As basketball coaches, we are very quick to challenge our players to get in the gym, lift weights, play more, watch film, etc., which is a part of the job. What we don’t always do a great job with, though, is making sure that we are following our own advice and continuing to improve ourselves.
We get so caught up in the way that we do things with our system, player development, scouting, and so on, that we forget to be improving ourselves.
This is not something that should be happening, though. As coaches, it is critical to always be improving and investing in ourselves. Because just as a player is either getting better or worse each day, so are we as coaches.
So take advantage of these five ways that you can always be improving as a basketball coach. Before you know it, you will look back and not even recognize the coach that you used to be.
1. Read, Watch, Learn
With so many great basketball resources available, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be taking advantage of them regularly. There has never been a time in history where so much information was readily available. Whether it is video, coaching articles, books, podcasts, or whatever, there is so much quality information available. It is only worth anything, though, if you are taking advantage of it.
This doesn’t mean that you always need to be changing your coaching approach, or should buy into every new fad. It does mean, though, that you continue to fine-tune and master your craft as a coach. Because the more you can do this, the more success you and your team will have, and the more value you can add to the people around you.
2. Develop Basketball Relationships
Another excellent way to learn and grow as a coach, and a person, is to develop relationships with other basketball coaches and like-minded people. The more you can connect with other coaches that are pursuing excellence themselves, the more likely you are going to continue in your pursuit of it. This only happens if you spend time developing real relationships, though.
Coaching can be a challenging profession. Whether it is the pressure of a season, handling a specific situation, or whatever, it can be tough to handle. The more you, as a coach, have those around you that you can ask advice or receive mentorship from, the easier it will be when challenging times come.
As a coach, you should be looking for three types of relationships. Coaches you look up to for advice, peers that are on the same journey as you, and coaches that you can help pour into. If you have all of these, you are going to have an excellent support network, and also, life and coaching will be that much more enjoyable.
3. Coaches Clinics
A great way to invest in yourself is by attending coaching clinics. It is also an excellent way to meet new people and develop new relationships. By being around other coaches that are looking to better themselves, you will be able to learn a ton of information in a short period.
In some situations, you will also be able to ask a lot of different questions or be a part of a group that is asking questions. This will allow you to be able to get a much deeper understanding of various topics. You will be to pick the brain of coaches that are experts on different coaching strategies, and will better be able to formulate your basketball coaching philosophy.
Going back to developing basketball relationships, this is an excellent time to do this as well. Do your best to connect with as many coaches as you can, and develop real relationships with them. There is usually some kind of coaches mixer, or if there isn’t one, organize it, and use this as a chance to connect.
4. Communicate With Your Players
The best coaches typically have the best relationships with their players. This only happens, though, if you are regularly communicating with your players. If you want your players to buy into the way that you are doing things, they need a clear path to follow. They also want to know that you are real in everything that you do. So the more you can develop and create real lines of communication with your players, the better both of these areas are going to be.
For this to happen, though, you need to make a conscious effort to be communicating with your players. It could be small group meetings in your office, text messages, calls, or whatever. It is up to you to continue to work at this and develop real relationships.
5. Speak and Write
This is one that is a struggle for some coaches and will really challenge you to get out of your comfort zone. But if you are able to speak at a coaches clinic, or write an article for a publication or website, you will be able to get out of your comfort zone. And if you aren’t good at either, I would still challenge you to do it and work towards being better at it.
This will not only allow you to challenge yourself, but it will also help you get a better understanding of a specific topic. By having to prepare to write on something or speak to a group, your preparation for the topic will ultimately help you learn more about it. This is only adding to your value as a coach.
One of the most enjoyable things about being a basketball coach is the continual pursuit of excellence. It is the understanding of knowing that you can always be improving and challenging yourself to become better than you are right now, or have been in the past.
As a current basketball trainer in Tampa, Florida, I am always looking to watch and learn from other trainers. I may not do something exactly the way that they do, but I am always trying to pick up new drills, ways to teach a skill, and so on. This needs to be your approach as a basketball coach. You don’t need to take everything you hear or read and use it, but you should always be learning and continuing your pursuit of being the best coach you can be.
This only happens, though, if active steps are taken. It is up to you to learn, attend clinics, develop relationships, and so on. It has to be something that you value and are willing to pursue. Once this happens, there is no telling what you will be able to accomplish, and also the enjoyment that comes with a pursuit of excellence.