In this week’s coaching conversation, Alex Sarama and guests join the Basketball Podcast to share Basketball Immersion insights from around the world in celebration of the 200th episode. Topics include youth coaching, coach education, teaching footwork, being a life long learner and so much more.
Andre Desjardins (01:01:22)
Topics: Teaching Footwork and Pivoting in Non-Traditional Ways
Bio: Andre Desjardins is a teacher coach for over 25 years at Louis Riel, a sports school where he is the head coach of the girls Prep program as well as the HC of the basketball Sports études program for boys and girls. He has been an assistant coach with the Bronze medal Canadian Cadette Women’s National team 2011-2014. André is a Learning Facilitator with the National Coaching Certification Program as well as a mentor coach to upcoming coaches. He has spent time as the head coach of the Ontario Center for Performance for both boys and girls.
Milena Moulisová (37:27:21)
Topics: Better Youth Coaching Development
Bio: Milena Moulisová is the head of Youth Basketball for the Czech Basketball Federation, a position she has held since 2014. Her focus is on players up until U15 and coach education. She has a background in Physical Education and holds many certifications including being a FIBA A License Coach. Milena has considerable coaching experience across the world having coached at several clubs in the US, Denmark, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
Samara Funnell (21:21:15)
Topics: Youth Player Development
Bio: Samara Funnell is the Co Head Coach of Player Development at Swoosh Training alongside Joe Reddish. She is also the clubs and development officer for the Franklin Basketball Association. She has coached teams ranging in age from Under 10 to Under 16. Funnell is also a former professional player who played for the Sydney Wildcats and Hills Hornets in the New South Wales ABA league in Australia.
Zeon Gray (59:53:18)
Topics: Coaching Internationally and Life Long Learning
Bio: Zeon Gray is the current director of PSA (Premier Scholar Athletes) youth program in Asia. He has coached teams from high level AAU in the United States to a youth club Nieder Olm in Germany. After playing collegiately in Canada, his playing career took him to Europe.
200th Episode Coach Quotes:
Alex: “Most of the time, the footwork is going to end with some type of rim finish shot, or maybe a pass to a teammate in a different location. So, I think it’s really important to put those skills in the context of the game.”
Andre: “Probably the most important thing for me has been fighting for their feet. BDT shooting, when you add the defense in it right away, they [the players] have got to get their feet down quickly, and they’ve got to be balanced.”
Chris: “We can teach the complex first. But the key part about all of that is, when you teach the complex first, if someone is struggling, you can always go backwards. But we don’t want to start from the bottom and work our way on up and then find out that we didn’t need all these progressions.”
Chris: “Sometimes we teach something at a really young age to players as a ‘must,’ and then that hinders their development for the future, because that ‘must’ is the only thing they do. And I believe that we do that way too often at the youth level.”
Samara: “I think that the solution for us as coaches [to providing a learning environment] is to be more comfortable with our players self discovery through playing the game itself. And that comes back to not always being the one that’s talking . . I feel like if we just take a step back and minimize our interventions, we can give the players the opportunity to self discover and figure it out.”
Chris: “We get it, coaches are drawn to clean and organized drills that are orderly, because they give them a sense of control and a feeling of progress. But it’s an illusion, isn’t it?”
Samara: “The kids do a lot of one-on-ones as their warm ups. I maybe prescribe them a couple of things that I want them to work on, but I don’t tell them exactly how to do it . . [we do] a lot of interactive games.”
Alex: “We’re talking about starting practice in a positive tone. And, to me, that means getting the brain ready for a situation we’re gonna be making lots of decisions, and also warming the body up . . You can use platform drills and take one activity . . and add all these different constraints.”
Chris: “How often have your players ever heard you say, ‘Great effort making a mistake?’ Because we learn through struggle; we learn through risk. We learn through these different things and we have to create that environment where it’s okay.”
Chris: “We generally don’t spend enough time educating youth coaches and there’s a lot of barriers to that . . but the essential part is we know that young people are not mini-adults, they’re different. So when we think about coaching a college team versus coaching a youth team, they’re very different.”
Milena: “[In youth coaching] It’s really necessary to have that enthusiasm to have that energy and actually focus on how you coach . . the role of the coach and what example [you are setting] and to me, sometimes it’s even more important than the technical side.”
Chris: “All three of us agreed this is the way we should be coaching players. So why are we not coaching coaches the same way and making it more active for them?”
Chris: “My general rule to coaches when they’re trying to learn to teach something for the first time is: First of all, try it. Secondly, teach it. And then once your players do it, ask them, ‘Hey, do you think this adds value? Do you think this helps you? Is there something about this that works or doesn’t work?’”
Chris: “I do 100% believe in a games approach and small-sided games and offense versus defense for young players. Because here’s the value of that . . One of the biggest things is to normalize things that happen to players, things like normalizing failure, normalizing success, normalizing winning, losing, mindset training, coping, and fun. And honestly, it’s really hard to create a great practice environment for young players, unless you do have these interactive offense versus defense games.”
Zeon: “A lot of what’s going on here [in Asia] is the blocked versus random [practice discussion] to get results in terms of long-term athlete development. That’s one of the things that is new in Asia, especially at the grassroots level. My primary purpose is just trying to shed some light on [this topic] and let’s explore it a little bit more.”
Zeon: “In the beginning, we are going to see some raw movements, some mistakes, and you encourage that . . let’s fail, let’s fail early, let’s fail fast, let’s fail often. And once that barrier is . . knocked down for the kids, you see this new confidence . . and then they get excited . . we develop within this failure.”
200th Episode Breakdown:
Andre Desjardins 200th Episode
1:00 – Teaching Footwork
3:00 – Drill Makeover
5:00 – BDT Shooting and Footwork
7:00 – Using Constraints
9:00 – Reconnections
12:00 – Teach Pivoting
16:00 – Two Foot vs One Foot
18:00 – Fun and Creative Teaching
20:00 – Impact of Basketball Immersion
Samara Funnell 200th Episode
23:00 – Swoosh Cub Program
24:00 – Self Discovery Learning
26:00 – Experience of Interaction
31:00 – Decision Making
34:00 – Handling Mistake Environment
35:00 – Great Effort Making a Mistake
37:00 – Impact of Basketball Immersion
Milena Moulisová 200th Episode
38:00 – Czech Basketball Programs
43:00 – Better Education for Youth Coaches
48:00 – Value of Connection
50:00 – Coaching Coaches
52:00 – Interactive Experiences
54:00 – Offense vs Defense for Young Players
7:00 – Passion for Playing
58:00 – Impact of Basketball Immersion
Zeon Gray 200th Episode
1:00:00 – Cross-Cultural Experience
1:04:00 – Lifelong Learner
1:06:00 – Reading Books
1:08:00 – Block Practice
1:09:00 – Value of Random Practice
1:11:00 – Reconnections
1:14:00 – Player Satisfaction
1:17:00 – Development Perspective
200th Episode Links from the Podcast:
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