Final Day of Clinics in Africa

Myke Scholl at clinic in Kenya.

Aug 16, 2013

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Editor's Note: LMU Men's Basketball Associate Head Coach Myke Scholl is spending a week in Africa as lead clinician at the Zuku University Basketball League's coaching clinic. This is the third update from Scholl during his coaching clinic trip. He spent more than eight years working in Africa before coming to LMU.

NAIROBI, Kenya -- It's the final day of the Zuku Z.U.B.L coaching clinic here in Nairobi, Kenya. I really enjoyed today's session. I facilitated a morning session on coaching Theory and Philosophy. The session covered a variety of topics and expectations that were identified by the coaches at the start of the clinic.

I began with Team Management, which included: Pre-season planning, Strength training, Conditioning, Team-building, Creative practice planning, Team rules, Program policies & procedures and other aspects relating to coach / administration relations. We also covered Game management, including bench management and substitutions, situational defense, changing defenses, in-game adjustments, use of timeouts and managing a lead. The hot topic for this section was substitutions and bench management.

We also dealt heavily with the philosophical side of coaching, as we extensively discussed coaching styles. It is important for coaches to adopt a coaching style that is conducive with their own personalities. If you are a fiery, excited, in your face kind of person, then that's probably your comfort zone as a coach. Likewise, if you are a calm, quiet and reserved person, then that style will fit you in coaching. It is extremely important to be yourself (who you are) as a coach, because if you are not sincere your players will feel like it is contrived or false.

I wanted them to understand that there is no right or wrong coaching style, but rather just different styles that can all be successful. I used the distinct difference between Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, as an example of two very different styles that were extremely successful. If you add Coach Greg Poppovich from the San Antonio Spurs, you have a third highly successful style. I pointed out to them that Coach Popp's style is a mix between Riley and Jackson. The fact is that we work in an ever changing field, where we are allowed to borrow and copy successful points from other coaches and apply them to our own teams. No one owns the patent on successful basketball coaching. Everything in basketball is owned collectively by the world basketball community, so we need to use examples that have been used before us to duplicate success for ourselves, as well as, creating our own new and fresh ideas.

We also had a very thought provoking discussion about utilizing the tools of motivation and discipline. Many people differ on these topics. We all want to have self-motivated players that hold themselves accountable, but the fact of the matter is that all players need to be motivated and challenged to push themselves to operate outside their comfort zones and progress. I believe that this is a crucial responsibility of the coach.

Every action, no matter now big or small, contains within it the "opportunity for greatness". It is our role as coaches to challenge our players to be exceptional, rather than ordinary in everything they do. It is not acceptable to operate in the realm of mediocrity at any time as an athlete. The best athletes make a commitment to excellence and strive to achieve that excellence in everything they do. We as coaches must help our players identify their "opportunity for greatness" in every action they attempt. That is our commitment to excellence as coaches, it is one of our greatest roles as coaches, to be able to get players to go where they cannot go themselves. That's Motivation!!!

The final part of the theory session involved a breakdown of what I call the "Principles of Sports and Life". These principles are taught between the lines of the basketball court, but they really apply indiscriminately to success in Sports and in Life. This is a very important part of why I coach basketball, because we have a game that helps develop tangible life characteristics that can help players succeed in sports, in other professional careers and in their family lives.

These characteristics include a great work ethic and a willingness to work for whatever you want in life, as well as, a solid sense of teamwork and an understanding of how to work with others to achieve a common goal. This team thinking allows space for the sacrifice necessary to accomplish things for the good of the team, the company or the family. Other things this game teaches are shared responsibility, accountability, mental & physical toughness, discipline, dedication, determination, perseverance, honesty, integrity, losing with pride, winning with dignity, resilience and the ability to turn the page or have a short memory. Basketball teaches these valuable tenets of sports and life. As a teacher, I take this responsibility to coach and teach very seriously, as I believe all coaches must do!

The other practical session of the clinic was comprised of all aspects of offensive execution. The practical session began with offensive skills development and a progression from individual to team concepts. We also covered fast break or transition offense, early offense, secondary breaks, out of bounds plays and half court offensive execution.

The clinic was great. My soul is in a wonderful place each time I am on the continent of Africa. I have various media obligations tomorrow morning with TV, radio and print media and then I look forward to seeing more of this amazing country. Then I am heading back to our beautiful campus on the bluff at LMU. GO LIONS





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