Tips On Maximizing Your COVID Season For Coaches & Programs

By FastModel Sports

#HoopsForum, Radius Athletics, Tony Miller, A Quick Timeout podcast, YouTube, FastModel Sports, FastDraw, TeamFastModel, basketball, coaching, COVID, team culture, program building

A list of helpful tips on navigating yourself and your program through this unusual COVID season from Radius Athletics and Tony Miller.

Nothing gets us pumped up like seeing dedicated and passionate coaches talk about teaching the game of basketball and getting better at what they do.

Even better when the discussion involves two individuals who are part of #TeamFastModel!

Regular FMS contributors Tony Miller and Randy Sherman of Radius Athletics recently launched a new video series called #HoopsForum where they discuss the pressing coaching topics of the day. The show is highly interactive as Coach Miller and Coach Sherman use feedback from the coaching community to shape the direction of the chats, so make sure you share your input!

The first episode was a phenomenal discussion on making the best of this unprecedented season (or two) which has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We rounded up our favorite tips below, and you can watch the full episode here.

Maximizing Your COVID Season

As coaches, we’re constantly preaching adaptability with our players, so we must embrace this trait ourselves as well.

Coach Sherman has been instilling a specific message with the coaching clients that he consults for: This situation only temporary.

In the grand scheme of things in terms of your coaching career, this will be a small portion of it, so don’t put too much pressure on how this season will affect your coaching legacy.

“What’s next mentality”

Accept the facts that are in front of you and the rest of the world. You may not have control over whether your state is playing games or not or the ability to have a full roster for practice. You may not get to do the normal hour long scouting report meeting or video review. Nothing is going to be perfect — just go out and play!

With updates of health and safety information changing everyday, things can change at the drop of a hat. “Be ready so you don’t have to get ready,” the coaches say.

Don’t get lost in distractions and the lack of routine this season. We can only control what we can control, so take a “what’s next mentality” and coach the kids in front of you.

Treat every practice and game as a gift. Coach Miller, an assistant at the college level for Bob Jones University, notes that this essentially a “free year” for his players as they will not lose a year of eligibility. He’s particularly focusing on player development with his team. He also points out that setting expectations, both for players and coaches, is key to having everyone swimming in the same direction.

Grow your program’s culture

Try to see this season as an interruption to progress but not a regression. Both coaches mentioned focusing on the long term of where your program is headed, and thinking about how you can shape that direction and measure positive growth.

The good news is that coaches who have built a strong program and team culture in the past will reap the rewards of this work.

But even if those areas aren’t to the level you’d prefer or if you are new to a program, here’s your chance to develop it in your vision going forward.

Review your program from top to bottom, establish or re-establish an identity, develop alignment with other teams (Varsity, JV, Freshman, Jr High) if applicable, and lay the foundation for future success.

This season will favor programs with alignment and an identity, but so will most “normal” seasons! Take this opportunity to focus on “who you are.”

Get creative with your team

“Be a basketball coach without the basketballs,” says Coach Sherman.

Now’s the chance to step up your leadership capabilities and think outside the box for team activities to replace the in-person time you may be missing out on. Some examples from Coach Sherman’s clients:

  • Zoom meetings
  • Group chats
  • Book club or sports movie night
  • Leaderboard of activities where points are awarded for various tasks: 500 shots, ball handling drills, watch a video, sharing play diagrams
  • Calls where you don’t talk about basketball

The point is, find a new way to develop a sense of community even though you may feel disconnected from you team and vice versa. The options for new ideas are infinite.

Challenge yourself to develop

Although this year is imperfect, it is the perfect year to level up your coaching abilities. Choose an area you where you can improve and that will make an impact with your team.

However, beware of overconsumption, or as Coach Sherman says, “Don’t eat everything on the cafeteria table.” There are endless clinics, webinars, books, etc. out there to help you, but you don’t need to (and can’t/shouldn’t) consume them all. Have a filter on your intake of professional development content. [Related reading: What’s Your Basketball Genre?]

Once you’ve decided on a path and have a notebook full of information, it’s time to organize and synthesize it all. Figure out what is most impactful and useful, and what will provide an immediate return on your ability to coach your team.

Don’t be afraid to delete old stuff as well when going through your coaching files. Adopt a minimalist mindset and clear out the clutter. Coach Sherman notes that this also reduces subconscious stress: Those books or digital files may not be taking up that much literal space, but they do weigh on you subconsciously every time you come across them. Either decide to utilize them or get rid of them!

Many ways to get better

Sure, COVID has made this season a challenge, but you can challenge it right back. Become a better teacher of the game, connect with your players in new ways, develop a stronger team culture, and

Check out more from Radius Athletics:

Check out more from Coach Tony Miller:

With the uncertainties of this season, there’s no better time to invest in yourself and your program. New subscribers enjoy 10% off FastDraw and FastScout with the code SAVE10. Use our products to keep your team connected and make sure you’re prepared for whatever the year throws at you!

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