After writing in previous articles about communication during games (pre and postgame, halftime, TO, etc.), in the next ones I am going to focus on communication during weekly practices.
In the first article, we talked about communication and information in a team with a full week of practices (5 team practices between Monday and Friday + 2 individual workouts). In this one, we are focusing on the first practice of the week.
FIRST TEAM PRACTICE (MONDAY)
1 – POSTGAME TALK
If it was not given just after ending the game, we will give it before starting the first weekly practice.
Assuming that we still haven’t got the video of the game, the next ones would be some details to take into account:
Where are we giving it?
–On the court: with all the players + staff on their feet surrounding the head coach.
–In the locker room: with seated players and standing staff.
–Other possible places: press conference room, scouting room, etc.
A – Game’s Analysis
–Quantitative level: taking advantage of official and own statistics.
–Qualitative level: looking for the game’s feelings, performance, commitment, fellowship, etc.
In this part, we will analyze what, in our opinion, is the most important to convey about what happened, what we want the players are focusing on, both positive and improvable or negative (we haven`t got to control the pace of the game, we have been solidly defending the 1 × 1, we have taken more advantages when we played with more extrapass actions, etc.).
How has the development of the week affected our performance in the game? We had worked well/badly, how have we competed in relation to this? At this point, we must dissociate, win/compete. We must give this feedback to the team.
B – Consequences after winning/losing the game
Logically, talking about pro teams, the result (win or lose) is a basic conditioning fact to consider. What does the result lead us to? Are our goals changing? Are they getting strong/weakened? How does it affect the confidence level of the team?
It is other information that must be given to the group, being realistic, clear, and being cold. A good or bad run does not necessarily have to change our main goal.
C – Communicative “space” for the players
After these two points, and just before making the “break” and starting to talk about the new week, it could be a good time to encourage/promote a “space” in which the players can express themselves, always doing it from “basics” such as respect for the team, for teammates, etc. and looking to contribute. We want to “add”.
It will be the coach’s job to check this is so, giving voice to whoever asks for it, cutting when one is out of these “basics”, or even “collaborate” or reaffirm messages, if he agrees with them.
The captain and the team’s “heavyweights” have an interesting “communicative space” here, but without forgetting the maxim that “every voice is important“, so this “space” should be opened to the whole group.
It will also be essential to control the communication time: Exceptionally, it may happen that one day we need to talk a long time, but generally, in the same way, that the coach should synthesize the message, we must ask the player for concreteness, just a quick speech.
D – Focusing on the new opportunity
Whether the result and/or our “competitive level” has been positive or negative, today is the first day of another week, in which we have a new opportunity to improve as a team and individually, thinking about both day by day and the next competitive challenge.
Getting conclusions from what happened, what should we be focused on this week? Taking an exclusively own analysis and/or considering the next opponent as well. Some examples:
-We must move the ball more and more quickly. How? Improving off screens, working harder in passing drills, rewarding extrapass situations, not stopping the ball, etc.
-We need to control the defensive rebound from outside players against our next opponent (first scouting’s details).
-We have been very solid defending the middle P&R, we must insist on it.
Beefing up what we are good at is often the same or more important than just focusing on what we are worse at. If our defensive level of the middle P&R is very high, but we stop working on it, it will surely go down. We are looking for the balance in daily work, between carrying on enhancing what we are strong at, and improving what we are weak at.
2 – PRE-PRACTICE TALK
Carrying out the post-game talk just before starting the first practice, the pre-practice talk would already be integrated into this one, if it is given on the court. If it happens in another space, we would give both separately.
If the pre-practice talk is the first one you do at the beginning of the week, here you have some considerations to keep in mind:
-Making some highlights about the game and/or the previous practice week. Emphasizing what seems the most relevant to us, either because of the significance it had or because of what it may have for the future.
–Focusing on the new opportunity. This point, which has been previously remarked, should be given in the first weekly communication.
Naming the team that will be important to us in this first practice:
- What are we going to work on?
- What do we want the players to be focused on?
We spend 2-3 minutes, sometimes even less, just before starting the warming-up, either working basketball drills on the court or working with the physical coach (in or out of the court).
This speech will be always carried out on the court, in the center circle, with all the team (including injured players) and staff present in it.
3 – POST-PRACTICE TALK
At the end of the practice, the team will be gathered (staff included) again in the center circle, to make some short considerations about the session. It could simply be a congratulation for the work done, or we could go into something more detail:
– Some reproach, as a reminder, because we would have already done it during the practice if something wasn`t done in the best way (for example, bad performance in phases of the practice).
–Focusing on aspects worked on “we have been well in the defensive balance work: remember, it is very important to stop the baller before the third dribble, and we must collapse the middle ways, so please stay focus on it” (for example).
We ended with applause and joining hands, with the shout that the team has.
In the next article, I will talk about the work in the following practices of the week, paying attention to our own scouting.