In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, international head coach Henrik Rödl joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on philosophy, connection and accountability.
Henrik Rödl is the former German National Team head coach that culminated in the team reaching the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics. He also competed for Germany as a player in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Rodl has won championships in Germany as a player and a coach, and is a past German League MVP alongside others like Dirk Nowitzki and Detlef Schrempf. He played college basketball in the US for coach Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina where he won a national championship. Rodl has been head coach of ALBA Berlin, TBB Trier, Türk Telekom and now Al Ittihad Alexandria.
Rödl started his coaching career in the youth ranks of ALBA Berlin, before being named ALBA head coach in January 2005. He was released in June 2007, but stayed on with the club serving as director of the youth program and coach of the development squad. In 2010, he became head coach of TBB Trier.
Rödl had been named head coach of the German A2 men’s national team. In 2015, he coached the team to a silver medal at the World University Games. In January 2016, Rödl signed a deal as full-time coach of the German Basketball Federation, continuing as head coach of the A2 squad and serving as assistant to Chris Fleming with the men’s national team. Rödl took over the head coaching job on 18 September 2017.
Henrik Rödl Quotes:
“At the end of the day, it’s basketball. Within the lines, things stay the same, the same values stay important. I think it’s a lot of the things around it that make things different [in Egypt].”
“Obviously at that [professional] level it is challenging, but I think the approach is the same. I think if you do start caring about your players, some will care back. And the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out. And I always felt that I’m a coach that tries to build good relationships.”
“The biggest job of a coach is to find out who the guy is in front of you and what he can do and find the best role possible for your team that he can excel in and that can make the team better.”
“If you have three days to prepare for a qualifying tournament, then it gets really hard . . I feel like you focus on those things that are most important to you and stay as simple as possible . . I think that in all cases, the attitude and the effort and the team chemistry are the keys. Then you try to put as much into tactics and basketball as much as you can.”
“If ball movement and playing together is very important to you, then you start to practice with that . . We do this so we can get an advantage and then we play together to find the best shot.”
“I feel like I’m learning every day, but that’s also a duty on our side. I feel like we need to share, we need to give back to the things that we’ve received. And I think that’s being part of the coaching community and sharing whatever you can and helping anybody, wherever they are.”
“Most actions in basketball can be taught in 3-on-3, the focus can be really high on that, and there’s high repetition. For me, it’s something that I do every day with our players. 3-on-3 is a huge part of my coaching.”
“We are able to have cameras in practice. I think it’s very important for coaches to do that if they have the time, the facilities, and the capability of doing that . . I watch every practice that we do afterwards to reconfirm how we did . . And there’s so many things that I feel like I missed or maybe I was on the other side. So, they’re filming the other side, and I can break it down. I can send some sequences to some of the players and tell them, ‘This is what we did in practice. This is why I told you to have a hand up, and this is why this is important.’”
“We’ll try to create habits of how we want to play . . When do we switch? When do we not switch? What are other different coverages that we have? There’s so much stuff. Most of the days I’ll start . . pass the ball to one side and let them play 3-on-3 . . So, right away we will establish help side, we establish communicating, we establish 1-on-1 situations.”
“I do think it’s very important to show both the things that you don’t like and give clear advice on how you want it to be looking. And then you give good examples . . I have a winning play section . . players love seeing themselves doing well. It gives them confidence in what we do, but they also feel appreciated and that’s very important. Good players like to be corrected. But it’s tough when you correct them all the time and you don’t tell them anything they do well.”
“You can hold them accountable for anything, really. It starts with being on time and practicing right and having the right attitude. It’s a hard world out there. It’s very competitive. These guys know at a certain time that they can’t do this or that. Also, players want to be held accountable if they are the right people. If you find a group that doesn’t like that, it’s very hard to win.”
“I think money penalties are the very last resort. But I’ve been there also. It’s like you can talk to somebody and put them to the side and say, he’s not supposed to be doing this, and I need to see change. And then the second time, I can say that nicely again. The third time I won’t be nice, and the fourth time it will be hard. And at some point, especially with contracts, there’s got to be some kind of penalty, some kind of accountability.”
“I’ve had guys not come to practice because they overslept or something like this. I’ll have them bring cookies or something the first time, but if it happens again, then it’s not cookies anymore. At some point, the club has to also do something about it.”
“I’ve gotten a job in midseason . . you try to watch all the games that they’ve played prior to see if you think that maybe they could use help in this area . . And then when you do get the job, it’s so much about relationships and trying to understand who’s there talk and meet and watch tape and work it’s all day and all night. You try to figure out what’s going on. It does take some time to figure out different cultures and different ways and different habits, but it’s also the fascination of coaching.”
Henrik Rödl Breakdown:
1:00 – Developing Egyptian Basketball
4:00 – Dean Smith
8:00 – Connecting with Former Players
12:30 – Showing Compassion
18:00 – Short Preparation
22:00 – Playing in Transition
22:59 – 24:06 – Hoopalytics 1
24:00 – Drag
26:00 – Small Steps
28:30 – Individual Workout Stuff
30:30 – Three-on-Three
33:00 – Tracking Game Statistics
34:00 – Deliver Film
37:00 – Winning Plays
41:00 – Right Environment
42:00 – Coaching Change
44:00 – Helping Other Coaches
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