Isn’t it funny how quickly a week passes by when you are on holiday? I wasn’t actually abroad or even relaxing in some of the beautiful countryside the UK has to offer, it was merely half-term and a week away from the court. I still had to attend to my nine-to-five job and basketball was still very much a part of my thinking on most day’s! This being said, I had missed the weekly engagement with the players, negotiating our way through strategies, physical conditioning and the allocation of time. As a much younger man I had aspirations of becoming a professional coach and in some form or another I still held on to this aspiration, perhaps when I retire from teaching?
Bang on 7.30pm I blew my whistle, I was ready! I wanted to get them going, for them to match my enthusiasm for our return to the court. I moved through the next forty minutes like a gazelle, fuelled and ready for anything and everything, with all of the coaching knowledge I had. I probed and prompted, challenged and tasked players with constructing meaning, sharing understanding and allowing everybody in view to add their own personalised perception of what it was we were doing. It felt good to be back on court. The question was whether or not I was coaching for me or for the players? I had taken over the coaching space and although I asked questions of the players, paused to allow them time to solve the problem they had been presented with, I wasn’t sure, on reflection, just how much of the session was about them and how much was about me.
The drive home was filled with a sense of achievement, I think, had it been a good session? Did we achieve anything? I do often wonder what a good session is? In fact, during a review of planning, I had explained to my students that a ‘good’ session demonstrated how the learning objectives had been met, what the distance travelled was and how the sharing of ideas had evolved into learning. Had I accomplished that tonight? Did we learn something new? I wasn’t sure, perhaps so, I thought so to some extent, although not as much as what I would have liked. We certainly explored the concept of ball circulation, of passing and moving into and out of space and moving the ball in a bid to locate a ‘good’ shot. I did however wonder if the players saw it that way? Did they understand what it was we had just done in ninety minutes of practice? It almost feels as though the practice looked good, felt good, but in actual fact I was unsure whether or not it was good. But then the use of the word good did not help, effective is a far better metric, unfortunately, it may just spotlight the fact that perhaps the session was not as effective as it felt!!