The Basketball Podcast: EP74 Gail Goestenkors on Coaching Full Circle

RELEASE DATE : 25/12/2019

In this week’s coaching conversation, former Duke and Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors joins The Basketball Podcast to discuss coaching full circle. 

One of the most accomplished women’s basketball coaches in the nation, Gail Goestenkors, guided squads at Duke University and the University of Texas-Austin. During her tenure, she guided her teams to 18 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, four NCAA Final Fours, seven NCAA Elite Eight appearances and a NCAA record seven consecutive 30-win seasons.
The WBCA Hall of Fame Coach was AP National Coach of the Year in 2007 and WBCA; Naismith Coach of the Year in 2003. Goestenkors was also a seven-time ACC Coach of the Year selection. Goestenkors was a two-time assistant coach for the gold medal winning USA Basketball Olympic team and Head Coach for the gold medal winning USA U-19 World Championship Team, where she was also named the USAB Coach of
the Year.
Goestenkors also served as a consultant and assistant with the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks and was an assistant coach with the Indiana Fever. Goestenkors most recently served as an Analyst for ESPN calling Women’s College Basketball games.
After enjoying a successful coaching and broadcasting career, Gail has entered the consulting business as Co-Owner of Coaching Full Circle.
Gail Goestenkors

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Gail Goestenkors Quotes:

Really good stuff with lots of new ideas.

Gail Goestenkors quotes:

“When you’re coaching you have to be yourself . . just because something works for somebody else does not mean it’s going to work for you.”

“As I . . gained confidence as a coach and a leader, I became much more trusting, much more collaborative . . I think everybody felt better about the way things were going and we became much more successful.”

“They [the players] became the best scouts. We might . . diagram all the plays, but they knew the tendencies . . They helped me as a scout and as an assistant coach to know the best way to attack certain players . . “

“I started having a player assigned to do scouting reports. Every player was going to do a scouting report with a coach . . the players would now watch tape with the coach, they’d break down the opponent and they’d present the scouting report with that coach to the team.”

“I love putting the players in front of the team throughout the season because I know it helps them in so many ways, to just be able to gain confidence and have those leadership qualities.”

“You have got to be able to find a way to connect with the players that you are recruiting and with your own team . . many of them are on social media . . so that’s got to become your friend.”

“I would recommend to any college coach, go to the WNBA preseason practices because they’re really phenomenal because they have to put in so much so quickly.”

“Every time there was a water break, we timed it. It was a 30-second water break. We treated it like a time out. When they came out of that 30-second water break then we were running a special situation because not only do the players need to work on special situations, so do the coaches.”

“I always had . . one of my assistants in charge of special situations and she would always have my top five plays I wanted to run.”

“As a head coach, you have a responsibility to help them [assistant coaches] grow.”

“I would always ask my staff, ‘Should I have made this call here? Is there something else we could have done? What about this substitution?’ I needed feedback from the people that I trusted.”

“Even before every practice, I would break down the tape of the practice before . . and I would always have ‘plays of excellence’ and ‘plays for improvement.’ . .That’s how we always started practice.”

“I had a lot of sets which worked for us. But going back now I would prefer to just teach the players how to play the game and then let them play the game.”

“If you set one or two good screens, you’re going to get a good shot.”

“Know who you are. Develop a mission statement of who you are and what you stand for.”

“Hire to your weaknesses . . trust is paramount but you need to hire people who can have open, honest and very difficult conversations with you. They will make you better because they’re going to make you think.”

“Seek advice from others . . You can’t be on an island. You’ve got to be willing to be uncomfortable. You’ve got to be willing to learn, to open up and to say, ‘Hey, I messed up. I made a mistake.’ . . People will care about you when you show them you are vulnerable. You don’t have to have all the answers.”

“When you accomplish something you don’t think you can do, there’s a bonding that goes on as a team.”

[On giving players journals] “I’m going to look through them and then we’re going to meet individually and we’re just going to talk about life. Nothing about basketball . . the journal is going to guide me so we can expand more on what they’re saying, what they’re thinking and what they’re feeling.”

“You have to re-recruit your players daily.”

Gail Goestenkors Selected Links from the Podcast:

Gail Goestenkors

Coaching Full Circle Consulting

Carol Ross

USA Basketball


Gail Goestenkors Breakdown:

1:00 – Coaching Full Circle Consulting
2:00 – Player Led Team
5:00 – Moving From Head Coach to WNBA
6:30 – Players Leading Scouting Other Teams
8:00 – The things she made to make her players comfortable in Scouting
10:00 – Practice on the court
12:30 – Coaches Innovating in Today’s Game
15:00 – Personalities of coaches in their Practice Nowadays
17:00 – Learnings from WNBA experience transfer to College Coaching
20:00 – Every water break treated as a Timeout
21:30 – Players as the decision makers
22:30 – The Game is the Best Conditioning
24:00 – Sideline Out of Bounds Plays
26:00 – Defensive Concepts on Sideline Out of Bounds Plays
27:00 – Manage Special Situations
29:00 – Staff Practice
31:00 – Evaluating her Post-Game
32:00 – Evaluating her player’s game
35:00 – Best practices for coaches in her opinion
37:30 – Advice to young Coaches
40:30 – Advice in Coaches in Transition
43:00 – Relationship team Building Activities
46:00 – Open Things Up with her Players
49:00 – The lessons she learned along the way
50:40 – Conclusion

Gail Goestenkors:



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