As coaches there are big things you envision for the basketball program that you are headed to take over. Although the process is not easy and involves a lot of patience, understanding and cool, the positive events that unfold are always gratifying. Some of the best coaches have said that »Success lies in its simplicity; it is a process and not an event.« Although as coaches we might want a quick fix to every issue that crops up either with players or their games and attitudes, the key here lies in analyzing the situation at first and then organizing a strategy that works for you as well as your team. Being a coach is all about being a leader and the approach when taking over a program is the same as in business.
Before taking over a basketball program you need to be an inspiration off court as well. Most basketball players turn towards the game especially if their interest does not lie in academics. A good coach will always ensure that his team of players excel not only as players but also develop the right skills off the court. Most programs have young people who are aged anywhere between 18 to a little bit over 20 years. Most of them are either away from home while the others come from varied backgrounds and surroundings. If you happen to be part of the recruitment process for your team then knowing the applicants background etc helps a great deal. However if you enter mid way, you will probably have to work with a team that is already set with certain rules and type of management. Knowing about your players in this case could be a long process, but with a little bit of patience and talk you can definitely get there.
The objective you need to possess is to develop a program plan that has long-term success. This means tapping the skills of every team player who are ready and willing to perform to their highest capability not only in basketball, but also in school and socially. Being stringent with a cut-throat attitude could be met with rebellion from your team members. The idea is that you get them to understand the long term plans you have for them, and this is possible if you talk to them about the basic principles of being successful. This also includes inculcating habits that will not only make them successful players, but also successful human beings. Making an excuse for everything that they cannot achieve or make time for should be gradually eliminated with rules. A classic example is the movie, ‘Coach Carter’ where every team member learns not only to play as a team but also learn how to manage their lives, time, assignments and their physical condition.
By developing these habits and eliminating excuses, your team players will gain confidence which is the key to your team’s success. This also helps your team to be well prepared with confidence that is life changing and real. No doubt it is a tactical game, and implementation is not as easy as it sounds, but can be achieved. Your team members will not only be successful in the game but will also have productive habits.
Like coach Kruger, use the 80-20 rule for positive reinforcement to constructive criticism. »Blame yourself as a coach when the team looses, and praise your players after victories.«