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DEVELOPMENT OF A COACHING PHILOSOPHY AND PRINCIPLES

One of the more common items that had to be developed over the course of my career and in the years leading up to the start of my coaching career was the development of my coaching philosophy.  From one year to the next, the philosophy has continued to evolve to what I have as my approach today.

In this article, I will take you through step-by-step as to how to develop your coaching philosophy and the principles by which you will develop and make your own.  I will also show you as we go through each of these steps what my coaching philosophy is and what principles I use as a basketball coach.

Developing the Coaching Philosophy and Principles

In putting together some ideas as to how to develop a coaching philosophy, there are three basic steps that I would suggest to all coaches.  These steps will help you in your efforts to develop a coaching philosophy that you can rely upon year after year.

The first thing you need to do is to understand the definition of success. Various coaches have differing standards as to what is and is not success.  You as a coach have to determine what you define success to be before you can pursue it.  Consider your definition a goal as to what success is.  I will discuss later on what I have found to be the best definition of success in the years that I have coached basketball and developed my coaching philosophy.

Second, you must determine what is a successful program.  It isn't enough to know what success is and is not.  You have to apply that same definition to your own program.  Maybe you need to examine the history of the program, or how passionate your fan base is, or what kind of talent your team has or what you did the previous season.  All or any of these will determine what needs to be done to help you determine what you will need to do to achieve success and meet the standards placed on you by the fans, players, other coaches on your staff, your administrators and your community.

Finally, you must develop the approach you will take to having a successful program.  Now that you know what the end game is, you have to determine what you are going to do to get there, execute it and evaluate your results.

No matter what philosophy you take, you need to examine your philosophy constantly and make sure it withstands all the scrutiny to which you will subject it.  I liken it to taking a sledgehammer and hitting it against the foundation and cornerstone of your house.  If the cornerstone and foundation survive the rigorous pounding, your philosophy passes the test.

The biggest part of your philosophy will be your principles.  Those principles are the aspects of your philosophy that you will not compromise.  It is best to base them on timeless principles and wisdom you have come across in coaching or in having played basketball so that you can make the determination as to what works best in regards to your philosophy.

My Coaching Philosophy Based on the Three Steps

In looking for a definition of success that can help as many coaches as possible, I look at the one that was developed by John Wooden when he was a high school English teacher in Indiana.  Parents were defining success for their children as being a particular grade.  The one that Coach Wooden came up with dealt more with the efforts in trying to be successful.  In the end, Coach Wooden came up with the best (at least in my opinion) definition as to what success really is:  "Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."

To me, a successful program varies from one place to another.  Some will tell you that anything less than winning championships is unacceptable while some places would throw a parade in your honor just for finishing above .500.  All I can tell you is that your definition of success and the expectations placed upon you will vary from one place to another.  If there is one thing that I would say would be a good coaching job is when the coach of the team gets his players to play to the absolute maximum of their talents and efforts within the framework of the team.

I take the approach that I will work with my players, coaches, administration and community to ensure that we have the best basketball team possible.  We need everyone in on the plan by making it a point to be inclusive.  We also need to have our priorities in order so that we can put first things first and to make the necessary steps to become the best basketball program possible.

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