According to longtime NBA coach Del Harris, there are 5 levels of communication that coaches use with their players. As coaches go down the list they should use each level less than the one before it.
- Conversational: You have the give and take whereby you get to know the player and he/she learns you as well. You demonstrate you care. Use this the most.
- Encouragement: Voice is animated and enthusiastic. Use it as much as you can, but it has to be a result of real achievement, not just blowing smoke. But the worst person to be with is the one you simply cannot please. Be real.
- Instructional: Voice is slightly animated as you attempt to pass on teaching points that may help your player get better, or that may help him understand the team concept. Use often, but mostly in practice or in certain one on one situations.
- Correctional: Voice increases somewhat in urgency, but this is not to be confused with screaming. Naturally, this is used on important issues in practices and games to help eliminate errors. Use it as needed, but if it overwhelms the encouragement level, the team will tune you out sooner than later.
- Go Nuts: Yes, there is a place for letting them know that they have crossed the line in terms of lack of effort or execution or attitude, etc. They must know you really care about certain issues. But, of course you must maintain control here, as it should be a purposeful act. Overdo this level and you will lose your team by Christmas unless you are winning every game.