Asking Profound Questions in Order to Create a Competitive Edge

Years and decades change, but we as coaches keep asking the the same familiar questions.

To a degree, that’s necessary. Which drills should we run in the next practice? For how long should we practice on the day before our next game? Who should take up spot #4 in the starting five?

And so.

But for as long as the questions remain the same, the range of answers remains more or less the same, too. That’s why asking novel, profound questions is a way to develop coaching.

There’s inherent risk. Since the questions are both novel and profound, it may turn out that they can’t be answered. Or that the answers are not useful.

Yet with novel, profound questions may also come opportunities to create competitive edges. Since we’re asking novel questions, we’re also getting novel answers. Eventually, we may able to utilise profound aspects that have previously been neglected in coaching. Or at least, that have been answered in a less profound way or in a different context.

The following four ones are my suggestions for what a novel, profound question could be like.

1) Why are there no high-volume shooters with their 3P% in the 60’s?

Or even in the 50’s? Why do great shooters miss almost as often as poor shooters do? The difference between a great and poor shooter may be just 10 percentage points or one make in ten shots. What factors limit the 3P%? How can we circumvent them?

2) How can we allow the players to use the full scope of their defensive skills?

Team defenses tend to be strictly concept-oriented, more so than team offenses. In other words, defenders must be at certain spots and must do certain things no matter who they are. How can better utilise the players’ full potential on defense, too?

3) What does the idea of continuity of mental evolution imply regarding basketball coaching?

The underlying assumptions of modern-day coaching comply with those of modern-day neuroscience. But what if its brain-centered view of cognition is invalid? What if, instead, cognition lies within all our cells and their interaction?

4) What should the training facilities be like?

The organisations that have the money to do so, build posh, grand training facilities. Yet a lot of great basketball players have trained in quite modest facilities. Is this because most basketball facilities in the world are quite modest? Or because good training facilities are a different thing from posh, grand facilities? If so, what are good training facilities like? How do we know?

5) How can the players improve their tactical and technical skills without adding to their fatigue?

Tactical and technical skills are most effectively improved when practice tasks are basketball-representative. However, those game-like tasks tend to fatigue players. This limits the time they can be used. How can we circumvent this contradiction?

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