Topic 1 – Philosophy from Basketball England (Train, Do, Review)

 Philosophy from Basketball England (Train, Do, Review)

A coaching philosophy is a combination of values that determine how coaches lead and direct their team, and why they lead and direct in such a manner.  These values that are the foundation of coaching philosophy are influenced and changed over time by a person’s experiences, personality, and mentors.  As a coach’s philosophy changes over time it is important for them to reflect on how and why it has changed.  Reflection is also important because it gives coaches the opportunity to make sure their philosophy still represents their values.

A person’s experiences include their background, knowledge, and any events that substantially shaped their current values.  A person’s background, such as where they are from, and how they were raised, greatly affect their current values, thus affecting their team.  Someone’s current knowledge is partially shaped by their background, such as schooling and where they lived, but it is also shaped by and learning they have done on their own.  Sometimes, there are singular events that occur throughout a person’s life that shape how they think the rest of their life.  While these events are rare, a single one could change a coach’s values and thus how they coach their team.

The coach’s personality greatly influences their coaching philosophy.  For example if a coach’s personality is generally upbeat and positive, that is most likely the fashion in which they will coach the team, but the opposite is true as well.  As listed in the coaching styles description, there is a style to match each personality.

Lastly, mentors mostly affect how much a coach’s philosophy changes overtime.  Mentors have usually been in the exact or similar position to the one the mentee is seeking advice on.  The values of the mentor and the mentee may not be the same, which is just fine, it is the experience the mentee is benefiting from, not the sharing of similar values.

Having a coaching philosophy makes decisions regarding the team much easier.  When having to make decisions such as whether or not to add a certain player to the team, or to focus more on offense or defense, etc, coaching philosophy provides a general guide to answering these questions.

It is important for the coach to share their philosophy with everyone involved with the team, even parents.  Having the philosophy out in the public eye will make the coach more accountable, but also make the players more willing to adhere to it, even when it may not personally benefit them.  A publicly known coaching philosophy also allows people to challenge the aspects of that philosophy.  While these challenges may seem like a negative at first, it can lead to eventual refinement and betterment of the philosophy.

Below there are seven steps to recognising and forming a concrete coaching philosophy:

1. Listing of values

  • Provide a list of values that are representative of yourself.

2. Establish a personal belief system

  • Provide an action that represents each of the values in step one.  Values without actions are simply thoughts.

3. Mission statement

  • Summarise the content of steps one and two into anywhere from one word to one or two sentences.  

4. Self requirements

  • Determine what you expect of yourself physically, academically, and personally.

5. Reflection

  • Determine why you are coaching.
  • Determine your end goal.

6. Mission statement

  • Now develop a mission statement for your team, different from the one is step three which is a personal mission statement

7. Team requirements

  • Decide what you expect of your team.  It is crucial that this comes after you decide what you expect from yourself, because it is unfair to require something of your team that you do not require of yourself.
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