The following was written by Swen Nater, former NBA player and Coach John Wooden disciple and Dr. Wade Gilbert, coaching effectiveness specialist and researcher. They, along with myself and several others are part of a movement in coach and parent education inspired by legendary UCLA basketball Coach John Wooden called Be Like Coach
- I wonder what would happen if the coach of the best team in a youth basketball league helped a player, on the second-best team, become better. I wonder what would happen if, at half time, he gave that player a tip that could surely come back to bite him in the second half.
- I wonder what would happen if the coach with the most knowledge eagerly offered his secrets to the coach with the least experience. I wonder what would happen if he told that coach exactly how to score against his defense.
- I wonder what would happen if the league reduced the number of games each team played by one, creating a “Bye” week, and during that week, all the teams gathered, in one gym, and each coach showed the other coaches what his typical practice session looked like. I wonder what would happen if each coach showed the other coaches his favorite drill.
- I wonder what would happen if, after a game, the losing coach felt the freedom to ask the winning coach how they beat his team, and the winning coach explained exactly how they did.
- I wonder what would happen if one coach took the time to observe the practice session of another coach. I wonder what would happen if, after the practice, he candidly told the other coach what was good and bad about the practice.
- I wonder what would happen if all the coaches created a “Behavior Creed” that all were accountable to. I wonder what would happen if any coach was free to tell another coach if he broke an element of that creed.
- I wonder what would happen if, on a Saturday before the start of league, the coaches conducted a skills camp for all the league’s players and no coach was allowed to teach his own players.
- I wonder what would happen if, during games, each coach wrote down notes on the other team and shared those notes with the other coach after the game.
In other words, I wonder what would happen if, in just one youth basketball league, the coaches became a community of learners and sharers, because they believed the improvement of every player is more important than winning.
What would happen? I think I know the answer. Every coach would improve significantly, in subject and teaching knowledge. And, therefore, all the players would improve much more quickly and substaintially than otherwise.
But some say, “pulling this off” is nearly impossible because few coaches would agree to do it. Winning is too important. But still, I wonder. Do you?