In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, founder and creative director behind the Basketball Podcast and Basketball Immersion, Chris Oliver, is joined by his wife Jen to discuss lessons from the podcast, relationships, heart math, emotional fitness, feedback and so much more.
Thank you to all the supporters who have listened, shared and given the podcast a shout out over the first 100 episodes.
Jen Oliver was a 5-year basketball player at Queen’s University, and is the author of the international bestselling book, The Love FitMama Way: Transforming the Core of Motherhood, and is the creator and host of the FitMama Podcast (The Work IN to your Workout). As a Core Transformation Coach, Podcaster and Speaker, Jen inspires, educates and motivates Moms around the globe to begin all things with self-love.
Through awareness of safe core fitness, self-care and mindfulness she draws on science and the mind-body data to support moms to embrace, nurture and enjoy their motherhood journey. What she is most passionate about is spreading the message that if you love the body and life you have, you will have the body and life you love. Jen shares this message beautifully in her recent TEDx talk, How to Love Yourself to the Core:
Chris: “Every generation of coaches thinks that the players are different than their generation . . it brings up something that’s really important: . . don’t generalize. For example, kids not going to play pick-up . . meanwhile, we’re the reason they don’t play pick-up . .”
Jen: “They’re probably feeling what I felt . . it’s a situation where . . you’re put in a box and you are supposed to feel this certain way . . there’s expectation when that is put on you instead of chosen.”
Chris: “We want to acknowledge where it [a drill, technique, knowledge] came from, we want to honor where it came from . . you can adopt this, but I prefer that you adapt it because that’s me giving something to you that you make your own or you make better.”
Chris: “It’s been the biggest gift of the Basketball Immersion community and the Basketball Podcast . . is just giving stuff to coaches and then . . they had a better idea or they added to it and then I become a better coach, and that’s the whole point of this sharing community.”
Jen: “Things like blocked and random practice . . My coaches, bless them and their patience, never knew who they were sometimes going to get in a game but they knew who they were going to get in practice . .”
Chris: “The way you practiced wasn’t the same as the way you played the game . . The other part is . . that people expect to be taught the way they’re used to being taught . . there’s still a resistance to what I’m saying which is to coach the game by playing the game . .”
Jen: “It was so intimidating to me. I think at some level I knew that was what I needed to do to really be good and instead I wanted to go to the gym and take shots because that felt safe and comfortable . . doing things that were against a defender didn’t feel comfortable . .”
Chris: “What also struck me through all these conversations, it seems to me a separator between good and great coaches is what I would call ‘after care.’ . . these moments where you can create the right mindset, the right environment, the right emotional fitness for players . .”
Jen: “The word ‘fitness’ in general, I like to think of as a certain level of strength . . a measure of someone’s fitness often is not necessarily how hard they can go but how fast they can recover . . is your body able to physically recover from working out hard . . if I’m pushed in some direction [emotionally] am I able to recover back . .”
Jen: “[When] you get into what’s really your core value or what’s the core decision you need to make . . you’re going to be aligned and centered in what you really stand for . .”
Chris: “And these are learned behaviors . . I think that’s sometimes lost when we talk about mental skills or psychology . . we can learn this . .”
Chris: “As coaches we’re not very good at celebrating small victories. We don’t celebrate enough with our players . . we don’t celebrate enough with ourselves, with our families.”
Jen: “Being open to learning is the way to honor each other.”
Chris: “Don’t coach it out of them. We spend so much time as coaches coaching things out of players rather than honoring them. Now, they have to fit within our non-negotiables but . . sometimes players just have better solutions . . I’m not saying, don’t coach it, but what I mean by coaching is inform it, guide it, enhance it, teach when to apply it . .”
Jen: “When we introduce ourselves to someone we go on a long diatribe about something or we just don’t really interest them in any way whether it’s online, our posts, our videos. . so use the first 10 seconds when you introduce yourself . . say something to someone that is of interest to them, make them the person that you’re talking about or who you want to help or be . .”
Chris: “You don’t know how someone’s going to internalize things if you aren’t specific about your feedback . . when we’re not very specific and very actionable with our feedback then things get lost . .”
Chris: “My view . . how to do and to be able to provide feedback is . . ‘keep and add’ . . keep doing something, add this. So, you’re giving me something that I’m doing well and then you’re telling me something I can improve . . ‘keep and add’ has become a part of my coaching lexicon, that’s been the most important thing that I’ve added over the last few years.”
Chris: “We talked a little bit about me starting Basketball Immersion and one of the things that came through to me is this concept of replacing compliance with curiosity . . so much of coaching is doing it the way . . you were taught . . What I tried to create with Basketball Immersion was basically an outlet for curiosity.”
Chris: “How have we sustained a 10+ year marriage and 14+ year relationship with this coaching life? . . No matter what, it’s an imbalance of time. I’m going to spend way more time in-season with my team than I am with my family. So how do I make sure that I make that time count? . .”
Jen: “I truly believe quality time trumps quantity, anyway . . we always have so much respect and excitement to see each other because we didn’t have that much time together . . that allowed us to be very intentional with our time and be present and to choose to do certain things . .”
Chris: “And coming back to the feedback, just how many coaches and spouses either way don’t communicate truly what they need. It’s scary to communicate openly and honestly . . we’re probably better at telling our players openly and honestly what needs to be present for our relationship to succeed versus our spouse or our significant other.”
Jen: “The greatest thing we can do as coaches or humans is let our ego hang out in the back seat but not drive the car.”
1:00 – Introduction
3:00 – Not Generalizing
7:00 – Adapt or Adopt
10:00 – Learnings from the Past that Improve Her Game
12:30 – After care and Emotional fitness
15:30 – Helping Players with Mental Recovery
17:00 – Techniques to get back to the Center
21:00 – Learning the Technique
23:30 – Competitiveness
27:30 – I Love Coaching
29:30 – Public Identity
31:30 – Honor Someone
36:00 – Origin of the Podcast
40:00 – Living a Life of Servitude
43:00 – Importance of Building Relationship with the Players
46:00 – Connecting at the Heart level
48:30 – 10-second Pitch Idea
52:00 – Sandwich Approach
54:00 – Keep and Add
55:00 – Communication and Feedback
57:00 – Replacing Compliance with Curiosity
59:00 – Coaching and Relationships
1:01:00 – Weaknesses become Strengths
1:06:00 – The Story I’m Telling Myself
1:07:30 – Concept of Holding Space
1:10:00 – Conclusion
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