The following are notes from Mike Neighbors of the University of Washington. I've known Mike for sometime and one of the things I respect most about him is that he was one of those coaches that love to share. If you're aren't on his mailing list you are really missing out! He constantly sends out some of the best material that I have in my library. I am on my second binder of "Mike Neighbor Notes." Drop him a an email and asked to be placed on his list - firstname.lastname@example.org - I guarantee you won't be sorry!
For an example, here a sample of something I got from Mike's last newsletter:
Virginia Commonwealth’s Center for Sports Leadership and NIKE have teamed together to develop a two-day experience for assistant coaches that to date is by far the best coaching experience that I have ever been a part of.
22 NCAA Women’s Assistant Coaches and 47 NCAA Men’s Assistant Coaches gathered in Portland last week for a two day seminar on the NIKE Campus. For 36 hours, we were joined by 30 Athletic Directors and Conference Commissioners to discuss the state of the game of college basketball. We shared ideas, picked each others thoughts, and listened to some of the games brightest minds in sports. After 36 hours at most seminars/clinics, I am usually ready to find the nearest golf course. Not this one. I would have loved to have another 36 to be surrounded by these people who truly are trying to as we say here “Grow The Game.” But in true NIKE style, they always leave you wanting more.
The main idea of the consortium is to allow assistant coaches a rare opportunity to share face-time with Athletic Directors from across the country. But for our Newsletter purpose, I believe the ideas shared can be used by all of us chasing a dream in coaching. It also motivated me to be a better assistant coach while I learning the crafts necessary to be a head coach some day.
Ed McLaughlin, the AD at Niagara, and Vic Cegles, the AD at Long Beach State chaired a panel discussion sharing their advice on how the hiring process looks from their chair. I think regardless of whether you are trying to be hired at the University of _____ or your local middle school, the people doing the hiring have similar thought processes. The dispelled many myth’s about the “short lists” that we always seem to read about surrounding job searches. While they did say they mentally keep tabs on coaches that are available there is no written document that they refer to when they encounter a job opening. Here were some notes I took from this session:
1) Every day is an interview… When your team is playing a road game, there are countless people in attendance for the home team that are watching you. They could be in the stands or at the scorers table. They might be in the hall away or working a concession stand. You most likely never know them, but they know you. They are the people who for now might be an associate AD in charge of game management but in three years might be the AD at another school looking to hire their next coach. If you were rude to the 18 year old student making you a hot dog, they guaranteed us there could be NO ONE on your reference list to overcome that.
2) “In the beginning, think about the end”… This was a quote from Ed McLauglin. He was speaking about the way your mind should work as you prepare for a future job. If you wait until your “dream job” is open to prepare for it, you will never get it. While everyone agrees you have to make your current position the best position you have ever had and the most important, if you dream of something bigger you have to prepare for it in your spare time. In other words you have to think and prepare for the end result long before the day comes. Vic Cegles followed that up by saying so many aspiring have coaches have “seen the end of the movie, without ever thinking about how much work went on before.” It is so true that we often see the glamorous side of the coaching profession without any thought to how many NOT so glamorous moments went into getting those coaches there.
3) “Basketball players have to be re-programmed”… They both spoke on this point. It was something I had never really thought of in this context but it is so true and brilliantly put. Football players from a very young age learn their roles.
The biggest, strongest (most often chubby kid) is a lineman in 4th grade football. And from that point on that’s who they are. The fastest kid is the QB. And from a young age be BECOMES our image of a QB. Sure there are extremes where the 4th grade QB stops growing and the chubby kid loses weight and becomes the QB. But, for the most part, they are who they are from a young age. And by the time they are ready to be a high school player or collegiate player, they have spent YEARS in their role of who they are. That is not true for our sport. Basketball players are constantly thrust into different roles. A junior high post player may have to be a guard in high school. A high scoring high school player may have to become a role player at the collegiate level. Thus we as basketball coaches are always re- programming our players psyche. Think about that one and I bet you’ll see things you have never thought of before.
This one was a hot topic in side conversations.
4) “The Art of the Pitch” was a book recommended. I have yet to read it but it has been ordered from Amazon.com and hope to have it soon and will include a review in a future newsletter.