Sideline Stories – Basketball Coach Weekly 185

Here is a recent interview that was published in the most recent Basketball Coach Weekly – Issue 185

I appreciate Basketball Coach Weekly’s Editor-in-Chief, Mike Austin, interest in my perspective and decision to step away from the game temporarily due to family obligations.

I am looking forward to getting back to the sidelines very soon.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Art of Playing Point Guard

Here are 5 musts for point guards according to ESPN’s Monday, Feb 20th telecast of the Iowa State/Texas Tech game:

1.Eliminate emotional fogs

2. Decision maker vs. Risk taker

3. Don’t be shot happy but make open shots and timely shots

4. Defend your position

5. Make your team and teammates better

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

With a Heavy Heart

It is with a great disappointment that I have resigned this past week as the Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at Sacred Heart University due to family concerns.

With the birth of our second child in early June, it was becoming more and more apparent to me that I did not really know our new addition. Like most parents, I was trying to stretch time at both ends – work and home – and I felt that I was failing as a father and did not want to fail as a coach.

I cannot thank Head Coach Jessica Mannetti enough for hiring me and giving me the opportunity to join her staff. Everyone at Sacred Heart was so very welcoming and I truly enjoyed each and every day I went to the office. Coach Mannetti’s friendship, understanding and support during this decision shows her leadership and compassion for her staff despite her desire to keep me on board.

I wanted to make sure this decision was not rash, yet still make a relatively quick decision in order to give Coach Mannetti the utmost time to find my replacement. It is nerve racking to leave a job, when you do not have any other work lined up, especially when you have a family to help support. However, I felt it was the right thing to do given the circumstance.

I would also like to thank the Coach Yolanda Cole, Coach Ali Heller, the SHU student-athletes and support staff. You are all great people who are dedicated to your craft and I will miss working with you.

Not only was this a difficult decision because of my journey to get back on the sidelines this past season, but also because I felt that we had a great chance to win the NEC and move to the NCAA tournament this season. I will surely be cheering the Pioneers on throughout the year.

I have never been anything but all in and know that I cannot change that approach. I think right now, as a division I assistant though there are certain requirements that the job entails, which are necessary in order to assist in running a championship level program. I had to make a value judgement of myself and my priorities and I did not think I could have performed at the level that Coach Mannetti and the student-athletes needed me to, and at the level which I know how to and expect myself to work at, without sacrificing a tremendous amount of time with my family.

This sacrifice was not the right approach for our family at this time unfortunately.

To all of my friends who have called me and offered their support and encouragement, I appreciate you all.

This was a hard decision but it was the right one…And although it was the right decision it is still a very bittersweet one as well.

I have met many great people in the game and know I have positively influenced the lives of so many of my former players and assistant coaches. Some solace for me during this decision is that I know that I can hold my head high and am confident that I have treated all those I worked for, coached with and been a coach for, as best I could and given it 100% all the time.

The wins are great, but the relationships will always last and will always mean the most to me.

Players and coaches, as always, if I can help you with anything, please do not hesitate to ask.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Coaching Contracts

Here is an article from News OK on Chris Beard who has had seven jobs in the past 62 months, accepting the Texas Tech job just days after agreeing to the become the UNLV head coach.

Journalist, Berry Tramel, offers a suggestion for the NCAA regarding contracts in is piece (see Tramel article).

Coaches, what do you think about two-way contracts?

It seems that loyalty is a thing of the past and your word is NOT bond. If coaches cannot be trusted, then shouldn’t safeguards be taken against them not fulfilling their contract?

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Whistle and a Clipboard Podcast Notes – Randy Brown

Here is a link to the Whistle and a Clipboard podcast by Jason Oates (Whistle – Randy Brown interview).

In this episode, Coach Randy Brown was the featured guest and shared some great observations, opinions and coaching musts!

If you would like my version of the notes in from the full 1 hr 20+ minute podcast, just follow me on @CoachDeSalvo and direct message me and I will be sure to email them to you.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Basketball Coach Weekly – Issue #125 – DeSalvo Article

Here is my article that was just published in this week’s Basketball Coach Weekly – Issue 125 – DeSalvo Contribution.

Specifically I want to touch on my second point “Don’t Be Afraid to Change”. Here is the story behind this important point.

Last season, as the Head Coach of Southern Connecticut State University, our team was struggling due to an injury to Mariah Hankton, the team’s senior co-captain, 2nd leading scorer and end of shot clock shotmaker.

The loss of Mariah not only hurt us from an X and O’s standpoint, but our players were demoralized and emotionally void. Before Mariah’s injury we were an impressive 10-5 in the NE-10, with five games to go.

Predictably, we struggled without her, but needed just one win to secure the three seed and a first round bye in the conference tournament.

I told our team “we will not lose the same way” which is one of my philosophies as a coach. It is my responsibility to figure out a way to not keep repeating the same mistakes and do whatever is necessary to help our team be successful.

With that in mind, we played zone defense again the College of Saint Rose, something we had not done all season long. This bold strategy kept Saint Rose off balance for the entire first half and without Mariah, we won a buzzer beater (who had 26 points in our first meeting in a 78-75 road win at Saint Rose) against the Golden Knights, 65-63 (see buzzer beater), on senior day. This strategy coupled with expanding our bench, specifically with contributions from Abby Hurlbert, was really the difference in the outcome of the game

This philosophy held to one our team’ standards of “Flexibility”. I think it is very important to be flexible with your players in all aspects. I think our staff did a nice job of being flexible with players who were late arriving from class, allowing some to miss community service if they had a nursing test to study for, and listening to them as a whole regarding practice intensity/duration.

I hope this personally story helps some coaches have some confidence in being willing to change.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Communication Lessons for Coaches

Minda Zetlin recently published an article on Inc.com titled “5 Small Changes that Will Make You a Much Better Communicator” in which she outlined some tips for those looking to improve their communication skills.

Here is my interpretation of each key factor for coaches and how they can apply that to their program:

1. Identify (and make peace with) your own communications style: Coaches have to be themselves. Too many times I see coaches trying to emulate a favorite coach of theirs and/or taking something they learn at a clinic and trying to implement it THE EXACT SAME WAY as they presenter. This usually never works. Of course coaches should be learning new techniques and strategies, however, coaches must coach what they are comfortable with.

2. Learn to be a really good listener: Everyone knows a person who does not really listen to them but is just planning their next response to the conversation. DON’T BE THAT GUY! Really take pride in your listening, just as you would to your thoughts and responses. Without listening, there really is no communication. If coaches are a true listeners, players will see that and will be more apt to take the coaching  staff up on that “open door policy” that they preach.

3. Know what you want to achieve with every communication: Every communication is an opportunity for coaches to get to know their players better and build personal relationships. Coaches should approach this as such. EVERY EXCHANGE IS AN OPPORTUNITY A CHANCE TO IMPROVE.

4. Find a role model: Most coaches have a role model or someone they admire in the coaching ranks. Do you have a communicator who you admire? It doesn’t have to be a coach. Some coaches honestly are not very good communicators. Consider former professors/teachers, authors, etc. whose job it is to communicate. If not, maybe a friend or relative that makes others feel special and important is a good strategy.

5. Get personal: THE MORE COACHES SHOW THEIR HUMAN SIDE THE MORE ADMINISTRATORS AND PLAYERS WILL BE ABLE TO RELATE TO THEM. College football coaches, such as Nick Saban, have often been criticized for not enjoying the victories and are seen to be robotic for their “on to the next one approach.” Again, the more coaches that open up and are honest and vulnerable to those they communicate with, the more others will see the “off the court” side and can make them more likeable and easier to communicate with.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo