Consolidating the Knowledge – How can I implement what I’ve learned?

Posted on May 15 2020

With basketball globally in recess due to the impact of COVID-19, coaches from around the worlds have invested in a series of virtual clinics, Zoom chats, books and on-line clinics in an attempt to learn and grow. But as we inch closer to returning to the floor, how can we consolidate the mass of information, learnings and new ideas?

The challenge for many coaches will be sifting through all their notes, screenshots, clinic links and information, trying to arrive at what can be used with their respective teams and programs once they are back on the floor.

With still no firm date for basketball to return in earnest, coaches will remain very much in planning mode and itching to “try out” their newfound knowledge and the latest teaching points from hours in front of computer screen or iPad.

Of course, there is no way any coach can incorporate ALL the ideas into the next season or once their program returns to the floor. But the nature of coaches is to always find ways to improve and help their players, so let’s explore some ways to work through the “white noise” and make the most of the learning.

“The Power of Three” – 

As you work through those notes, try to glean three key things that resonate and you feel fit your coaching personality and the way you approach the game. Even in the very best clinics, you will only really absorb and be able to apply three or four things, so by defining the three aspects that jump out at you, you can start to consolidate your learning.

Often in teaching and coaching, we “bunch” teaching cues into threes to make the learning more efficient for our players. It is the same with your coaching, work in threes to refine your thinking and approach to various areas of the game.

Reflect with a colleague

Knowledge shared is knowledge gained. Touch base with a coaching colleague and discuss what you have learned, ask questions on their key learnings and take notes throughout. This sharing and verbalising of the learning will help you gain clarity and also unpack the learnings from your colleague.

Put a time limit on it so you don’t create even more “white noise”, an hour is about right for a share reflection of this kind; any more and you may simply add to your confusion.

Dot point document – 

Renowned coach and coach developer Kevin Eastman is the master of the “dot point” and in his visit to Australia in 2017, Coach spoke about the importance of learning, teaching and organising in this way.

While many of the various notes from clinics and group chats may well be in dot point form, go through and refine, pick out the key points and consolidate into one document. This may end up a three page document, but it is still more efficient than the six lined pads you have scrawled notes.

Spend the time to type this document, this will help embed the learning and also allow you to save electronically, rather than having reams of paper all over your desk or in your coaching folder.

Narrow your focus –

Start on the task of thinking about just what specifically you want to use in your next season or when your program resumes. Pick three elements (power of three!) and unpack ways in which you will communicate these to your staff, how you and the staff will communicate this to the players and then the drills and breakdowns you will use to teach.

Now you are progressing from the learning to the planning and narrowing your focus, rather than taking on new information. Once you get back on floor and on the side-line, the natural learning from wins, losses, success and failures will continue. But by embracing the planning and implementation, you will be able to be efficient with your newly acquired knowledge.

Enjoy the process of consolidating the learning and starting on the journey of using that new knowledge once the sport returns to the court in the coming months.

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