The Basketball Podcast: EP232 with Becky Bonner on Player Development and Operations

RELEASE DATE : 07/09/2022

In this week’s coaching conversation, Orlando Magic Director of Player Development and Basketball Operations Becky Bonner joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on service-based player development and basketball operations.

In her role with the Orlando Magic Becky drives the personal and professional development of the Orlando Magic players. She performs a wide variety of on-court and off-court tasks, including scouting and player evaluation, implementing facility upgrades, and service inspiring personal and professional growth to help players maximize their NBA careers on and off the court.

Bonner played basketball in college at Stanford University and Boston University before playing professionally in Europe. She has been on the coaching staffs at the University of Maryland and the University of Louisville. She worked for the NBA as part of the league’s Basketball Operations International, and was in an operations support role for USA Basketball and the national men’s team for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Bonner’s personal accolades include being inducted into the Boys & Girls Club of America National Alumni Hall of Fame, earning an Olympic Gold Medal for her role running basketball operations for the US Men’s National Basketball Team in the 2016 Rio Games, and being recognized as a Parade All-American basketball player in high school. She has been featured by the NY Times, Bleacher Report, and NBA TV and has been a guest speaker for SXSW, Female Quotient, and NBC Sports.

Listen Here:

Becky Bonner Coach Quotes:

“At the end of the day, this is really all about our players . . it’s really a service role, and we’re serving them to help them be the best they can be and maximize their careers.”

“As a player, whatever you’re good at, always excel at that. And then, lean into your weaknesses and improve those. It is a projection when they’re younger. And fit, context, all those things matter.”

“In my experience as a player and in watching both of my brothers, the repetition in preparation made us confident . . So, just making sure that you do the work, and having self-awareness about your game and what you can offer out there is really important.”

“When we talk about skill development with players, they have great skills. I think a lot of the next level stuff comes with decision making and understanding the reads. And so, we set up their workouts [where] they have to make a lot of decisions or give them a scenario that would happen in the game. We want to empower them to be successful in the game and try to replicate that in our sessions.”

“As coaches, our job is to develop them, is to give them moments to succeed in their workouts while also working on weaknesses and celebrating the process.”

“What’s the ‘why’ of what we’re doing? We’re not just shooting to shoot, we’re not just passing to pass, how does that translate to game-like scenarios and pace?”

“I would meet . . with the trainer that’s working with anyone on my roster and invite that trainer to our world to know us and understand what we’re about . . sometimes the player just needs a different voice . . it’s also healthy to get away and get with your people that make you feel good. But understand that at the end, you’re on a team and the team has goals. And when you leave your individual trainer, you’re coming back here to embrace that process.”

“One thing about coaching is, it’s not about what we know, right? We can know all the answers, but what does the player know? And so, hearing from them and having that interaction helps build your relationship. It’s respectful to hear from your peers and ask them questions as well. Asking questions and hearing their feedback really helps you understand where they’re at.”

“Any skill that you do, getting the repetition and the experience is just going to help you become better at it.”

“Be willing to receive feedback when you are invested in someone and you care about someone, you can say, ‘Hey, I really respect you. And because of that, I wanted to talk to you about this.’ And maybe it’s a criticism, maybe it’s asking for feedback yourself. In any space, whether it’s with a player, a coach or a colleague, that’s to me the core of relationship building, and then doing it without a transactional purpose. It’s just because you care, and you want to help.”

Becky Bonner Breakdown:

1:00 – Introduction

Becky Bonner Links from the Podcast:

Chris Brickley

Tara VanDerveer

Mike Krzyzewski

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