Coaching Superpowers: Drill Creation
Level up in the coaching profession by adding these superpowers
Note: This is a the first in a series on the “superpowers” coaches can add to level up in the coaching profession.
In the video game world, an adept player earns “superpowers” that help them advance to higher levels in the game. Perhaps, through skillful play and experience, the character in the game earns x-ray vision or some form of advanced weaponry. Those would be the superpowers that give the character an advantage over their foes and help them reach deeper levels of the game. Play the game well and the character earns enough superpowers to be near invincible.
In the coaching world there are superpowers - earned skills that a coach needs to become a master level player in the coaching game. This series will be about those superpowers. The key word here is earned, and earning involves making mistakes, correcting and learning until the superpowers become yours.
I create a lot of playbooks. I receive emails from coaches who purchased one of the playbooks asking if I have any companion drills for the concepts featured in the playbook they purchased. No, I do not. I’m giving you an opportunity to earn our first coaching superpower - drill creation! I don’t want to give you the recipe; I want to teach you to cook!
Granted, the emailer may already have this superpower but is just hoping that I have some drills and those will save them the time and effort of creating their own. However, from the thousands of hours I have spent in conversations with coaches since the inception of Radius Athletics, I’ve learned that many coaches struggle with drill creation. Those that have a knack for it (or have learned the skill) have a coaching superpower that gives them an edge.
Deconstructing an offense or concept and turning the small parts of it into drills is vital to practice planning and ultimately in-game execution. “Strip it for parts” then use those parts as drills.
In our mentoring program for coaches, we ask every coach to clearly define the style of play they want their programs to be known for. Then we ask they delete every drill or practice activity that does not speak to what they defined in the first step. What is left are drills that help them bring their vision to life.
Often they find they don’t have adequate tools left after this deletion process. Time to earn that superpower! Find some drills that will help you with whatever it is you want to do with your program if you can, but what if you cannot? Create the tools you need!
Imagine you are stranded on a deserted island and some diagrams of an offense wash ashore. You have no YouTube, no Google and no one to ask. Could you design the drills you need to make it work?
This superpower can be learned (earned). Here are some tips:
Watch how other coaches who have earned this superpower do this and emulate
Start with a drill you know and load it - add a player, convert it to a full court drill. Exercise the drill-creation muscles we all have
Loop in assistant coaches and players, they may devise some great drills! Create together and critique the work
Restrict the searching. With all the time you spend searching for drills, you could have just done it yourself!
Example: 21 Series 3v3
You learn by doing, putting your ideas in the marketplace (your practices in this case) and getting feedback. Like any creative endeavor, all your drill creations won’t be great. Some of the drills you devise will be duds. Some will be just what you need and lead to the type of learning you are hoping for. Pay attention to what worked and what did not and in no time you’ll have the drill creation superpower!
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