The Basketball Podcast: EP29 Sherri Coale on Teaching

RELEASE DATE : 20/02/2019

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, former Oklahoma women’s basketball head coach Sherri Coale joins the podcast to discuss what she teaches, and how she teaches the game of basketball. The conversation covers learning and teaching ideas about how to teach better basketball.

In 23 years as the head coach of Oklahoma, the numbers speak for themselves. Coale has been to three final fours, won six Big 12 Regular Season Championships, four Big 12 Tournament Championships, had 19 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and nine Sweet 16 appearances. While developing 13 All-Americans and 64 All-Big 12 Team selections, Coale has also emphasized academics as the Sooners have had 127 Academic All-Big 12 honors. That progress and consistent success has elevated Coale to elite status in college basketball as well a spot in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016.

Learn more from Sherri Coale here:

Masterclass with Sherri Coale on the Teaching Process

Listen Here:

Sherri Coale Quotes:

“Our court is our classroom . . I wanted to be a teacher and a coach and, to me, those two words were synonyms.”

“I want those guys to be able to take that information that I’m giving them and utilize it in their own specific ways. We don’t need robots . . I need five guys out there playing in their own unique fingerprint kind of way.”

“Our mission at the University of Oklahoma is to play in such a way so that people are compelled to watch and inspired to do whatever they do in a better way.”

“Our purpose . . is to grow as people and performers in the pursuit of championships. ‘Grow’ is the operative word . . We talk about questioning and wrestling and reaching and falling and getting up and doing it all over again.”

“If they can’t execute that [drill] in a game, then what is the power of it?”

“Basketball is so messy . . if you can solve problems and fix things, you can be a great player because that is constantly what you have to do when you play this sport.”

“Players now are so good with the “what” . . we’ve got some skill . . .where the gap is knowing when to use it, how to use it and why you’re using it.”

“I’m a digger by nature . . I just want to know how can we do this better? How can we be more efficient? . . What makes this great, not just good?”

“We learned a lot about what we can do better and how . . Messy is not bad . . we tell our kids that . . because we know the only way for them to grow is to fail.”

“We’ve done lots of small games, lots of what I call controlled possessions . . a lot of guided offense . . our progression rate in terms of years past . . is off the charts.”

“I try to nudge and lure a whole lot more than I push and pull . . I want to nudge a situation so that a player can figure it out on their own instead of me hammering them over the head about what just happened.”

“When you’re in the middle of something and you experience it, it becomes part of your DNA as an athlete.”

On asking questions: “For me as a coach and for our staff I will have to say, ‘I know. . it took three minutes to get this thing done’ . . you can do it in 15 seconds, and they won’t remember it tomorrow. If you give them that two or three minutes, they’re going to remember it for the rest of their time as an athlete.”

“This ain’t going to be pretty, but it’s going to be effective.”

“If you’re willing to run a messy practice, then you’re . . giving some of those perfectionists permission to screw up . . you’re building an environment that says making mistakes is part of the norm.”

“As a coach, are we really practicing what happens a lot?”

“There is a time and a place for chunking. “

“Are you willing to fail in the immediate future to really excel in the distant future?”

“She’s building a technique . . in order to ever be successful with that technique in context [of a game] she has to first have the technique.”

“The moment that technique is solid, you throw it in the ocean of context. And that’s where the skill really develops because skill is doing the right thing at the right time. And if you don’t have context, how can you ever develop that?”

“I’m talking about the urgency to recognize the moment at which you need to get from one end to the other . . it’s not about their physical conditioning.”

“This game of basketball is about speed and it’s about the speed of your decisions not of your physical body. We want to fast deciders, quick deciders, astute deciders.”

“We want the consequence to fit the behavior that is desired . . what they [coaches] want is for athletes to change their behavior.”

“The hardest work we do is coaches is to decide what is important.”

“Make the ball hard to guard . . if you play a lot of one-on-one you know what that means and what that feels like.”

“You have to figure out how to practice what really happens in the game.”

Sherri Coale Breakdown:

1:00 – Introduction
4:30 – Athlete as Learners
7:00 – Making Engagement Practice
8:30 – Growing as a Coach
9:30 – Chunking Process
11:00 – Teaching Kids to be Agile Thinkers
13:00 – Understanding that “Messy is Good”
14:00 – Whole Lot of Intestinal Fortitude
15:00 – “Only Way to Grow is to Fail”
17:00 – Practicing and Winning Closeouts
18:00 – How to Deal with Messiness
20:00 – Sacrificing Coaching Points
21:00 – Coaches are Notorious Tellers
22:00 – What is Nudging?
23:30 – Tradition of What you did wrong and Giving Answer
24:30 – Silence is Awkward
25:30 – “Showing Them is Different from Telling Them”
28:00 – The Speed of her Team’s Progression and Not Wasting Time
30:00 – Example of Chunking Drills
31:00 – Practice Chunking Drill
33:00 – “What Happens a lot in a Game, Run!”
34:30 – The Gap
35:30 – Process of Doing Full Courts during Practice
37:30 – Full Check; Half Check
39:00 – Concept of Consequences
41:30 – Coaches want Students to change their Behavior
42:30 – Play with “Abandon” and Access of their Culture
45:00 – Positive Consequence
46:00 – Talking about Tennis
47:00 – Playing and Translating 1-on-1 during Practice
51:00 – Practice Routine
53:00 – Defensive Booth Camp – More on Environmental Chunking
55:00 – Interleaving Practice
56:30 – Defensive Warm Up
57:30 – Scouting Report and Slow Learning Reps
58:00 – Conclusion

Sherri Coale Links:



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