I have just completed the book “The Best-Laid Plans of a High School Basketball CEO”- A Coach’s Guide to Seeking & Securing, Building & Maintaining a Successful Program by Matt Kramer & Randy Montgomery. Both Matt and Randy are successful high school coaches in Ohio. Randy also has experience as a college assistant on Bob Huggins’ Staff.
In this post, I am listing some of my takeaways from the first half of the book and will follow up next week with part 2 of this post. If you are interested in more information about the book, you can find it at the link below. The site also has a blog with several interesting coaching articles:
Matt believes that “winning is If one of the biggest liars in sports. He had several 15 plus wins seasons as a JV coach. He learned that when a young coach wins games, that coach often begins to believe everything he or she is doing is on point. Nothing could be further from the truth. His worst seasons, in terms of wins, were the seasons in which he came the closest to reaching his potential.
Matt encourages every coach to start or update your coaching portfolio now even if you are not looking for a new job at this time. It is a lot of work but if you write a little bit of the time it helps with your gross process as a coach. It is a great tool to market yourself in an interview but it also helps you self-evaluate and reflect on your evolving philosophy.
Taking a job where there is tradition, but no players, gets a coach fired.
Randy has a big game board in the locker room. It lists all of the big wins that the programs has had over the years. The players take pride in adding to it. They also have a framed color action picture of every senior that is played for him at Hoover.
Matt creates scouting guides to help his assistants scout. It is a report he gives them each time they have a scouting assignment. It is a preview of what they are likely to see. The scout then checks off the things on the report that he sees and to add anything else that needs to be included in the report.
Randy’s top traits he looks for in assistants are loyalty and a willingness to work hard and learn. An assistant needs to be totally on board and if he isn’t, he senses it and replaces them immediately.
Randy feels that former players make the best assistants because they believe in his system and their loyalty runs very deep.
Many coaches do not understand the amount of hard work and time that is required to be a good assistant. So, work ethic is a close second in qualities that an assistant coach needs.
Randy will not hire an assistant coach who is not willing to scout. He feels that having middle school coaches scout not only helps in preparation for upcoming opponents, but also helps them learn the game.
Make sure you like the person before you hire them. Loyalty isn’t going to develop unless there is at least a professional friendship.
Public high school programs do not recruit from around the country, but do need to recruit schools from within their high schools. Promoting and having a first class program make being on the team more important to kids in the school.
Work at connecting all levels of the program (elementary, middle school high school) to keep interest high. Have a game where you introduce younger players at halftime. In addition to the recognition, families can see what it is like in your gym on game night.
Matt on rebuilding a program–Losing games is not a bad thing–as long as it serves as a means towards a successful future.
Coaching is a people business.
Randy’s objective for every practice is to develop players who are physically and mentally prepared for every situation.
Like all fundamentals, becoming a good passing team does not happen by accident and must be constantly mastered.
One of the most important jobs of a coach is to carefully plan each practice to help the team to achieve the most success possible.
Matt believes in reducing the amount of practice time as the season goes on to keep players energized on game nights.
Key question to ask when planning practice: “What do I want us to be good at doing?”
Deal with discipline issues in a way that is both fair to the team and to teaches the individual the lesson that they need to learn.
Randy–“Discipline is about love and love isn’t about always saying yes.”
Matt–“Never allow helping a player to turn into enabling that player.”
Coaching is leading. Leaders sell people on their vision, build relationships and get people to follow their best-laid plans, to work hard, and to stay true to the task. No matter how long you have been in your position, you must pursue that process anew each new season.
As a coach, focusing on the important aspects of leadership, improvement, and teaching the game can be overshadowed at times by urgent matters such as getting time-sensitive information out to your team. There are team management apps that allow you to have immediate access to player and parent contact information on your desktop workstation, tablet, or phone. However, there are other ways to make the job of managing the team easier as well. Team management tools, like TeamSnap, automate a lot of these processes for you. In addition to letting you create, update and store a team roster, tools like TeamSnap let you see players’ availability for games and practices, assign responsibilities such as post game food or snacks, and keep track of who has paid their equipment fees, and completed their paperwork.