26 Jun In the Drivers Seat
Think about every time you get in the car to drive somewhere. Even if you are driving to the same destination everyday, the drive itself is unpredictable and variable every single time. Think about all the potential things that can affect your drive: construction, sunlight, darkness, other cars, detours, animals on the road, weather, pedestrians etc. When you’re driving you need to maintain focus, make calculated decisions, and make adjustments based on what the current driving conditions are. You can have all the planning and tools in the world but no matter what, that drive will never be exactly repeatable and predictable.
A good coach knows how similar playing sports and driving a vehicle are. No matter how much preparation and planning a coach does with their team, there is no possible way to predict every situation that’ll arise throughout the game. Having kids practice the same structured drills over and over may give them the skills they need for when they encounter that exact same situation in a game but there needs to be an awareness from the coach to allow their players to play and learn how to adapt to figure things out on the fly as no game situations are ever going to be the exact same. There will always be different opponents, different gyms, different players, different scores and situations, and different refs to name a few of the basic elements that vary from game to game.
The best way for a coach to help their players develop is to allow players the freedom to play, create, and improvise by giving them different options and reads that they can use for different situations that arise in games. If players are just used to memorizing plays and sequences this will set them up for failure in game when opponents take away those specific plays which forces players to have to make adjustments. Allow the players to sit in the proverbial driver’s seat and make their own decisions based on all the tools you have helped supply them with, the same way you use all your tools when operating your vehicle (anticipation, caution, aggression, knowledge, GPS, etc).