Editor's note: While the following article, written by Tonya at Breakthrough Basketball, is written with the sport of basketball in mind, all of the steps can be adapted for developing your coaching strategy for any sport.
Having a sound set of values not only keeps you focused and helps you to emphasize the right skills and techniques throughout the season, but it also gives your players, parents and colleagues a sense of what kind of program you intend to run, and who you are as a coach and mentor. Because, let’s face it, as a coach you have the unique opportunity to make a huge impact on the lives of your players. And that’s nothing to take lightly.
So here’s a quick look at how you can develop your own winning basketball coaching philosophy and start your season off right.
Step 1: Decide on your personal coaching goals. What is it that you hope to achieve as a coach? Are you in it to make a difference in the players’ lives? To satisfy a personal desire to win? Take the time to really think about why you’re doing this and what you want to get out of it. It’ll be quite helpful on those drives home after suffering a tough loss.
Step 2: Determine what life lessons you want your players to learn throughout the season. We’ve all had a coach or mentor that taught us something about the human experience that we can still apply in our lives today. What lesson will you pass on to your players? The importance of teamwork? That honesty is always the best policy? Decide now and make an effort to “impart your wisdom” in various ways throughout the season.
Step 3: Decide what you want your players to gain from their basketball experience. In addition to the life lessons that they will learn, what else will your players take away from their time on your team? Will they forge new friendships with people that they otherwise wouldn’t interact with? Improve their level of play? What will the overall experience be for your players?
Step 4: Define the meaning of success for your team. What does success mean to your team? Is it winning a certain number of games? Is it making it to a certain level of tournament play? Or are you more concerned about working effectively as a team? Create a set of attainable goals for your team and strive to achieve them.
Step 5: Determine what skills your team needs to learn or improve upon in order to achieve that success. Once you have defined “success” for your team, decide how you’re going to get there by evaluating your players and determining what skills they will need to work on. If your team’s idea of success is to keep your opponents from scoring above a specific amount of points each game, then you will most likely focus the players’ efforts on basketball defense strategies and proper basketball rebounding techniques. Be sure that for every goal that you’ve set, there is a distinct and reasonable means of attaining it.
Once you develop your coaching philosophy, write it down for your own reference; and more importantly, make it clear to players and parents alike from Day 1. By establishing and effectively communicating your principles, you’re laying the groundwork for a dynamic winning strategy that’s second to none.