There are very few teachers of the game that I respect more than Billie Moore. Working for Sue Gunter created so many opportunities for me and one was meeting and becomes friends with Coach Moore. Back in 1980, Coach Moore wrote, “Basketball: Theory in Practice.” Nearly 30 years later, the principles in this book remain sound. Here are some thoughts from Coach Moore in regard to communicating with your team.
Two keys to good relationships are fairness and communication.
Players have to be treated equally, but maybe not in exactly the same way. Since each player is different from the others, each player has different needs and requires different responses from the coach. They have to be treated equally, though, in that some exception player can’t be given preferential treatment. That doesn’t mean that the most skilled players can’t be treated as individuals. It just has to be made clear that singe every player contributes something to a team, every player is part of and not separate from that team.
When players are unhappy, it is usually because they feel they haven’t been treated fairly. If this feeling exists, it is often because the coach hasn’t communicated well with that player.
Players should be told that it isn’t so important who starts the game, but instead what’s important is who is in the game when it’s decided. Since the combination of winning players can change, since it can be a different combination in every game, each athlete must contribute whatever she can when she is the game.
Another aspect of team morale is that a coach has to have the respect of the team. Respect can’t simply be demanded; coaches have to work very hard to be judged deserving of it. Ordinarily a team will at least respect a coach’s knowledge of basketball as it becomes apparent through a well planned and totally organized program. Still, one aspect of respect relates to the coach’s consideration of the individual players on the team. This doesn’t mean that a coach can’t lean on players to get better performances. It does mean that both criticism and praise have to be given fairly and be deserved, and the athletes have to be made to understand this.
Of course, it’s probably not to hard to have a good team morale and plenty of respect all around when a team is winning. It’s a little tougher though, after several losses in a row. Again, the key is communication.