Some thoughts I hope you find useful from my notes on Coach John Wooden on various topics.
- Have confidence in what you do, or don’t do it.
- I believe in working with your team and not worrying as much about what the opponent does.
- Basketball is a game of balance–emotional, mental, physical, rebound, team offensive, and defensive.
- Body balance is controlled by the head–how well you keep your emotions under control.
- Physical balance is controlled by the extremities. The feet are the first to be considered. I want the feet just wider than the shoulders; when shooting, when rebounding, when on defense.
- You play basketball on the soles of your feet and not up on your toes. If the feet are too wide, you lose maneuverability, and if too close, you lose balance.
- The hands should always be close to the body and in alignment with the body. The player has better control with the hands in close to the body.
- The head is always directly above the mid-point between the two feet, offense or defense, with the ball or without the ball. Drills to accomplish this: defensive sliding, quick stops, and starts, jump stops, dribble stops, one on one, imaginary jump shooting, and imaginary rebounding. Keep the joints flexible and relaxed.
- Emotional balance–you must keep your emotions under control. Self control is important not only for players, but coaches as well. I don’t believe that you can be an example or model for your players. If you tell those players who lose their tempers that they will be outplayed, you can’t act like a raving maniac yourself. It is just as well to say that a coach who loses his temper will be outcoached.
- Over-coaching can be more harmful than under-coaching. If you over-coach you do too much and don’t do too many things well. Teach well what you do and don’t tie your players down too much and take away their initiative.
Essentials for the coach
- You must be industrious. There is no substitute for work.
- You must be enthusiastic.
- You must have empathy, buy you have to be objective. You must do what is best for the team.
- You must have patience.
- You must have self control. You cannot reason otherwise.
- You must prepare. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
- You must have discipline. Discipline is not to antagonize, but to improve, help and correct–not to punish. You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.
- Be attentive to detail. It’s the little things that make the big things happen.
- Impartiality. This means you can’t treat all the players alike because treating all the players alike is a sure way to show partiality. Players don’t earn all the same treatment nor deserve the same treatment. You have to be the judge. You won’t always be right, and if you find out you are wrong, then change.
- Give your players and optimistic picture–not an idealistic picture. Idealism is unrealistic. I like realistic idealism.
- You have to be a teacher of the game. Nowhere are the laws of learning quite as directly followed as teaching the fundamentals of a sport.
- Be firm–but not bull-headed.
- Practice planning–how you plan and organize your practice is extremely important to the results you are going to get. I believe in stressing offense and defense on alternate days, but you have to have some of each every day. I believe you should follow difficult drills with easier ones. New material should be given early in the practice period, before the players become physically and mentally tired. Close each practice on a happy note.
- Rebounding–the most important aspect of rebounding is assuming the shot will be missed.
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