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    I hope this serves, three ideas to teach better:

    1. Pound the Stone – say the same thing in the same words more and apply it to all the situations it should apply. If you can’t find enough appropriate times to say it, then it isn’t that important to say at all. Find the most important thing to teach and POUND THE STONE. Eventually it will crack it you hit it enough and come at it creatively. 

    2. Chaos is Key – Sit in the messy longer than you feel comfortable. Make sure everyone feels the angst you feel so that when you offer a solution, it DROPS in an impactful way for the whole team. Smoothing the learning process in often counterproductive. It doesn’t make it sticky and no one learned anything other than to rely on the coach. 

    3. Check for Understanding – Nods, yes coach and punishment are not guarantees of understanding. Show me. Make your team show you they understand, that is the test a game will demand, not a nod or a verbal or a 5 on 0 or a cone move. Show me. Don’t assume execution until they can show you under difficult conditions. 


    It made me sad no one had posted in this essential category yet, hope this gets the ball rolling. 


    Thanks for starting the conversation Tyler. Great thoughts and share.

    Teach better – some thoughts to add to the conversation.

    Language and words matter…

    1) Use teacher talk, not coach speak

    Coach Speak= Play harder, talk on defense, Come on, lets go

    Teacher Talk= Sprint from rim to rim – don’t run.   On defense, you should say “Ball, Gap or Help” – have a conversation with the on-ball defender if you are helpside and let them know specifically what you are doing…instead of Come on or Let’s go, use specific questions or commands of what you want to see done…Another common phrase is “REBOUND” or you could say….”When the shot goes up, we MUST check or box out our man/woman.”


    Great stuff Sam!


    @Tyler Coston Thank you for sharing! I like the ideas and will definitely share with the coaching staff and begin finding creative ways to implement this in our program.



    Here is a nugget I got from listening to a great coach from Quebec, Ryan Thorne:

    He spoke about rotating players/teams in and out during practice. He mentionned that when he had multiple players rotating, he would have them rotate IN to whatever side of the ball he is focusing on. For example, if the emphasis of the drill is defensive rotations, he would have teams rotate from Defense to Offense and then step out. The reason for that is he wants them focused on what they should be working on at least two times in a row. Now the team can focus on defense when they are out of the drill and immediatly come in and recreate/correct what they just saw! I thought that was a subtle but very important point.

    Coach Thorne also has created an accronyme for the word TEACH which I think is valuable :


    I highly encourage you to listen to Coach’s clinic he gave last month on team defense, but you will find some great nuggets on Master Teaching as well! Here is the link, the intro is in french, but the clinic is in english: 



    Thanks for sharing Hugo.


    When watching the Master Teaching course, TJ had us write down some teaching strategies. Here’s what I use in the classroom (social studies) and on the court:

    Whole-Part-Whole for implementing systems and strategies
    Games Approach for problem-solving and creativity
    Constructivism for teamwork and critical thinking
    Direct Teaching for skills

    If you’re not familiar with constructivism, I’m a big fan as a social studies teacher, I recommend looking into that. In a nutshell, Constructivism has its roots in behaviorism where conditioning and shaping take place to modify behaviors. It has an end goal in mind but allows for players to be work together to figure out the meaning while the coach shapes outcomes along the way. 

    Attached is a concept model of it

    If you have specific questions, let me know!




    @Dustin Jeffries

    I am also a social studies teacher as well and I would like to know more about this teaching strategy you have presented. I would like to use it in my classroom and with my athletes. 


    @Steven Binghamyou probably already use constructivist teaching without even knowing it!

    Here’s an example of how constructivism can work when implementing a new skill or system, in this case, reading the ball handler’s action as part of the R&R system. 

    1. Before we start the process of the dribble-drive action and reaction, sit them down and ask:   

      • Why do we dribble drive?

      • What should the other four be doing?

      • What’s the best/most effective action for the two offensive players adjacent to the dribbler?

        1. Why is this the best action?

        2. What other actions could there be? (Come up with at least 5 total)

          • Can you rank these in order of most effective to least effective?

        3. Draw out these actions on the whiteboard and work out the best solution on your own. 

      • Connect with at least two other players who have the same #1, most-effective action.

        • What are your other 4 actions? 

        • Combine your top 5 together to make the group’s top 5.

    2. Then I’ll have them actually try it out as a group of five and watch the actions they’ve chosen to see how it fits in with a dribble-drive action.

      • We’ll debrief as a group and discuss which action(s) were the most effective and why.

      • If a Circle Movement-type action floats to the top, we’ll discuss why players chose that action. 

        • We’ll then act that out as a group in the context of more layers to show why this reaction is the chosen one we go with.

    Constructivist learning took place here through the following:

    • The main part of this is scaffolding questions.
    • There could be as many meanings/results as there are people/groups
    • There could be new/no rules and still have the same outcome
    • Learning creates meaning by doing and thinking
    • Constructing new meaning/knowledge where there might not have been any there
    • Minimal coach involvement
    • Active
    • Relevant
    • Hands on
    • Conversations/Collaborative work

    @Dustin Jeffries Thanks coach for the info will definitely look at this material and find ways to implement it into my own teaching/coaching and share with my staff. 

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