Talking and listening effectively

Recently when asked why Duke so often has great teams, Coach K replied “Because we communicate as a team better than pretty much everyone else. We work on communication as a skill.”

My parents were a little more blunt:  “You have 2 ears and only 1 mouth for a reason.”   The idea is simple–a critical part of communication are your LISTENING SKILLS.  Of course we must use our words effectively, at the right time, in the right tone.  This is a critical skill especially for COACHES.  We were taught that HOW and WHEN we say something is often as important as WHAT we say.   Discretion is a key skill for the best coaches, understanding the nuances of human behavior and interaction.

Basics believes that among the many traits leaders exhibit and with which leaders are defined is their ability to effectively and honestly communicate.

  • Beginning players—make eye contact, stand still, the importance of LISTENING, reduce or eliminate fidgety behavior, understand the importance of body language, THINK before your SPEAK-These are all OFF THE COURT skills as well. 
  • Intermediate players–Call out screens/switches, Call out “help” when off the ball, communicate on substitutions/matchups, Positive support of team mates, play through bad or non-calls by the officials, an ever increasing understanding BODY LANGUAGE
  • Advanced players–Constant on-court chatter, voice pressure, respectful communication with officials, competitive body language–NEVER bending over, sprint on and off the court, no “palms up” replies to poor calls, seeing match up advantages and communicating with the coach and team mates, engagement even when NOT playing, support for the team on the bench and in the game, always being prepared in practice, patient, hard working, respectful–these are all discreet and important forms of communication


Basics does NOT SUBSCRIBE to the current model of travel, competition and CONSTANT play as youngsters develop in any sport.  We know that emphasizing skills and school and appropriate adult modeling for these kids MUST COME FIRST.  If you are interested in learning the Basics methodology for your program, your school district or your child, you are encouraged to explore the web site, the Pyramid of Skill, or to CALL or EMAIL with any questions.  616 402-1600   Thank you