Over the years, you will likely have a number of basketball coaches, some good, some bad. One thing that remains constant, however, is that your coaches will be some of the most influential people on your basketball career.
Whether or not you see eye to eye with a coach, there are a number of actions you can take to ensure you get the most out of the relationship and maximise your chances of success.
Being clear on your goals and your expectations is crucial for an optimal relationship with your coach. Letting the coach know what you’re hoping to accomplish and what you believe your strengths and weaknesses is crucial to help avoid conflict. It will also open the lines of communication with your coach, so he or she can easily portray what their expectations of you are, and what their ultimate goal for the team, and for you as an individual, is.
2. Always show respect
Perhaps the most important part of good communication with your coach is respect. In the majority of cases, your coach isn’t trying to make you go through hell or punish you. They have a master plan and want to get the best out of you and the best out of the team. Sometimes, the team goals will mean your individual goals will be put off to the side, but this shouldn’t give you fuel to be rude or disrespectful to the coach. Ensure all conversations with your coach are polite and considerate. This is important whether it’s a coach who oversees your game or a coach who manages private training sessions for your basketball.
3. Honesty is the best policy
Similar to always being clear, being honest is another critical part of maintaining a good relationship with your coach. If something is bothering you as a player, then it’s important to be upfront about it. Don’t hold a grudge and let it build up inside you. A coach isn’t a mind reader, and they will actually value and appreciate you expressing your views. As above, make sure you do it in a respectful way. Being honest with your coach will also help ensure the conversation flow both ways is opened, and you will receive honesty from them in return.
4. Trust the process
This mantra became synonymous with the development of Philadelphia 76ers big man, Joel Embiid. After sustaining a serious injury prior to debuting in the NBA, the 76ers organisation asked both the fans and Joel himself to ‘trust the process’. And the same can be applied to players of any standard. If your coach isn’t giving you as much court time as you feel you deserve, trust that there is a reason for this.
Many players have to earn their dues to get the court time they desire. Don’t get disheartened or angry, but rather keep working hard and taking care of the things within your control. And most importantly if you DO need to speak up about any concerns, do it in an honest, respectful way.
If you can apply all the aspects mentioned above, the communication with your coach will be optimal. And no matter whether you are perfectly matched or have struggles getting on the same page, you will see a relationship form that benefits both player and coach positively.