There are so many ways of coaching, not only on the court but off the court as well.
On the court, some teams play zone and some teams play man. Some teams play fast, some teams play slow. Some play Princeton, others play motion offense. We choose to do it a certain way and it works. Others do it a different way and it works for them too.
Off the court, there are many ways to do the job as well. Some coaches are close to the vest, some are not. There have been many programs throughout the history of college basketball that were closed jobs. Those coaches did not share one thing with anyone outside their family, and that was fine – they had a ton of success.
There are also others who are not afraid to share. John Wooden loved to share. So did Larry Brown and Pete Newell. George Raveling shared when he was a coach, and even more so now as Nike’s global director of basketball. Look at what the San Antonio Spurs did this year. That entire organization is an open playbook.
All those people and organizations know, the more you share the more that is shared with you and the more that is learned. When you withhold, you’re never going to learn from anybody else. When you share, that’s when people open up and share information that makes you grow.
The question coaches and fans must now answer is, to what level do you want to share what’s going on in your program.
I’m of the belief that keeping our fans informed is really important. The issue with that is, as you keep your fans informed, you’re keeping your competitors informed. They read everything I put out.
When I sent a summer letter, some said, “Why would you let everyone see how you keep your players informed and motivated?” I believe that if it helps another coach help a young person, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m trying to let our fans know how I motivate our young people. As people try to define you, it’s harder to misrepresent you when you share.
Sometimes people who don’t share think they have this whole thing figured out. It’s kind of like being a golfer. You’re striping your driver down the fairway and you think you’ve got this whole thing figured out. And then all of a sudden you hook one. You go, “Uh oh!” Not only do you say uh oh, so does everybody else that’s watching you hook it into the trees.
Truth be told, the better our players are the better I seem to coach. My job is to motivate and guide young people to want to share and to want to sacrifice for each other. If I do that every year, the level of talent we have versus the level of talent other teams have will usually dictate where we finish.
From the summer letter I sent out for everybody to read, to my scheduling philosophy I gave to everyone to see, to our recruiting moves and what I say in homes that everyone has read and heard, it will, in all likelihood, have little or no impact on our season. What it may do is it may help another coach help another young player, it may help a business person help an employee or it may help a parent guide their son or daughter.
At the end of the day it comes down to this: You can share and be open, or you can withhold and be mysterious. The mysterious man who wins is eccentric. The mysterious man who loses is inept.
NBA teams will not share when it comes to the draft. College programs, including ours, will not share when it comes to recruiting. But in my opinion, everything else is fair game. I will continue sharing with you and with whoever is listening.