etc. Have occasional team meetings to discuss “issues”. Ask players for their input at halftime.

Foster a great work ethic

Once they lace up their shoes and walk onto the court, all of the day’s problems and issues are put aside, and each player must focus on the job at hand. Each player owes it to the other players to practice and compete as hard as he/she can. Every player, coach, assistant, manager, etc has a job to do. Your star players and seniors should lead by example and work hardest of all, and set the tone for the entire team.

“If my players work hard every day, then they won’t have to worry about game plans, or where they play, or whom they play, or about rankings and so on.  They have their daily behavior – their discipline- to fall back on.”  Pete Carril

“Don’t mistake activity for achievement – practice it the right way”  John Wooden

“There is no substitution for hard work. There will be disappointments, but “the harder you work, the luckier you will get.” Never be satisfied with less than your very best effort. If you strive for the top and miss, You’ll still Beat the pack!”  Gerald Ford

Team concept

The coach must instill the concept of “team”, rather than the individual. A cooperative team spirit must be cultivated both on and off the court. A team whose players come to understand that they are part of something more important and bigger than their individual considerations, and become unselfish in their thinking, will achieve more and will obtain more satisfaction from the overall experience. A team must arrive at the notion of a singleness of purpose and a dedication to the course. The idea of “don’t let your buddy down” is a good one.

“Discipline is the whole key to being successful. We all get 24 hours a day.  It’s the only thing that’s equal.  It’s up to you as to what we do with those 24 hours!”  Sam Huff

“No matter how much you think you suffer, how much you think you sacrifice, there are thousands of others who have suffered more, given more….don’t stop working!”  Willie Schaeffler

By William Arthur Ward

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool

To weep is to risk appearing sentimental

To reach out for another is to risk involvement

To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self

To place your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd is to risk their loss.

To love is to risk not being loved in return.

To live is to risk dying.

To hope is to risk despair.

To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.

They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.

Chained by their attitudes, they are a slave, they have forfeited their freedom.

Only a person who risks is free.