Both practice sessions this week were coached under a cloud of frustration, a feeling that nothing was getting done. As an educator, I talk a great deal about the ‘messy business of learning’, that it doesn’t always look and feel like you had planned. This being said, I had spent much of our practice time this week managing behaviour, challenging poor practice (non basketball) and generally drifting away from where I would ordinarily situate my practice. I wasn’t sure whether or not it was my perception or their behaviour but it didn’t look right, it wasn’t what I had expected with just ten days of the season left. Was it that I wasn’t being patient, we had been there before! Or perhaps, they were tired and I wasn’t giving them enough credit for their efforts, their hard work and where it was that basketball sat in the larger scheme of their young lives.
I believe that I have repeatedly referred to my need for intensity, to see players working hard. The difficulty I have with this concept is that how do we measure individual effort? We have employed an effort rating, based on a question and self evaluation process, however, what are we really expecting the players to say? No coach, I am not working hard at all? It is a difficult scenario, one that relies on previous agreements, values and beliefs. This being said, I still struggled with the how, how do I get them to work at a high work rate, to challenge them to extend beyond their reach without resorting to shouting?
I ended the week unhappy with my practice, with their effort and where we were at a unit. Staring into my notes I began to mine my reflections, searching for a golden nugget i think! I knew I had to be patient, if anything, my education tells me that coaching is context specific, athlete or ‘needs’ centred (thank you Ian), and as such, I should look to the players for direction. I planned our game, player rotations, expectations, keys to the game and prompts for our various game strategies and called it a day.