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Coaching: What You Do, Not Necessary What You Know

In old Jewish culture, every boy around the age of six would enroll in school. However, there education was much different from the one a young boy or girl learns today. This type of education centered on the Torah and its teachings.

Amazingly, by the age of ten, every boy in school would memorize the first five chapters of the Bible (known as the Torah) by heart.

However at that point, the students were divided. Those who were considered “gifted” continued their education while those not considered “gifted” left school and took up the family trade as considered customary of the culture.

For those who were able to stay in school, the students would learn to memorize the entire Bible (39 books in all) by heart as well as follow a Rabbi as one of his “talamidim” (disciples) for several years.

During this time the “talamidim” would learn all the ways of the Rabbi – his beliefs, his teachings, his ways, etc.

Throughout the journey the student was encouraged to “cover yourself with the dust of your Rabbi’s feet.” Which basically meant, walk and follow the Rabbi so closely that you literally have shoes covered in dust.

The reason I wanted to give you this basic history lesson in old Jewish culture was because I felt it strongly related to the culture of coaching and more specially – coaching basketball.

You see as aspiring coaches we all want to be like the “Rabbi,” the grand teacher with years of experience, knowledge, and wisdom. However, we’re not born with intelligence and wisdom. That only comes through experience.

So, experience making the right decisions at the opportune times = wisdom

As a young coach you likely do not have a lot of experience. Sure you played basketball in high school or maybe college, but that’s about it. As far as coaching experience goes you have none.

But you got into this gig because you love the game and want to help others.

So where do you start?

Every coach, like a student in Israel, needs a Rabbi. Someone they can learn from. Someone they can ask questions to and get the appropriate answers.

The Rabbi will help you obtain the wisdom – the “what you know.”

But as history proves, it’s not always what you know that counts. It’s also what you do with what you know.

Let me explain further.

An ancient prince was passed down all the knowledge and wisdom from his father, the king, but it did little to make the prince great when he did in fact become king. What made the prince great was what he did when he became king.

A great coach is a mastermind of both what you know and what you do.

Young coaches that experience a lot of success early likely are great executioners. They know what to do and they do it. Don’t get me wrong, successful young coaches are also smart, but they cannot be brilliant because they have yet to possibly learn all the wisdom associated with basketball.

So, instead, they strive off the little they know and mostly on what they do.

If you are new to coaching I encourage you to grab a hold of a great Rabbi, an experienced coach, and learn until the teacher refuses to teach. Do not imitate your Rabbi exactly, but instead rely heavily on his or her knowledge. It’s okay to disagree and drift off into your own philosophies and theories. Just make sure they are appropriate.

Rely on your instincts when you do not know what to do.

Your own instincts have carried you this far in basketball coaching so it makes sense that they will continue to carry you. The knowledge will come. But it’s the true coach whom knows what to do and when to do it.

Execution is central to success. And a coach can only become successful by executing on what he or she feels is right.

So a great coach finds the perfect mixture between old wisdom and knowledge, and his or her beliefs and instincts.

Shoot for that mixture.

Interview with Australian Coach and Friend Mike Craw

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The game is evolving beautifully and we must stay on top of the trends in order to become the best we are capable of becoming. Does that sound like something John Wooden would say?

Please stay tuned for all of our updates as we build our Basketball Coaching collection of stories, drills, plays, tips, player profiles and general information.

Learning about basketball coaching can be overwhelming at times with all of the information out there but if you have a steady approach you can learn a tremendous amount about basketball by studying the great coaches. Take your time in developing your coaching philosophy. Learn from the great ones.

Probably the best thing you can do is find a mentor or a very good coach who can take you unde his or her wing and teach you the ropes. Learning by doing, under the watchful eye of a trained coach is an excellent way to get better.

Watch below for a recent Podcast about Basketball Coaching with an amazing Coach from the U.S.A. Randy Brown has a lot of great things to say. Listen Here.

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Please enjoy an Interview with Coach Tom Newell

We discuss youth basketball, 11 foot hoops, Basketball in China and much more.

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Take a look at some of our links and send us suggestions on how we can improve. Basketball Coaching is an art and a science and we will continue to bring you new articles and videos about the art and science behind all of this, as often as we can.

As an example of our dedication to growing the game of basketball we post below our first Sideline Sports Animation for Basketball Coaches. We expect to continue to have many of these on our site so please come back often and tell your coaching colleagues about this great resource.

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