Tom Izzo

This week I continue to explore avenues where coaches can develop their careers. Here are four avenues in which coaches can grow interpersonally:

• Establish a Coaching Mentor – Being around a successful head coach, as well as experienced assistants, are extremely beneficial to coaches at all stages of their careers. Unfortunately, not all coaches are great mentors but a young coach can try to put himself in a situation where his boss is a great mentor. When seeking that first, and successive, assistant coaching jobs young coaches should look for a head coach who makes a commitment to developing his staff and not just his players. Tom Izzo is a great example of a coach who commits to developing his assistants. Several of Izzo’s former assistants are now head coaches.

• Clinics – You rarely have the opportunity to go to one place where many coaches will be available to talk about some aspect of your sport. If you have an opportunity to attend a clinic, I highly suggest it. One of my first clinics was a Nike Coaches’ Clinic in Pittsburgh. There were great coaches, mostly from the college level, and I learned a ton that helped influence me as a young coach. Many college programs, national and local coaches’ associations, and even some corporate organizations (like Nike) run coaching clinics.

• Coaches’ Roundtables – These are probably less common than other development strategies but can be worthwhile. It may be a good idea to invite some of your coaching friends from different levels of competition to just sit down and toss around different ideas. Invite coaches with a diverse coaching background. If you’re a basketball coach who plays all man-to-man defense, invite coaches who play mostly zone. If you’re a football coach who uses a pro-style offensive attack, invite coaches who run a spread formation.

• Books – An oldie, but goody. I prefer reading coaching books that are about coaching philosophy. Growing up in Indiana, I have some great, older Bob Knight stuff. There are some great Dean Smith books. And, of course, there is more great stuff from John Wooden than anyone. I like to not only read about successful coaches and coaching strategies in books, but other successful leaders. John Maxwell is my favorite leadership author. He is fantastic. He ties in a lot of stories from sports into his wide array of leadership books. Don’t hesitate to read about successful coaches in other sports, as well. I have learned more about motivation from Lou Holtz than I have anyone.

Question: How do you use other people or sources to develop your coaching skills?



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