Tuesday, May 22, 2007

10-Part Summer Checklist for the Motivated Coach

Summer is a time of the year when vacations, camps, family time, and hobbies may take center stage. It is also a great time for basketball coaches to bolster their own abilities and venture into new areas of coaching. Here is a look at some possibilities the motivated coach should consider.

The Motivated Coaches Summer 10-Part Checklist:

1. Prepare to spend time away from home with your family or loved ones. We can spend many hours, days, and weeks toiling away at our coaching, and it can be easy to overlook those closest to us.

2. Self-care---Take an honest look at your personal life and use the summer to address those issues that need improvement. Consider your thought life, health and exercise, eating habits, use of alcohol or tobacco, self improvement by reading, spirituality, or hobbies. Reflect on your purpose in life and why God put you on this earth. A great read is Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life.

3. Eat dinner with you family every night. In the summer this is a great goal, but we often find excuses to skip dinner. Why? Because we have developed the habit of missing this quality time with our family and it becomes acceptable. Is it really acceptable?

4. Pick out a basketball topic to study all summer. This is a great use of time and allows you to be open to a different way of teaching a part of the game you want to learn more about. An example would be to research a new zone defense, individual post work, or player communication. I have done this and it really opens your eyes to what is out there as we tend to get caught up in our own philosophy and become inflexible.

5. Take your team on a day trip to experience something different. Work in a soup kitchen or clean up garbage in a city park. These event can really help bring players and coaches together. Community service can really help people appreciate you more within your own town.

6. Call an older coach you know and bounce some questions off of him. Veteran coaches are a tremendous source of information and provide great insight because of their well-earned experiences in coaching. This is an area that is basically untapped. Some states have "Mentoring" programs but they are few and far between. In almost every line of business today, successful people have their own personal coaches. Do you have a mentor? Do you afford not to have a mentor?

7. Do a drill and practice inventory. Do you feel like you have way too many drills for the time you have? At times an abundance of information and drills seems comforting, but actually can be a hindrance. By cleaning up this area you will feel more organized and focused on your coaching for the upcoming year.

8. Tape and study NBA play-off games. So many things can be learned by watching the greatest players on earth. Steve Nash is a guard highlight tape every night out. Look into how NBA players get open, get rebounds, and relieve pressure. There are multiple late game plays and situations in every NBA game, especially the play-offs, so take advantage of it.

9. Attend games of other sports within your high school or college. Sometimes we feel that our sport is the only one out there, but we miss the boat here. Attend other games and show your appreciation to others for their attendance at your games during the winter.

10. Read a novel. I know what you are saying, "I haven't read a novel since I was in high school." See what I mean, it's time. Grab one of the hundreds of action-packed novels on the market. Go to your local book store and spend an hour just looking at available novels. My personal favorite is John Grisham. I too had not read a novel in years until I read one of his books. It was so good I read all 18 of them!

Life is so much bigger than the sport we coach. Use the summer to expand your horizons and open yourself up to the big, wide world out there. You'll be surprised how much you've been missing.

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