Brendan Suhr Coaching Notes

These notes are from Brendan Suhr, veteran NBA and Division ! Assistant Coach.

His presentation was at the 2013 “A Step Up” Assistant Coach Symposium

I am really big on purpose and what you’re trying to do.
My purpose is to teach, share, help you grow, and help you become a continuous learner. I want to make an impact and an influence on as people as I can.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION- What got you here Won’t get you there- Marshall Goldsmith
BOOK RECOMMENDATION- Outliers- Malcolm Gladwell
BOOK LIST- (reading section) — one book a week — Jon Gordon, Energy Bus, Training Camp, Positive Dog, The Seed, One Word (after reading this book we had our team each choose a word individually and write it on a basketball. Then choose one TEAM WORD that was big on the basketball- that ball came with us everywhere we went all year) – (examples of words chosen: finish, U-turn, family).

Now you have to get better. You have to keep looking to grow.

I coach people, not basketball. It’s about engaging with your players, your people. It’s about taking players where they can’t take themselves.

You need someone that’s a truth-teller so they can get better.

“The WHY”- Jon Gordon
Why do you Coach? You have to answer that. Why do I coach the way I coach? [Your style, your behavior] How does it feel to be coached by me? Would I want to play for myself? If you’re an Assistant, would you want to play for the Coach you are working for?
Remember, “There is a Mike Rice in every single one of you”.
He’s not the only one out there, there’s a positive dog and a negative dog– whichever one you feed the most will come out. You have to decide who you want to be as a coach.

What the Best Coaches Have
1. Energy, High level of enthusiasm, Great passion.
2. Incredibly determined and mentally tough (be able to handle adversity) You got to go after it, you can’t get discouraged (Charlie- Brendan Suhr’s dog, always goes full speed to the door when the door-bell rings- never can stop, always runs into the door- never gets discouraged) You want more shots (Vinny Johnson in NBA playoffs was 1-9, says he is just getting hot)
3. You have to be an optimist every single day.
4. You must develop your skills in what you do (Mastery). Must be an expert in some field of the game (Establish something) – (10,000 hours to develop mastery) (Must be able to say “I can recruit and my style of play wins” or something that you can do)
5. You have to love ALL of your players (Love tough- they have to know you love them first)
Coaching, leadership, parenting– same skill set
Coaching is about helping people when their down.

Assistant Coaches
-Stay in the present (Best job you have is the one you got)
– Become an expert at something (press, BLOB, etc.)
– Be a great recruiter
– On the bench, 2 things you can do (emotion, evaluation) 10%should be emotion, 90% evaluation (find something that can help your HC), you can’t have personal agendas- you work for the HC and the school. You work and serve the players, they don’t serve you.
– Have to have one united voice (nothing negative can come out of your mouth as an entire staff)
– You can never have a bad day, bad practice, bad game. You always have to be UP
– Don’t complain. “Complaining is kind of like vomiting, after you do it you feel better, other people can’t stand it.” Lou Holtz. Don’t bring problems, instead come with solutions.
– Head coaches make decisions, Assistants make suggestions.

You need to have your OWN philosophy.
– How will you defend pick and roll? How will you fast break? How will you play Post Defense? Will your team press? Will your team play zone?
– You need to have at least 4 plays for your best player to get a shot
– What will your crunch time offense be? What will it be the last 4 minutes of the game? (We have things we don’t run until we are pressured and last 4 mins. of game) Comes down to execution. (Culture of execution- 7 plays, check out CoachingULIVE podcast)
– Know what you will do in situations.
– What do you do post game? (You don’t leave scars on your players, better not to say much of anything until after you watch the game film. Remember- they make mistakes as players and you make mistake as a Coach)

There’s no limit, no testing in basketball, you can learn as much as you want to. I truly feel that I have never had to work a day in my life, coaching isn’t working.

Best defense in Pick and Roll D in my opinion—On the side (make the action go down hard hedge or ice- I wouldn’t let them come off picks) Screens in the Middle (Switch)

To keep players motivated- Do what you do best, love what you do, and treat it as the only thing you do.

About your attitude- remember you are a servant leader. This is very humbling because all you’re focused on is others. Engage your players by saying “All I want is what’s good for you- you will get a degree and leave as an adult. Playing time is up to you as a player.”

Become a continuous learner. Open your mind up to learning from other people.

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