Going into any season, it’s customary for many coaches to tell their teams, “We can’t be sure we will be the most talented team, but we can be sure that we’ll be the best conditioned team.”
Initially this sounds good, and probably tens of thousands of coaches use this approach to begin a season. Personally, I disagree with it. I don’t think this approach is bad; I just think a different approach is better.
Begin with the notion that just about all human beings on this planet are lazy.
Naturally, there are superstars who become famous for their demanding workout routines; and there may be millions of athletes who overcome laziness and learn to get their bodies in terrific shape. But the basic fact remains people are lazy.
Therefore, I think it makes sense to appeal to an athlete’s laziness in a special way and, in the process, to ignite their competitive juices as well as their aspirations.
In a nutshell, I believe in scrimmaging during each practice and in approaching your athletes in this way as you begin the scrimmage/teaching process:
“This season I am not concerned about having the best conditioned team in our league. We are a basketball team not a cross country team. I don’t think it really matters whether or not we can outrun them. We aren’t racing them, we are playing basketball games with them, and we want to finish the games with more points than they get. As a result, I am not so concerned with how well you can run as well as I am with how well you can execute, how well you can do the things we need to do to score baskets and stop them from scoring baskets.”
Of course, I know that being in shape and running well is an important part of basketball, but I want the team to know that I have no interest in making them suffer just to show that I am a good basketball coach. I am interested in them playing terrific basketball. Period.
My emphasis is entirely on terrific basketball. As a result, my teams will not run sprints after practice.
As a coach, I want players’ energy used throughout the practice on things I think are most important. I don’t want any of my players’ mental energy used on thinking about sprints.
I want all of their energy focused on performance.
(excerpt from Dick DeVenzio’s book: Runnin’ The Show)