Valuing. Interacting. Leading. Problem-solving. Critical Thinking. 
These are the 5 National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) core
competencies that coaches are now being trained in and evaluated on to
receive their certification. Are you feeling warm and tingly inside
too?!Gone are the days when winning championship banners and developing
university athletes justified your coaching style. We can all name
someone who epitomized the “win at all costs” coaching philosophy.
Chairs been kicked, clipboards being smashed, athletes living and
playing in fear, running until you puke because you’re not quite sure
why, coaches controlling everything….those are the good ole days?


Now a lot of people think that things have changed, people don’t coach like that anymore, but all you have to do is go to any school gym during the WMBA season, a junior high invitational tournament or any high school game where the win is on the line, to see young and experienced coaches alike finding ways to allow that style to permeate in our province’s basketball community.

The solution? Basketball Manitoba’s Intro to Competition and Grassroots Community coach clinics are not meant to alienate coaches in our province, but the reality is that times are changing. Coaches having to fill out Child Abuse Registry forms, teacher-coaches filling out pages of information just to play an exhibition game in another gym, administrators getting involved in the simplest of details, 20 year old coaches going up against 20 year vets…some might ask “What is the world coming to?” but the opportunity has presented itself for us all to ask, “How can I adapt?”

The more our athletes are playing club ball and traveling outside of Manitoba, the more they are realizing how global the game is becoming. If we are not prepared to take the next steps towards a general improvement in coaching from the grassroots on, then the athletes will be the ones missing opportunities.

If you think that certifying or re-certifying is not for you and a waste of time or you already know everything there is to know about the game, then I challenge you to go through the following list of terms – words that will be discussed and taught during the Intro to Competition course:

LTAD, periodization, initiation, high performance, performance analysis, sport-specific outcomes, FUNdamentals, movement skills, athlete development models, coaching competencies, evidence-based evaluations, self-assessment, referent model, coaching portfolio, intervention frequency, facilitation, practice structure, learning styles (auditory, visual, kinesthetic), correction and detection, emergency action plan, modified games…

Now, you’re probably making one or several of the following comments:

  1. What the heck – I just want to be a basketball coach!

  2. What the heck – they’re just 11 years old and I’m only coaching for a year or two!

  3. What the heck – if I wanted to be a teacher or guidance counselor…

  4. What’s with the hugging and feeling good about ourselves – what about the X’s and O’s? What about winning? Did you forget about that?

  5. Huh??

My answer to you is the following:

  1. There is no such thing as just coaching basketball. The second that you step into that gym you become so much more…an educator, a motivator, an evaluator, a surrogate parent, a disciplinarian, a voice of authority… Think how many times you’ve heard this comment from someone who still hasn’t let go of their hoop dream – “If I had only had better coaching I could have played college ball!” Don’t be that kind of coach who holds back their athletes due to lack of knowledge.

  2. 11 year olds become 12 year olds become 15 year olds become 18 year olds. Any skill that can be taught to an 18 year old can be scaled down (“loaded down”) for an 11 year old. One of the most frustrating things, as a high performance, college and provincial team coach, is to have athletes in my programs that have never been taught the basics. How to use your left hand, man to man defensive concepts, motion offense concepts….not only that but why do they not know how to warm-up properly, hydrate enough before and after games and practices, struggle with new concepts and fight breaking habits? If every coach coached their athletes for the next program they’ll play in whether that’s the senior team, the high school team, the provincial team, a recreational league or a university program, our province would be so much further ahead.

  3. I have to admit it. I am long-winded. Ask any athlete who’s played for me or any assistant coach who’s worked alongside me and they’ll all tell you the same thing: “Cheryl talks too much.” I apologize often for that but it’s not going to change. And you know why? Because the more you know, the more prepared you’ll be, the farther you’ll achieve. From my high school days to my university days I have been taught by some great coaches – now I can’t tell you what offenses or defenses we ran in grade 10 or what adjustments were made in my 3rd year of university, but I can definitely tell you some of the motivating comments that were shared that I still carry with me and that I use myself as a coach. Don’t be fooled…your athletes are listening to EVERY word you say.

  4. Believe me, I don’t forget about winning, ever. But there are definitely consequences to not caring about anything else other than winning. How you structure your season, how to prepare your practices, how your athletes train outside of practice, how much recovery time your athletes have, your practice to game ratio, the safety of your practice environment, having an emergency plan, knowing how to load drills, taking your team to the next level, intervening and correcting, understanding how your athletes learn? How are these things not about achieving success? If you’ve ever had an athlete with shin splits or bad ankles, ever had to sub your top player out because they’re cramping up, ever had to run a practice with 6 athletes, ever had players that can’t run an out of bounds that you had just drawn up in a time-out, if you’ve ever had a major injury during a practice or a game….all of these scenarios can impact your “winning”!

  5. If all I’ve done is confuse you then I apologize.

If I’ve given you something to think about…then that’s awesome.

If you’re shaking your head thinking, “Cheryl talks too much!” I warned you – but hopefully there are few kernels of truth.

The world of basketball is evolving. Either you evolve with it or you get left behind. Why not become a trend-setter rather than a spectator to change!?!

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