During the summer months, most coaches expect their players to put in the extra work in order to improve their game. But, what can we as coaches do to improve our game? In this two-part post, I will discuss some of my personal habits on and off the court, including research tips, creating opportunities for your players, and avoiding burnout that help me improve not only my coaching game but how I lead my team as well.
Research + Reflect
- I spend a lot of time going over my notes from they season before in order to learn from experiences, what helped and what didn’t, where we’re weak as a team and what I need to change in order for the team to improve in the desired direction.
- Research, I can’t stress it enough. My favorite tools are the DVDs from Championship Productions. I do enjoy in-person clinics but the DVDs allow you take the time and reflect on the advice they’re giving. TIP: the DVDs are expensive but if you shop right before school lets out, they usually have a summer sale going on, which is a great time to start your collection.
- I spend a lot of time looking at other programs at all levels and seeing what kinds of ideas I can transfer over to my program. You never know where you might pick up something that’s useful. Go to the local high schools, small colleges, and the big universities with an open mind and look for anything you believe in and can coach to.
- I always make sure my team knows that this is the time to work on their individual game. During the season, my focus is on the team as a whole. I spend a lot of time working out my players one-on-one and fine tuning the details of their game.
- By offering the one-on-one time, it also shows who is willing to work for it and who is taking the easy way out. I give them the control in this situation and make them set up the appointment if they want it. By doing it this way, you can really see who is dedicated and ready to work hard.
- For basketball, open gyms are always an option but they’re not my favorite. If anything, use this opportunity’s for your players to learn their new teammates. However, I will usually stop open gyms as soon as summer league games are over in order to give the staff and the team a break and pick back up again in September.
Take Advantage of the Downtime
- It’s important for both coaches and players – for the sake of health and sanity – to get away from the sport and each other as completely as you can and use the time to spend it with family and friends. This, however, can be a real challenge for coaches so make sure you’re conscious of how you’re spending your time and when you’re spending it away from your family. Also this downtime is important so you don’t burnout during the season which is quality time you won’t get back. I always tell my players that family comes first so I have to be sure to practice what I preach.
My next post in this two-part series will touch on recruiting during the summer months and how best you can utilize your coaching staff. How do you use your summer to improve your coaching game or create opportunities for your players?