Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If You Don't Talk You Don't Play!

The quote above comes from the first chapter of the book Pursuit of Perfection from UConn Women's Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma. This certainly tells of the importance of the topic of communication at any level in basketball. It's discussed by many and preached by all. The problem is players often hear just that. Meaning that communication is demanded, but reasons for this function are often not vocalized enough. Seeing how much of a role communication plays on the court will help you hammer home your point!

- Promotes Team Building - When teammates are communicating with each other it increases the sense of a common goal. Cohesive individuals make for a well-balanced team.

- Reduces Individual Errors - It's hard to think about making a mistake when you are constantly encouraging and supporting your teammates. Less worry means less anxiety. This means your body can relax and perform at it's optimal levels.

- No Mental Lapses - Communication helps players stay focused on the game. More focus means increased awareness. Plus with communication, if someone does have a mental lapse, the talk and directions from the other players on the court help guide this player to the correct spot lessening the chance that a lapse turns into a costly error.

I myself love the intricacies of defense. Despite any special formulations or break downs nothing is as key for execution on the defensive end like talk. Communication here does three things:

- It makes our defense faster because our kids know exactly what their assignment is without any hesitation (who has ball, shooter, non-shooter, coverages). They don't have to hesitate or guess as to what their teammate is doing. Instead they know what everyone on their side is doing, allowing them to not think but instead react.

- Here we like to pressure the ball. With efficient communication our on-ball defender can be more aggressive. This is because it's essential that our on-ball defender trusts that our weakside defense is in proper position and aware of where the ball is. The best way to trust your teammates is to hear them communicate their responsibilites and what they are seeing. Knowing this our on ball defender can concentrate on his job knowing his teammates are there should he need help.

- The key word in all of this is trust. Communication fosters trust therefore aggressive teams are dependent upon their levels of accountability. Communication can make a half of second difference which on a pass in college the college level is the difference between an open space for a shooter and the ability to recover for the defense. Team's that don't trust foul more, teams that foul more, lose more!

Taking the time to explain the reasoning behind communication and implementing this into your program philospohy and drill work will give you an edge in your daily development!

"I make sure I practice all that I preach. If I make good communication a point of focus I make sure I'm a great communicator myself." - Pat Summit

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