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One of the things I get most curious about is how coaches and players prepare in the NBA. It’s only natural for me to wonder, since it’s the highest level of basketball there is (I got a quick glimpse during my one-time visit to a Blazers practice). After reading The Long, Hot Winter by Rick Adelman, I was able to get a peak inside an NBA season.
The Long, Hot Winter follows the Portland Trailblazers during the 1990-91 season. It is basically a game-by-game journal from then head coach Rick Adelman. I loved Adelman’s insight on coaching and preparing.
He understands that different plays need different restrictions. For example, he mentioned that he let Clyde Drexler have more freedom than any other player because of his unmatched athletic ability.
The type of offensive system he puts in allows for creativity and lets players figure out their roles. Although he does admit that having talented teams allows this style to be more effective than it might be for most teams. He includes that you have to play the way your personal dictates you can play.
Possibly one of the greatest lessons I learned from Adelman was this: “Coaches always look at the negatives. They always look at what player can’t do. I resolved never to do that.” Focus on a player's strengths when evaluating him. Help him understand his necessary improvements when you are coaching him.
One last passage that caught my attention:
“One must never look at other people and be closed-minded to their ideas. You may not think they know as much as you do, but that doesn’t mean what they say isn’t valid. Once you think you know it all, you close yourself off to good ideas, but what’s worse is that when people realize you’re not listening to them, they’ll stop listening to you. Then you might as well know nothing at all. That’s when the communication dies.”