The Seven Essential Roles of a Basketball Coach

Post First Published On

Just as you have segments of the game that you must cover in practice such as offense, defense, shooting, special situations, conditioning, etc… there are also seven segments that you need to perform to effectively lead and develop your basketball team.

  1. Philosophy and Leadership—Define and instill your program’s ideals.
  2. Organization and Management—maximizing the resources at your disposal.
  3. Individual Participant Development–Develop your players’ skills and attitudes within your system.
  4. Team Development– Develop, implement, and teach systems for team play that fit your players’ abilities and strengths.
  5. Role Definition–Assign roles that best fit each players within the system, work to keep them in those roles, and redefine roles as players change or the needs of the team change.
  6. Coaching Staff Development—Intentional professional development for the entire coaching staff.
  7. Service, Promotion, and Public Relations. Promoting the basketball program as a whole and the players individually.

#1: Philosophy and Leadership Define and Instill Your Program’s Ideals

My first priority is to make sure that I have (in writing) a clear direction and philosophy on which to build every aspect of our program around. You also need to update that document annually to make sure that it keeps up with your current thinking and beliefs about your job.  A huge part of your job as the coach is to develop it, present it, and embody it so that our assistant coaches, players, and managers not only “buy in,” but that they believe in it, support it, and feel that it is essential to our success.

Player development (Area #3 in my seven areas of focus) has the biggest impact on winning and losing.  Having your philosophy entrenched as #1 provides direction for your player development efforts within the scope of your overall system.

If a coach doesn’t have a clearly defined and written vision, it is impossible to achieve the consistency, unity, and intangibles a program needs to succeed from year to year as players and assistant coaches change.

#2 Organization and Management Maximizing the Resources at Your Disposal

For a business, this are would fall under “Operations.”  It is not the most enjoyable part of coaching, but it has to be handled well.

Even if your athletic administrator does the purchasing, facility maintenance, and scheduling for your program, you still need to stay on top of each of those areas and offer input.  Taking care of organizational items is not the most exciting part of coaching, however it is definitely important. It is a responsibility that is better handled proactively rather than re-actively.  Often the best way to deal with administrative items is to delegate them to a trusted staff member.

Have a long term plan for funding and purchasing big ticket items such as a shooting gun, or similar items.  Those projects require more planning and possibly even fundraising, so it is important to keep those items on your to do list and in front of the administration. The only way to do that is to give it some thought and review on a continual basis. Even smaller “extra” items such as practice gear, shooting shirts, shoes, travel bags, team meals may require fundraising, donations, or budgeting.

Keep a file of the officials who work your games both at home and on the road. That way you can make recommendations to your Athletic Administrator as far as who to hire at home. You will also be prepared when it comes time to turn in evaluations to your state association.

The more efficiently you can handle these types of items that need to be done, the less they become urgent “in your face” tasks when you are more focused on coaching basketball.

#3: Individual Participant Development of your players’ skills and attitudes within your system

In most games, the team with the best players usually wins. Granted, there is a certain amount of talent and attitude that is natural.  Our most important job in terms of winning games is to develop our players’ on-court abilities and skills so that we can put the team on the floor that has the best players.  In addition to developing basketball skills you can work to improve their athleticism, and to develop their mental toughness to handle the competition and pressures of a basketball season.   You must implement a year round program to develop your players’ skills place both during the season and out of your games season.

We have a plan to develop mental toughness in our players that includes defining what it is and what it is not, not allowing anyone in the program to use or accept excuses, not accepting moping, pouting,  or poor body language, and rehearsing in practice any and all pressure situations we might encounter in a game. That is not to say that we can simulate the pressure of a game in practice, but I feel that if we have rehearsed it in practice, it gives the player confidence that they have a plan of attack for the games.

#4 Develop, implement, and teach systems for team play that fit your players’ abilities and strengths.

Your system of play must take into account not only what each player does well, but also your depth, what it will take to win in your conference, against your schedule, and in season ending tournament play.
This is something that our staff works on throughout the year, but once we have selected the team, it is time to tweak and implement our system of play around the abilities of our players. It is an ongoing process throughout the regular season. We do not make wholesale adjustments, but will add in wrinkles, or subtract things that aren’t working as well as we thought they would when we included them as a part of our scheme.

This is a philosophical decision that you must make as a coach, but my philosophy is that we are going to utilize systems of play and structure our areas that we emphasize in practice, that give us the best chance to advance in our season-ending state tournament. As an example, if we know we’re going to have to beat a team that runs flex in our first round of the state tournament, then without telling our players what we were doing, we will practice defending the flex all season long. If our pack defense gives us the best chance of winning in the sectional, that is what we play during the season and work at daily. We do not play other styles of defense during the regular season even if they might be effective against one or two regular-season foes.

I refer to this role as team development because not only does it involve our offensive and defensive systems, but it includes team building and team chemistry as well. You’re not going to be able to reach your potential as a team unless there is a cohesion and camaraderie among the players. As coaches we can influence that togetherness of our team by the attitudes that we exhibit and instill in our players, the team building activities that we do, and the emphasis that we put on it.

#5: Assign roles that best fit each players within the system, work to keep them in those roles, and redefine roles as players change or the needs of the team change.

Deciding how each player, each assistant coach, and each manager is going to help the team and then working with that team member to coach them and make them better in that role is a crucial part of your job.  Providing those roles in writing in players and coaches notebooks is a very clear way of giving the direction they need to get started. But, just as important as having a plan to get started is your ability to have a plan to evaluate how each person is performing his or her role, how to keep them within their role and what to do if they grow out of that role.

#6: Intentional professional development for the entire coaching staff.

With all of the daily responsibilities that a coaching staff has during the regular season, it is very tough to spend any time on staff development.  Just like you ask your players to work on their game during the improvement season, the coaching staff also needs to sharpen their skills. There are five areas for each coach to work on and that coaches should have an individual development plan, just like players have an individual workout plan. The five areas to develop are:

  1. Technical Knowledge of the game of Basketball.
  2. Ability to teach the game of Basketball.
  3. Ability to bond a team.
  4. Ability to develop players’ individual skills.
  5. Leadership Skills

Create a coordinated development plan as a staff, so that you have different coaches working in different areas and can share their information so that everyone benefits from each other’s work.

Area of Focus #7: Promoting the basketball program as a whole and the players individually.

We don’t do complicated things, but strive to build relationships between our players and our community. The main thing is that you are working to create interest in and present your program in the best possible light.

We have a simple web site promoting our program that we email a link to for potential college recruiters as well as media members.  We write a basic pre-season media guide to hand out at games.  We run a summer youth camp and involve our players as instructors.  Each summer we hold a one day father/son one day clinic on the Saturday before Father’s Day.  We have an autograph night during the season where our players stay in the gym to sign autographs for anyone who is interested. We schedule all of these a year in advance so that we have the facilities and administrative blessings that we need.

We keep a resume for each player of his best games and honors such as player of the game, etc… to use to nominate them for post season honors and scholarships as well as to provide to potential college recruiters.

The key to the success in these seven areas, and ultimately your basketball team and program is your ability to visualize what you want in each of the seven key result areas, write long range, yearly, monthly, and daily goals and tasks, and then implement them through the work of everyone in your program.

The post The Seven Essential Roles of a Basketball Coach appeared first on .

6 Ways to Be Coachable

Post First Published On

This article was written by Mason Waters and posted on The Coaching Toolbox with his permission

It first appeared on

Players, coaches want you to be successful.

As a coach, I know I can say that honestly. I want my players to be successful. I really do. And I could care less about the ‘glory’ of it, if anyone knows I helped along the way. The game’s about the players, not me. There’s ten thousand coaches around the globe who share that same heartbeat of coaching. At the end of the day, a player’s success is a two way street. So, great players have to have the humility and the hunger to receive coaching.

Players, your job is to make your job, and your coaches job easier by being coachable. Here’s a few ways to make your coaches job easier, more enjoyable, more rewarding, and more successful. If you can make these points habit, you’ll also improve quicker and more efficiently. And your relationship with your coach will be amazing, which is a magnificent thing!

6 Amazing Ways You Can Contribute to Your Team

1. Just say “Yes Coach” – One of the most frustrating things as a coach is correcting a player or teaching them a point and them say “Well coach, John was in my way…” or a very rapid “I know” before I can even finish my sentence that I intend to help the player. Along similar lines, Players, just say yes sir or yes ma’am when a coach corrects you, thank them, and implement what they’re saying.

Be confident, not insecure when a coach (or team leader) corrects you. Confident players receive correction and think, “My teammate or coach is revealing a weakness in my game that needs to improve. I’m thankful they want to see me improve.” Confident players want as many good basketball eyes on their game so they can have a better understanding of what they need to work on.

Insecure players reject the truth that their game has deficiencies and thinks, “I don’t have that weakness in my game.” “I don’t need a coach.” Insecure players receive correction as an insult, and think they can be great alone.

2. Make and Keep eye contact  –  Eye contact is respectful. It shows you care. You’ll listen better and learn more. Your play will improve. Coaches and players need to consistently work on this and remember, how does it feel to talk to someone who’s eyes are on the clouds passing overhead?

3. Ask “What’s Next?”  – Either to yourself or your coach, be asking this question. In practice, prepare yourself for the next drill or station, and be ready to direct your teammates to transition into the next drill fast. Successful practices really only need one player to be vocal and fully aware of what’s going on.

4. Invite coaching  – Here’s the attitude to have and phenomenal things to say to your coach:

“Coach, I don’t want to be mediocre. I want to achieve my best. If I’m ever out of line of that, please correct me.” Or, “Coach, I want to be the most coachable guy on the team. If I’m ever not being coachable, please correct me and I’ll adjust.” What kind of athlete do you want to be? Better yet, what kind of person do you want to be? Let your coaches and teammates you trust know and invite them into your development because to be our best, we’d be wise to let those around us know the type of person we want to become.

5. Stay out of trouble  –  I could list a thousand reasons why, but I’m sure you already know 999 of them.

6. Eliminate ABC  –  Arguing. Blaming. Complaining. Honestly, I love it when people embody these three words with their actions. Everything is better. When someone argues, blames, or complains, I become full of inspiration and motivation to fulfill my dreams. Please tell me you hear the sarcasm in that.

For a second here, forget others and consider just how this ABC impacts you! It takes your focus off your mission. Those who argue, blame, and complain focus on all that’s wrong and all the reasons something can’t get done as opposed to finding and creating reasons for things to get done, like winning a game.

Replace this ABC with LOP (Listening, Own it, and Positivity)

  • When you want to argue, take a step back and listen. Arguing is a waste. You and your team will benefit from that.
  • When you make a mistake, own it. Say “That was my fault. I’m gonna win the next play though.”
  • When you or a teammate complain, do something positive. Give a high five, dance, clap, or tell a teammate, “Dang, that was an awesome play!”

It flows over …

The beauty of sports is that the lessons learned in the locker room or at practice are typically lessons that last a lifetime and flows over into every aspect of life. If WE ALL (coaches and players) make these points habits, we’ll surely benefit on the court, and even more importantly in our relationships with everyone else.

I’m cheering for you,

Mason Waters

About the Author of this Article

Mason Waters is in his fourth season with Collegiate Prep Basketball Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.

The post 6 Ways to Be Coachable appeared first on .