Tom Bradley, Head Coach at Orleans High School, Orleans, IN
When I became the varsity boys basketball coach at Orleans High School, one of my first tasks was to hire a coaching staff that I had confidence in doing what was best for the program that I had in mind. I feel this is a key to any program – hard working coaches with the athletes and the program’s best interest at heart. To me, the lower levels are not about wins and losses. It is about teaching basketball fundamentals and teaching young players how to always give their best. Preparing players for their future basketball career starts with the basic skills and developing a solid work ethic.
To accomplish the above goal, the communication of coach to coach and coach to player is vital. Every coach needs to be on the same page. That is why we have coaches meetings for the whole staff. From elementary to varsity, each coach attends our meetings during the entire season.
To begin, I survey the staff to find out what day and time would be best to hold our meetings. We do our meetings every other Sunday evening at 7:00 at the high school. We host at the high school so we have access to the court to show drills and offenses/defenses. I want our coaches to have confidence in what they are teaching and by showing on the court, it helps give them this confidence.
Many weeks before the season began, each coach had been given a “Coaches Handbook.” The handbook contains information covering Orleans Bulldogs Basketball. This is the blueprint of the program. It contains player and coaches expectations, communication with parents, sample practice plans, drills to be used – divided into categories to develop all aspects of the game, offensive and defensive expectations, offensive and defensive sets and schemes to be used at each grade level, and much more. Coaches are given these early to have time to study the material before the season begins.
At the first meeting, I pass out supplies and program information to the coaches. Here are the agendas from our first two coaches meeting of last season.
At each meeting, we discuss reports from each team. I want to know what is being taught, what problems that might have occured, and answer any question that a coach may have.
An assistant coach and myself attend all early season practices possible of every team. This gives us a chance not only to get to know the players better, but also to help our coaching staff in any way we can. We also help our lower level coaches select members of their teams. Sometimes there are tough decisions to be made in terms of who makes the team. By having high school coaches at tryouts, the pressure of making cuts is reduced. An agreement of three or four coaches on which players should be on a team helps if a situation should arise from an upset parent.
Communication among coaches is a huge key in terms of the success of any program. By having these meetings, we are able to talk about every aspect of our program. Also, it is a way of limiting problems that might have come up without communication.
Our meetings give the staff a solid connection. Not only do we speak of basketball, we also get to know each other better by having time to build our relationships. The meetings have been something that I have always looked forward to and have really enjoyed. Being there for each other is something that every coach needs. This has been very beneficial to us over the years.