Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Keep Teaching The Basics

Coach, don’t take it for granted that your athletes are picking up on the basics you are teaching them. We only remember a small percentage of what we hear. Repetition in the right setting increases our learning many times. Repeat the basics in different creative ways and ask questions in a situation to see if your athletes know how to handle it. They’ll adopt your basics as their own if you can help them understand what they are experiencing.

Coach John Wooden, one of the winningest coaches in any sport ever said this. "When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve a skill a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in that skill. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts."

How do you creatively keep teaching the basics to your athletes, maintaining their interest, enthusiasm, hard work and passion? Here are a few tips From the Book, Positive Coaching (Building Character and Self-Esteem Through Sports), by Dr. Jim Thompson.

Work On The Basics (The Fundamentals) Over and Over, until Your players “Get It.” (You want them to be able to execute a skill or situation “in their sleep”). When you think your players have “Gotten It,” then “Do it Again! (and keep doing it throughout the season to keep your team sharp.)”
Repetition is the key to over-learning, which can lead to excellent or outstanding athletic performance. If you don’t practice a skill, or move, or situation over and over, it is unlikely that you will ever learn to do it well in the heat of competition. This is why it is important for you to have a well-thought-out-plan for your practices that incorporate specific skill drills as well as simulated, game-like drills.

Recognize that organizing an effective practice is an art and requires a commitment to make it happen. Make the commitment to yourself and then to your players that you are going to work hard at doing the best job you can as a coach to help them develop as players, as a team, and as people. Care enough to stay and get your players to stay until they “Get It.” Make a Commitment to Learn!
Numerous resources are available:
* books, videos, websites, etc.
* Attend Coaching Clinics offered by local high schools & colleges, professional coaches.
* Talk to other coaches during tournaments…or coaches in the area you know or want to know. Tap into their wisdom and experience.
* Learn from your players: Many of them are currently receiving skill instruction, so ask them what they are being taught and about any drills they may be using from the instructor.
* Find out from them what their coaches have done from previous teams they played on.
* Recruit assistant coaches that have either played or coached.

BE PREPARRED IN WRITING! Remember: “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up going there…nowhere!” You need a destination and a map… a game plan with a purpose and end in mind. If you want to truly make the most of the limited time you have with your team, you need to think out ahead of time what you want to during each practice and write it down. Think it and Ink it!
A poor practice plan in writing is better than no plan at all!!