This article was originally posted by Don Kelbick on Breakthrough Basketball. As basketball season wraps up and the offseason begins, it is important to start preparing early for next season. This article lists 15 surefire coaching tips to make next season more successful than ever.
15 Coaching Tips
The season is winding down. Routines change, friendships have grown, priorities change. As a coach, what should you do now? When practice time comes and there is no practice, what do you do? When there are no games to prepare for, what do you do with your time?
Coaching is an all encompassing job. It takes time, devotion, and is very crisis oriented. To do it well, you have to plan your year, just as you have to plan your practices. Those outside the profession don’t understand it. Don’t try to explain it to them or expect them to understand. Coaches are a special breed.
Here are a just a few thoughts as to how to recover and prepare for the next season.
1 – 2 weeks post season
- Relax – After every season, there are decisions to be made. Whether they are career, personnel, or personal, immediately after the season is not the time to do it. Take some time for yourself, catch up with family and friends and try to settle back to a traditional lifestyle. Let your mind and body rest.
- Organize – collect all of your practice plans, put all your game films in order, and collate your statistics.
- Make the most of extraordinary clarity that you have after the season — If you’re like most coaches, you’ll have some amazing clarity a few days or weeks after the season is over. It’s very important to document what you’ve learned while it’s still fresh in your mind. You’ll find that this tip alone can have an enormous impact on your team’s improvements next year. You never think it will happen, but it’s amazing how much you forget during the off season. And you’ll be just as amazed how much documenting these thoughts will help you. Document what you’ve learned. Document what you should do different next year. Get those thoughts and ideas down so you can reference them next year.
- Be sure your players have their priorities straight. Players often let their schoolwork slip after the season. Be sure they are caught up and on time with their classes.
3 – 4 weeks post season
- Begin your evaluation process. Interpret your stats and decide what you feel is important and what you can affect by coaching. Start watching your game films and evaluate what you did well and what you did poorly. Evaluate your practice plans and determine what type of practice flow was most effective. Be sure to include your assistants in this process. Different points of view can be very helpful.
- Meet with your players. Discuss their thoughts of the season. What do they feel the team did well, what was done poorly? What do they feel they did well personally and what they need to work on? Discuss your feelings in regard to their performance. Talk about expectations for the next season.
- Develop an off-season development program. Rules differ from state to state in regard to what coaches can do in the off season. Many coaches also have other responsibilities (teaching, other sports, etc.) so the program should be simple and self moderating, the players should be able to get through it themselves. At least the first half of the off season should be spent on development as opposed to playing. In addition, if you wish to have your team strength train, maximum gains should be achieved during the first 75% of the off season.
A month after the season you are essentially in the off season. Use this period to recharge.
- If you can work with your players on skills, do so.
- Start to improve your team’s shooting percentage. In order for you to have a great team of shooters, you must get started right about now. The off season is the time to fix mechanics, start implementing player development programs, and give your players instructions on how to develop their shot. Great shooters become great in the off season.
- Sharpen the stone. In other words, continue to develop your knowledge and personal development. Never stop learning. Read books, attend clinics, talk to other coaches, and gather ideas for the next season.
- Shore up your coaching weaknesses by exploring other philosophies and teaching techniques. Expand your strengths by exploring additional areas that you can apply what you do well.
The summer months are a great time of the year for coaches. This is the time you begin thinking about next season.
- Experiment in summer league with new ideas. Decide what you can live with and what you can’t. Try new offenses and defenses.
- Evaluate how your team has improved and how the players have worked on their game. Let them play different positions, allow them to experiment and expand their game.
- The summer workout program should be about 50% skills – 50% play. Don’t overload your team with summer league games. Don’t worry, they will get enough play. On the whole, players don’t do enough skill work.
Once school starts again, you have entered the pre-season.
- Put together your playbook. Decide what offenses and defense you think you can succeed with.
- Build a master practice schedule when are you going to install each aspect of your program. Establish your teaching progressions.
- Start your preseason program. Work should be about 25% skills, 75% play. Change your strength training program to one of endurance and maintenance.
- Be sure that your players are doing their best in school. They should use this period to try to get ahead.
2 weeks before the season — Start to taper off of your workouts.
1 week before the season — Everybody takes off. Do some things with your family and friends. It might be months before you get to do it again.
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