Underrated Coaching Skills

Welcome to the 41st edition of the Coach’s Corner Round Table on the Hoop Heads Podcast. Each episode of the Coach’s Corner Round Table will feature our All-Star lineup of guests answering a single basketball question.  A new Coach’s Corner Round Table will drop around the 15th of each month.

May’s Round Table question is:  What is the most underrated skill in coaching?

Our Coaching Lineup this month:

Please enjoy this Round Table episode of the Hoop Heads Podcast and once you’re finished listening please give the show a five star rating and review after you subscribe on your favorite podcast app..

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The Coacing Portfolio

Your first impression is everything when applying for a new coaching job.  A professional coaching portfolio is the tool that highlights your coaching achievements and philosophies and, most of all, helps separate you and your abilities from the other applicants.

The key to landing a new coaching job is to demonstrate to the hiring committee your attention to detail, level of preparedness, and your professionalism.  Not only does a coaching portfolio allow you to exhibit these qualities, it also allows you to present your personal philosophies on coaching, leadership, and program development in an organized manner.

The Coaching Portfolio Guide is an instructional, membership-based website that helps you develop a personalized portfolio.  Each section of the portfolio guide provides detailed instructions on how to organize your portfolio in a professional manner.  The guide also provides sample documents for each section of your portfolio that you can copy, modify, and add to your personal portfolio.


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[00:00:00] Narrator: The Hoop Heads Podcast is brought to you by Head Start Basketball.

[00:00:21] Mike Klinzing: Hello, and welcome to the 41st edition of the Coach’s Corner Round Table on the Hoop Heads Podcast. Each episode of the Coach’s Corner Round Table, will feature our all-star lineup of guests answering a single basketball question, a new Coach’s Corner Round Table will drop around the 15th of each month

May’s Round Table question is, “What is the most underrated skill in coaching?”

Our coaching lineup this month includes

·  Erik Buehler – Chatfield (CO) High School

·  Jeff Depelteau – The Berkshire (MA) School

·  Tim Jackson – Author of “Understanding College Athletics Through the Eyes of College Athletes”

·  Peter Lonergan – Basketball Australia

·  David McGreal – Penn State Altoona

·  Matthew Raidbard – Author of Lead Like a Pro

·  Mark Schult – Centre College

·  Don Showalter – USA Basketball

·  John Shulman – University of Alabama-Huntsville

·  Joe Stasyszyn – Unleashed Potential

Please enjoy this Round Table episode of the Hoop Heads Podcast and once you’re finished listening please give the show a five star rating and review after you subscribe on your favorite podcast app.

If you’re a basketball coach at any level, please check out our Hoop Heads coaching mentorship program.  You’ll get matched with one of our experienced head coaches and develop a relationship that will take your coaching, your team, your program, and your mindset to another level.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @hoopheadspod for the latest updates on episodes, guests and events from the Hoop Heads Pod.

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[00:02:40] Danny Young: Hi, this is Danny Young. The head boys’ coach at Shaker Heights high school, and you’re listening to Hoop Heads Podcast.

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Just use the code HHP15 at checkout to grab your discount and you’ll be [00:03:00] on your way to more efficient game prep and improved communication with your team. Fast Model also has new coaching content every week on their blog, plus play and drill diagrams in its play bank. Check out the links in the show notes for more. Fast Model Sports is the best in basketball.

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Let’s hear from our panel about the most underrated skill in coaching.

[00:05:11] Mike Klinzing: Erik Buehler, Chatfield Senior High School, Littleton, Colorado.

[00:05:17] Erik Buehler: What’s going on Hoop Heads? This is Eric Buehler Chatfield Senior High. And this week we were asked what’s the most underrated skill that a coach can have. And it’s probably, mine is probably a cliche one, but I would say the most underrated skill is being teacher.

And that’s because I didn’t realize that until I became a teacher. And I learned some of those skills that you need to have to make connections with just about anyone and everyone and meet them on a human level. And then it’s pretty amazing what can happen in terms of developing your players as a coach.

There’s lots of other things you can be good at. You can be great at offense. You can be great at defense. You can be great at Xs knows. But like if you can’t teach the game and you can’t meet. Those players on that human level and break it down into bite sized pieces for them to absorb and consume.

Then I think it’s hard to be a good coach. That’s what I got this month. Thanks for having me again guys. And we’ll talk to you again soon.

[00:06:27] Mike Klinzing: Jeff Depelteau, the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

[00:06:34] Jeff Depelteau: What’s up Hoop Heads this is Jeff Depelteau, from the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

This month’s topic is what is the most underrated skill in coaching? I would say communication and connection with players is a skill that doesn’t get talked about enough. There’s so many young coaches get into it and they know the Xs knows and they know the skills, but really being able to connect with players and their families and understanding what their goals are.

Working out to find ways to make those goals connect with your team goals. Those are the teams that I think have the most success. And those are the coaches that have the most success, or I know the most successful teams that I’ve been a part of our teams where I’ve been so connected with my players.

And they’ve been so connected and understood that all of our goals work together from, you know, one through 15 on a roster, we were all kind of working and communicating and, and on the same page, hope everybody’s well,

[00:07:33] Mike Klinzing: Tim Jackson, author of Understanding College Athletics Through the Eyes of College Athletes.

[00:07:41] Tim Jackson: The most underrated skill in coaching by far is communication. Communication. As a coach is underrated primarily because a poorly communicated. Idea concept skill. Doesn’t allow athletes to grow, to succeed or even understand what is expected as a player.

Coaches aren’t communicating properly. We don’t know exactly what is wanted. So the skill of communication by far is probably the most underrated skill that a coach has. It is the most important and also the most underrated.

[00:08:32] Mike Klinzing: Peter Lonergan, Director of High Performance Coach Development for Basketball Australia.

[00:08:40] PeterLonergan: Hoop Heads, it’s Peter Lonergan here from Basketball Australia. What is the most underrated skill in coaching? I think it’s providing worthwhile and succinct feedback to players. We do a lot of what I call global coaching where, you know, we’re very broad and we’re not specific.

I think the modern player really wants to know. What impacts them and how they can improve certain areas. So working on those skills to provide really succinct, valuable, and specific feedback is an underwrited skill, the best coaches of all time, do it really well. And it’s something that needs to be practiced on an ongoing basis.

[00:09:22] Mike Klinzing: David McGreal from Penn State Altoona.

[00:09:29] David McGreal: This is Head Coach David McGreal, Penn State Altoona. The most underrated skill in coaching. Again, don’t know exactly the exact word for it, but I would just say being a psychologist is one of the things as a coach at every level that you kind of have to have a little bit of experience with meaning, meaning that every athlete today is just a different personality.

Everybody’s motivated differently. You know back in, back in the old days, quote unquote you know, the old fire and brimstone coach you know, just be an athlete would just follow along, do what they’re told you know, in, in kind of, you know, whether right or wrong you know, those type of styles were common and, and, and usually.

Adequate and successful today, I believe you have to be more understanding. And again, like I said, use some psychological tools to know how the different athletes are motivated because not everybody’s motivated the same way though, the player that you can yell at and, and, and really get into.

And then he’ll get out out there on the floor. You can’t might not be able to do that to, to play or beat you know, you yell or get after them then. You know, retreat, they may you know, shell up. So to say, so again, just being a psychologist, just understanding how each players motivated you know, their, their, their buttons.

So to say, and how to push them in the right way is a very underrated skill. You could be a great coach I’ve X’s and O’s and all that, unless your players want to play for you. And unless you could figure out a way to motivate each one of them individually for the betterment of. You know, you’re going to be in trouble.

So again that would be my underrated skill for lack of a better word was also trying to be a, a psychologist as well as the basketball coach.

[00:11:25] Mike Klinzing: Your first impression is everything. When applying for a new coaching job, a professional coaching portfolio is the tool that highlights your coaching achievements and philosophies. And most of all, it helps separate you and your abilities from the other applicants. The Coaching Portfolio Guide is an instructional, membership based website that helps you develop a personalized portfolio.

Each section of a portfolio guide provides detailed instructions on how to organize your portfolio in a professional manner. The guide also provides sample documents for each section of your portfolio that you can modify and add your personal portfolio. As a Hoop Heads Pod listener you can get your Coaching Portfolio Guide for just $25.

Visit  to learn more.

[00:12:16] Narrator: Matthew

[00:12:16] Mike Klinzing: Matthew Raidbard, Author of Lead like a Pro.

[00:12:23] Matthew Raidbard: Hey Hoop Heads Nation. This is Coach Matt Raidbard, excited to be here on another Hoop Heads round table talking about what skill I believe is the most underrated for coaches. This is a question I did not have to think very long about. I absolutely believe that it’s patients as well. That’s definitely a skill.

When I look back on my coaching career, my years in college coaching that I wish I had more patients and that I displayed more patients. And I really emphasize the importance of patients to my athletes. I think there’s two ways that patients is extremely important for coaches as a skill. One is having patients for the.

Growth and development of your athletes and team, you know, as coaches, we often have a timetable for the development and the progression of individual players, their skills, our team coming together, and that isn’t always possible. It, isn’t also always realistic. Once we get into the season, I think having that patience, allowing our athletes the room to grow and develop a team as well on that, on their own timeline, knowing that and recognizing any acknowledging.

That our athletes and team might be doing all the right things, working as hard as they can. And they may not be progressing on that timeline we had hoped for and having the patience to still see it through remain optimistic, continue to encourage them be enthusiastic for their, their development and successes.

And then the, the other way that I think patients is so important. Coaches, just having patience for the process. You know, the plays that we implement you know, the, the different things we do in scouting, the different defenses, we try developing that positive team culture, you know, all those things take time and, you know, for coaches, it can often, we can often bounce from one thing to be.

And not have enough patients because something isn’t working as quickly as we had hoped it wasn’t that quick fix that we feel the pressure and the stress that we feel like we need. But having patients believing in something continuing to tweak it, adjust it, work through knowing that ultimately if we’re far better at this defense or this skill or this other aspect of the game, From the start of the season to the end, that improvement is ultimately what matters.

And it’s about improving every day, having the patience to see it through, know that it’s going to be gradual, but to be that best team at the end of the season is ultimately our goal. But I think it’s what patients is, what helps coaches get there. And often the scale that we laughed. So thanks so much Hoop Heads Nation, glad to be a part of this month’s round table.

[00:14:57] Mike Klinzing: Mark Schult, Centre College.

[00:15:02] Mark Schult: Hey Hoop Heads! Thanks for having me on the show this month.  This month’s round table question. What is the most underrated skill in coaching? It’s a hard to call it underrated because I think it’s starting to get some traction, but I really believe having an understanding and the ability. To create content for social media is super, super important skill these days.

Number one, you’re able to help grow your program, you know, promote your players and their accomplishments, whether it’s basketball related or not. It’s, it’s really important to celebrate those things and help to grow your programs brand, and hopefully that can help garner some community support.

Then number two, though, the really important part. You know, Twitter and Instagram and even, even Tik TOK now. And that’s, that’s where recruits are. You know, if you’re a college program, it’s important that you put your team’s brand in front of these kids’ eyes, as much as you can, you know, and give them a chance to know who you are and know what your program’s about.

And you know, that that can really be, be helpful in the recruiting process. And the good thing with today is. If you don’t know how to make graphics or make content, you can go on YouTube and find tutorials for just about everything. You know? So it’s a, it’s definitely a skill. It’s a skill that takes time.

But if you can learn to really master social media and help grow your team and grow your team’s brand, those are really good skills to have today for young coaches,

[00:16:29] Mike Klinzing: Don Showalter, USA basketball.

[00:16:35] Don Showalter: Hi, Don Showalter here from USA Basketball. The question for the month is, What is the most underrated skill in coaching. And as part of my job now with USA basketball, I get to go out and watch may main players across the country. During their high school season and also during their clubs season to valuing them by the same token, I get to watch a lot of coaches and I go to a lot of college practices as well as well as high school practices and games.

And I get a chance to kind of evaluate coaches actually. And a couple of things I would say would be the most underrated skills. Is number one is I, I think, I think communication is really still the most underrated skill in coaching. I think coaches they’re, they’re great communicators with the people they want to communicate with.

I think we coaches need to be great communicators with everybody, whether it be parents, administrators players we just gotta be more be able to be a better communicator because that builds relationships, then that builds trust. The other thing I think is probably one of the most underrated skill in coaching in my opinion, is the ability to kind of figure out how.

You want to teach something? We all know what we want to teach, but then how to teach that sometimes I think is, is lost when you, when giving that to the players it’s really not what you teach is how you teach it. And so if you’re organized and you have a plan together of how you’re going to actually teach maybe your offense or defense or press or.

Whatever. I think that really is something that coaches need to, in my opinion, a coach has really need to work on a lot in, in how to teach it, be organized with your thoughts. I think coach has over too much. I think you know, they try to explain everything and show the players how much they know.

Which really is not really players don’t care how much we know as coaches. They just want to get in, get in and be able to play and get to reps in

[00:18:43] Mike Klinzing: John Shulman, University of Alabama, Huntsville and the 720 sports group.

[00:18:50] John Shulman: This is John Shulman, Head Basketball Coach at University of Alabama in Huntsville.

What’s the most underrated skill in coaching? I thought about it?  You know, I think people can teach the game and teach great offense, and some people are better at teaching offense than others. And some people are better at teaching D than others. I think time management is important. I think that’s hard as a head coach.

But I think the most underrated. Skill and coaching is having a feel, having awareness, having a feel when a kid needs you having a feel when it’s time to play wiffle ball, instead of barreling them into the ground. Because we’ve lost three games in a row having a feel when we’re four and six in the league this past year.

And instead of killing them, we go to apology and eat pizza and go to watch American underdog and watch a movie. And I’m not saying I have great field, but just having a field to when they need to be thumped a little bit. And when you need, when having a field, when you need to back off a little bit, same thing with a player.

And I have failed many, many, many times, but I think that’s the. I that separates the good coaches from the great coaches is having feel on how to coach people, you know, it goes back to, are we coaching basketball? Are we coaching people that are actually playing basketball? So what are we doing? Are we coaching people?

Are we coaching the game? I’m trying my best at age 55 to coach people. And I think that’s what we need to be coaching. And that’s the most important. His coach and people. So having a great feel on people and, and when a kid is struggling, I’ve got three boys. If you really want to learn how to coach have some children and let your kids be coached by other people, and you’ll have a better feel on how to coach other people’s kids.

Because those, all those kids that you have have parents and grandparents and brothers and sisters, and they all want to be. And they all have feelings. So to me separates the good from the great is having feel. And I know everybody can, you know, everybody can X and O out there, but can you, can you ex know with, with a kid’s brain, you know, and we all, they all say it, you know, no one cares how much, you know, until they know how much.

So I, I think that still holds true. And I think that’s where everybody is weakest. And listen, Bobby Cremins was not a great X and O guy, but he won over 600 games and he’d been in the hall of fame because he had great feel for people. Eh, he was one of the best and I learned an awful lot. It ain’t about all that stuff.

So that’s my thoughts. Hopefully this helps and You know, how do you work on feel with people? You know, I would say, I would say the best way to do it is get some old players in there, sit down and make them tell you the truth about your goods and your bags. And once you got to get better at, so hopefully this helps appreciate it.

Have a great spring as we head towards the summer and make sure it’s a constructive spring and summer, and you’re getting better somehow some way.

[00:22:32] Mike Klinzing: Joe Stasyszyn, Unleashed Potential, Carlisle, Pennsylvania

[00:22:39] Joe Stasyszyn: Joe Stasyszyn, Unleashed Potential, Carlisle, Pennsylvania

This month’s question is, What is the most underrated skill in coaching?

I would say for me, the most underrated skill that I see all my travels across the country and around the world is communicating. Communication is something that is talked a lot about, but specifically it’s probably not taught well enough. Everybody, every coach you talk to will tell you, we want our teams to communicate better, or we want to communicate better with our teams.

And I think it goes from the coaching. Back to the players, communicating with each other. I think there’s a couple of things there that, that need to be taught better in coaching in terms of communication. First of all, I would say this, you know, and I got this from following, you know, being involved with coach K and duke for over 25 years.

Working as camp being around their practices, being around their workouts, being around their coaching staff and players, a coach used to always say that if, if you’re not communicating with your teammates, you’re being selfish. I really liked that. I like to lead with that because I really believe that is true.

If you’re not communicating through teammates and all you’re doing is caring about yourself. And along with that, one of the things I know they always did a great, great job with is not only telling kids or players how to communicate, but also showing them what that looks like. ’cause, I’ll be honest, most kids today.

And especially, maybe with the pandemic are communicating less. You almost have to teach kids what to say and what circumstances and what situations. Okay. So just telling kids to talk more, isn’t going to do it. It’s a skill that has to be taught, just like ball handling, passing, and shooting. It’s just really, really important to tell kids, okay, this is how you communicate with.

Another, this is what you say in this situation. And the other thing that needs to be taught is to teach them to talk in specifics. Okay. And not just talk to each other in general terms. So to teach them what to specifically say in certain situations, whether it’s on defense or on, on offense whatever the situation may be, teaching them a specific thing to say and how to say it to a teammate.

So it’s not so much what you say sometimes. And I know working with players all the time and tell them it’s how you say it. Okay. For condescending. If you’re putting a teammate down, by the way, you’re communicating there’s ways to do, to get your message across better by being positive, rather than negative.

So they’re all skills that are really, really under-taught in my opinion in basketball today, whether it’s on an individual basis or whether it’s on a team basis. And as far as the coaching end of it goes, I think that’s another skill that coaches have to learn. In terms of communicating with their players, players will tune you out.

If you’re going into a long, long explanations and descriptions and things like that, you have to teach and coach and soundbites. So as a coach, you need to guess another area of communication. That’s under Todd. His coaches have to learn how to talk and teach in sound bites because with today’s players, you will lose.

Very quickly. If you’re standing there just going on and on and on, they will eventually tone you out very quickly. So that’s on the coaching end too. So, and one more thing. And I got this from all of our work, with my work with USA basketball and as something that a lot of coaches are now starting to do everywhere I go.

I talk, we talk about, this is something called communication circles. So after a practice, and I know I’ve worked with a lot of different teams and coaches that are now starting to do this, our communication circles is after a practice, getting the whole team together and locking arms or putting our arms around each other in a circle.

And we’re going one by one around a circle, either, you know, talking about a specific thing regarding basketball, what they did well today. Maybe something they could do better and just go around a circle and, or maybe, you know, saying that individually about themselves, or maybe saying to the person next to them, what that person did well to.

Okay. And, and, and, and then also it doesn’t always have to be about basketball, just getting kids to talk more to each other, developing those relationships. It could be just anything, any general question, like what their favorite subject is in school or something about, you know, you didn’t know about their fan.

Tell us something we don’t know about you or your family. So they’re just all ways to really spread great communication. Among your team and among your program and, and also you know, teaching players to trust one another and having great relationships is another benefit of great communication, the better, the communication, the better relationships.

And the more honest you can be with each other, if you’re not communicating and having a great relationship as a player or as a coach, It’s hard to be truthful with one another. They all accept the truth a lot better if we have great communication. So, I mean, there’s, there’s so many different aspects of communication that can be taught and that needs to be taught.

And like I said, just going around the country around the world, I think this is a big, big thing that is very much under-taught today. And it’s something that it’s. I mean, literally learning what to say and when to say it to one another is a skill. And again, you know, in, in doing player development, coaching, and I do today with teams and individuals, it seems like we’ve even taken another step backwards because of.

Of the, of the pandemic situation and kids not being able to communicate as much they’re in front of a screen doing zoom lessons or, you know, not even being able to play basketball for a while and not being able to have develop that communication and those relationships. So I think it’s even more needed today as a coach.

I think that should be one of your top priorities. One of the top things that you need to start teaching your players is communication. Thank you very much.

[00:28:32] Mike Klinzing: Mike Klinzing: Thanks for checking out this month’s Hoop Heads Podcast Round Table. We’ll be back next month with another question for our all-star lineup of coaches.

[00:28:44] Narrator: Thanks for listening to the Hoop Heads Podcast presented by Head Start Basketball.