How to Use Timeouts Effectively
How many of you have watched a varsity basketball game whereas one team was on a run, let's say it was a 10-0 run within just a short period of time. Effectively, let's say the score was 10-6 in the first quarter, and the other team goes on that 10-0 run, the score is now 10-16.
I'm sure we all know what is going to happen now... the coach is going to call a timeout and chew the players a new backside. I'm sure we have all saw this happen at some point in your lifetime either as a player, parent or spectator. This has probably happened enough times in your life that you're desensitized to watching young men and young women get yelled at by an adult. While I totally get that some people are comfortable with this, but we do have to realize that there is a better way.
This timeout usually includes the coach using the full 60 seconds to tell the players exactly what they already know. "You let #22 go straight to the basket", "You aren't protecting the rim", "You're taking bad shots", "You are playing soft underneath" and the list goes on. See, the fact is that the players already know this stuff. They need guidance, support and encouragement that they can do this with a sounds strategy. We have to realize these are young men and young women that are still learning how to leverage and trust in teammates to achieve a team goal.
SPORTS TEACHING LIFE LESSONS
Often time we as coaches like to associate sports with teaching life lessons. I'll be honest, if at any point in my life someone were to yell in my face whether it is at work or home, I would be getting physical with that individual. Nowhere in your adult life are you allowing a grown adult to yell or scream your mistakes in your face.
Before you say, "Coach, I know you were guilty of yelling in your timeouts." Yes, in my varsity coaching days from 2008 to 2016, I was definitely coaching with passion and following the lead from my former coaches. This was to utilize scare tactics, yell, push and bend until I found a breaking point. Needless to say, those players to this day, say they didn't respect me, they feared having to run more than anything. It wasn't the coaching that was effective it was the fear of running the entire practice for mistakes.
As of 2016, I took a break from coaching to really find myself because what I was doing wasn't working. I coached at the younger levels, K-8 and placed an emphasis on having fun, setting small goals, encouraging and empowering these young aspiring athletes to do something they continually said they couldn't do. In your adult life, this is exactly what you would want out of supervisor, someone to sit by you side-by-side and walk you through the process without micromanagement. When you achieve a small goal, you should be celebrated until you continue your goal achievement. This is how positive coaching works, and it expands into your adult life - so why don't more coaches operate like this?
Yes, competitive sports are great for teaching life lessons. You learn how to work as a team, and come to the realization that buying into a team concept is usually how you achieve your team goals. Individuality has its time and place. You learn how to be coachable and take instruction. You learn how to effectively communicate, and that's usually using clear and concise information relay. You learn about commitment, working on your craft and honing your skill set, you learn about playing roles, and all of the wonderful things you'll be expected to do as an adult in modern society. Whether I'm managing a project for a company or youth sports team, I always start out the process with asking about everyone's goals. Let me help you achieve your goals, and how you get out of this experience something that will benefit you personally.
PURPOSE OF A TIMEOUT
So, let's start out with the reason coaches call timeouts. There are a multitude of reasons, but let's cover a couple of them to really drive the point home as to how to use timeouts effectively.
HOW TO USE TIMEOUTS EFFECTIVELY
As a coach and business consultant, I tend to live life with the same principles. My strategy is to have my teams and organizations operate by 3s. 3 goals. 3 steps. 3 rules. 3 guiding principles. 3 anything. The European Journal of Social Psychology indicates that humans have the capacity to remember 1 things 100% of the time, 2 things 90% of the time, and 3 things 75% of the time. When you get to 4 and 5, you're dropping to near 30% of retention, and you run into diminishing returns.
So, all of my team goals are based on Rules of 3. In timeouts, I like to focus on 3 core items:
Coaching young adults is a wonderful position to be in, and you have the ability to mold them into great teammates, great students, and great athletes. Positive Coaching can be just as powerful and in most cases more powerful than yelling or screaming.
Basketball is a game and is meant to be fun, as parents, coaches and spectators we are there to watch an entertaining game not see a coach on a power trip screaming at children. Effective communication starts at the top, and can easily filter down to the rest of the team or organization. You can get your point across just as effectively as an eye-to-eye conversation. In business, I say "Eye Level is Buy Level", it's a great reminder that if I'm going to try and get a new client, I'm not telling in their face all of their mistakes and telling them to make changes. I'm working side-by-side to help them address their challenges, and offer solutions to become more effective. This is a great approach in coaching.
Rising Stars Basketball