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5 Important Questions All Coaches Should Ask Themselves

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I work with a lot of coaches who ask me the same question: What should I do with my team? I look at them kind of funny because people all have their own beliefs and philosophies about everything.

When it comes to basketball even people who watch the game but have never played have their own set of beliefs on how the game should be played. Listen to any sports radio show and you'll hear opinions from hundreds of people on how a guy should coach. 

To be fair, I usually ask a couple questions to help them get their answer but I want them to come up with their ideas for themselves. I call these my 5 keys or questions to develop a coaching philosophy. 

1. What do you expect from your players? This is the single most important question in my opinion. Coaches will spit out their philosophy basically on this one question. Here's the typical answer "I expect them to play hard and to hustle." Isn't that a great first part to a strategy? I'd say so. Another example would be, "I expect them to play unselfishly and take good shots". 

2. What do you expect from your players on defense? I always start with defense because defense wins games and championships. I get answers all across the board but you'll notice that I don't ask what type of defense they want to run, I only ask what they expect. What they expect will set the tone for what type of defense they want to run.

I'll get answers like "I expect them to rebound. I expect them to hustle. I expect them to stop their man from scoring." If a coach says "I don't know" then I usually try to get him out of the position because he isn't ready to be a coach. If a coach doesn't know what he expects then it can't be demanded of the players and nobody will progress. 

3. What do you expect from your kids on offense? This is the same as defense. This one I usually get some creative answers. "I expect my kids to attack the rim or hit the open shot. I expect my kids to set good screens and score a lot of points. I expect them to fast break." Coaches have a better idea about offense than defense and that is normal. Coaches need to know what to expect before they can establish what they want to run because it sets up their philosophy. 

4. How are you going to motivate your players? This to me is a key question because I have such strong feelings about it. Coaches have to understand the keys to talk to and motivate players. The key to every great coach is communication. Coaches that can openly lay out what they are trying to accomplish and why are better off than the coaches who want players to play 'just because'. When motivating kids it is crucial to let them know what the expectations are and how they can meet those expectations.

When they fall short they want and need to know why and then how they can improve. Coaches need to have a philosophy here and I will help them with this answer if they struggle. Most actually understand some great ways but don't have the backbone to talk to a kid to get him to improve. If a coach is worried about hurting a player's feelings then he is in the wrong business. Players can be corrected and talked to with respect and admiration with the central goal of improving the player and the team. 

5. What do you want to get out of this? Coaches go into coaching for a reason. I want to know what they have to offer but more importantly I want them to openly verbalize what they feel they have to offer.

What makes them better than some other dad or mom who lives down the street? Coaches need to know what they are trying to do because it is never about the glory for themselves and I want them to always remember that. The best coaches know it is about the players and helping them achieve and improve and be part of something special. 

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