Coaches provide their players with multiple opportunities throughout the off-season to help them improve as basketball players. Coaches need to do the same to improve at their craft. We owe it to our players and our program to continue to learn and grow as coaches. Here are 14 ideas that might help you continue to grow as a coach. Nothing real groundbreaking here, but hopefully something will ignite a spark or thought that will help.
1. Attend coaching clinics.Some valuable information can be learned. Clinics are also great for networking and sharing ideas with other coaches attending the clinic.
2. Get together with coaches in your area to have roundtable discussions. Share thoughts and ideas. I have taken part and even organized roundtables and found them extremely valuable.
3. Contact college coaches and set up a time to visit with them. Most are willing to do so when their time allows. I would encourage you to have specific topics or questions ready for the college coaches ahead of time.
4. Work basketball camps. Not only is this a chance to work with players other than your own you will get a chance to observe other coaches work.
5. Coach a travel or club team. Working with kids outside your program can be refreshing. Or coach a youth team in your own program.
6. Watch game film of your last season. Focus in on what hurt your team in your losses, and what helped during your victories. Make note of these and figure out what needs to be a focus for your team as you continue throughout the off-season and prepare for next season.
7. Watch games. Attend AAU or summer league games and write down your observations. What did you like? What did you dislike? What could you use with your own team or program?
8. Watch games on TV or online. You can catch some FIBA games online during the summer. I like to DVR college games throughout the winter and then watch them over the summer with more of a coach's eye. Have your notepad ready when you watch them and take notes.
9. Read as much as you can that can help you as a coach. As you read each book, take notes on them. Coaching books have so much information in them that some things can get lost in your memory. Writing down, or highlighting, tidbits you find important will be helpful in your recalling of this information.
10. Use the internet. There are many great websites and blogs on the internet that focus on coaching basketball, the game of basketball, and coaching.
11. Learn something new about offense, defense, and philosophy. Put a list together of what it is you'd like to learn more about, then find the information needed to learn. Take action.
12. Organize your own files. If you're like me, you have a ton of files stored away in a file cabinet, on a shelf, or the computer. Take time re-organize them all so that you can be more efficient when looking for this information in the future. You might even find something you forgot you had and decide it is something you can apply to your team this upcoming season.
13. Breakdown the toughest teams in your conference, section, or in the state. What makes them so good? What do you have to do to beat them? Start formulating a plan now. Don't wait until you only get two days to prepare for them during the actual season.
14. Relax. Take some time for yourself. Connect with family and friends that you don't get to see as much during your season. Coaches run 100 mph during the season, so don't forget to take a little time for yourself when you have the opportunity to do so.