I had the pleasure of taking Ryan and myself to my old high school to watch the Buckeye Lady Bucks (can there be Lady Bucks?) under the leadership of my old basketball coach Randy Haury. I have done this the last three years whenever I have been in Litchfield visiting my parents during basketball season. He has always been very gracious about letting me have some input into practice, which I appreciate tremendously. I hope my input provides some value, and more importantly gives the players another voice to hear reinforce sound concepts.
I got a kick out of watching Ryan on the sidelines during the practice. He was very animated and verbally into the action. I did not understand everything he was saying, but I loved seeing the enthusiasm. I enjoyed getting him into the athletic environment so he gets acclimated to what happens.
Coach Haury has a young team with low numbers of upperclass students and little varsity game experience. An outstanding win/loss record may be difficult to achieve, but he is looking forward to the journey and the learning that will take place. He believes if they can be successful fundamentally, they will have a chance to be very competitive.
During practice, I did some coaching on fundamental skills. However, I thought the area for greatest improvement was in team communication. The first thing I noticed during drill work was there was very little communication amongst teammates. This team has NO chance to be competitive without positive basketball communication between teammates. Communication is just as critical a skill as offense and defense, and in fact is the only constant on both ends of the floor. The communication needs to be supportive and affirming, as well as tactical.
I think the team’s most talented player, Sara, has a chance to be an outstanding leader and solid player. We had the discussion about being responsible for Sara being the team’s most competitive and hardest worker so she would have leadership credibility with her teammates. She has a tough choice to make, be a nice teammate or a leader who may ruffle some feathers. I hope she makes the leadership choice, I saw some good examples in practice that I really liked.
The communication aspect is really important for this team, because they need a sense of purpose and develop an exceptional practice work ethic so they are getting better everyday. Improvement for game performance will not happen without this occurring. This is a collective responsibility that needs to be embraced by those players committed to excellence.
I went to practice on a Saturday morning. I am curious to see how many players picked up basketball AT ALL before practice on Monday afternoon. How many players thought about the game? The answer may provide some indication on the level of commitment the team currently has.
When a lack of win/loss success or lack of playing time, there becomes an immediate reaction that it must be the coach’s fault. There is a serious lack of personal accountability within the players and parents when these issues arise. I hope players can consult this list and see if they are doing these things before they begin to blame others.
What every basketball player can and cannot do
- Did you make 100 game speed shots/day?
- Are you in better cardio shape than anyone else?
- Are you playing good defense, including help defense and boxing out?
- Are you communicating on the floor?
- Are you turning the ball over?
- Are you pushing your teammates by going hard in every drill and scrimmage?
- Are you pushing yourself hard, or pacing yourself during practice and games?
- Are you making things easy or difficult for your opponent?
- Are you trying to make things better yourself, or are you blaming others?
Being part of a team can be a great thing, or it can be a terrible thing. My encouragement is to look inward to be personal accountable FIRST, walk the walk, and then you have the credibility to talk the talk. Come from a position of strength and commitment.
I would love to hear your comments.