True But Useless

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear Dena Evans from Point Guard College speak at a clinic on developing S.C.H.A.P.E. leaders (unsolicited plug this is a dynamite program). Dena shared during her talk the importance of leaders offering reminders to those on there team. I am not going to try and replicate her talk but a line resonated with me related to my coaching;  “Reminders are only useful before they are needed – afterwards it’s complaining”

This statement got me to thinking about how much of what we say as coaches  could fall under a category I call ‘true but useless’; meaning the statement may be true but it provides no immediate benefit or help to the recipient.

Below is a sampling of some common things that I hear, and have yelled myself, to players during a game.  Upon reflection I wonder if there is any benefit to players in hearing  these things or are they simply ‘true but useless’ statements to my players.  You decide is there anything about the statements below that provide timely, actionable information to players that will help them take the next best action in a game. You see the players already realize they made a mistake so if what you are yelling is merely pointing out to them something they already know it probably is ‘true but useless’ and serves as a distraction rather than an aide to keep players focused on making the next best action.

“Don’t turn it over”

“Take care of the ball”

“Don’t go there”

“Throw a good pass”

“Rebound” –  Usually screamed after the other team has gotten an offensive rebound

The examples above serve as a reminder to me to constantly evaluate what it is I am communicating to players. Is it helpful? Is it the right time? Does it improve the players chance to take the next best action?  If the answer to those questions is no than that piece of coaching is probably ‘true but useless’.

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