I heard this quote at a clinic in a suburban Melbourne stadium in the late 90’s and it remains one of my favourite coaching quotes to this day. In a sport where the very best coaches and leaders are lifelong learners, it is a great reminder of keeping an eye on learning and more importantly, sharing knowledge that others have shared with you.
What does it mean? Every coach is always on the look-out for new ideas, be it a new drill, set play or ways to defend the pick and roll. The challenge for all of us is to ensure we are willing to share any new information or ideas with not only our players and team, but with coaching colleagues.
And the best way to consolidate learning – go out and try to teach and share. It may be just putting your new idea with your team the very next time you practice, rather than devoting endless hours continuing to study and refine the information prior to “unveiling” it at a later date. Jump in, introduce it your team and explore it as you teach. Even better, share it with your assistant coaches and coaching friends, discuss it and put your own bent on the learning.
Led by coaching doyens such as Lindsay Gaze, Patrick Hunt and Adrian Hurley, there has always been a strong culture of sharing in Australian coaching. This has included clinics in every corner of the country and that legacy of sharing is so important as we look to develop the next generation of coaches and more importantly, our future Opals and Boomers.
Part of the “learn it one day, teach it the next” ethos is for coaches to be brave enough to share and communicate their learning. One of the best way to refine your teaching as a coach is to conduct clinics for other coaches. This may be as simple as conducting a meeting with some colleagues at your local club, or leading an on-court demonstration of a new concept or series of drills you may have seen.
From there, being brave enough in your teaching skills to present your first “coaches clinic” is a great way to build vital coaching skills such as delivery, projection, pitch, tone and the ability to “edu-tain” a crowd (educate and entertain).
Presenting a clinic is obviously very different to leading a team practice or coaching a game, but the skills required to gather your thoughts, prepare the flow of information, and plan the delivery are all more than relevant to practice and game coaching. The benefits of sharing information in this setting are improvements to your ability to communicate to a group. This has to be beneficial for your next training or game.
“Learn it one day, teach it the next” is a great little challenge for us all as coaches. Commit to leading a coaches meeting, or conducting a clinic in the next six months. Take that new drill series or offensive concept, blend it into your coaching philosophy and share – you may be surprised at how well it is received by your colleagues and also how it will positively impact your teaching and overall coaching.
Peter Lonergan is Basketball Australia’s Head of High Performance Coach Development.