Each coach must develop his or her own philosophy, or philosophy, in the course of teaching. When you are interviewing for a coaching position, you will often be asked, "What is your coaching philosophy?" This article discusses some ideas related to this topic.
It's very important that whatever your style of coaching, be yourself. I mean this especially in your temperament. If you are out-going, be out-going. If you are quiet, be quiet. If you are a screamer, scream (within reason). Don't try to be like some famous coach that you idolize. Certainly, there may be many excellent ideas and qualities that you can and should learn from successful coaches like Coach Wooden and others, but incorporate them into your own philosophy.
Whatever your style, be agreeable and, without compromising your principles, be someone that is easy to work with. As a coach, you have to interact and deal with a lot of people... players, administration, faculty, parents, assistants, opposing coaches and players, officials, fans, etc. We all like working with someone who is agreeable and easy to work with, and someone who follows the rules and is respectful of others.
Your teaching style
Coaching basketball is teaching... teaching not only fundamentals, how to play the game, and team skills, etc., but also life skills. Be well-prepared for practices and games. Encourage players. Be positive. Whatever your style, have a passion for the game. If you are enthusiastic and upbeat, this will spill over to your players and everyone around you. Value all the players on the team. Make the 15th player on the squad feel as important the your star player. This is all very important in developing your team spirit and chemistry.
You are the leader and must be organized. A disorganized coach imparts this disorganization and a sub-standard approach to the entire program. If you are not organized, others (including players) will not take you and your program seriously. Everything must be organized... your practices, game routines, schedules, year-end banquet, team camps... essentially your entire program.
When parents expect practice to be over at a certain time, end it then, not 20 minutes later. Start practices on time. If you must be late, make prior arrangements with your assistants.
Be open, learn from others
All great coaches have learned what they know from other coaches and players. Don't take the attitude that you have all the answers and are the greatest coach to ever walk the earth. Be humble and eager to learn from others. This is how you become a better coach. Like players, coaches should "be coachable".
Attend coaching clinics and camps. There are numerous videotapes and DVD's, covering every aspect of the game, that you can study. Go to games. Watch games on televison. Read basketball books. Assistants should try to learn everything they can from the head coach, as this is a great learning opportunity.
Impact young people
You are not their parent, but you are in a position to be a real positive, important person in the lives of each of your players... never lose site of this. Teach by your example and how you treat others. Be a person of integrity. Players are looking for your guidance, your belief and trust in them, and your discipline. Be their mentor more so than their friend (although you will develop strong friendships with most).
Treat all players with respect and make them all feel important as individuals and members of the team. Have fun with them, but be sensitive to their needs. Help develop character, not "characters". Help young people to develop priorities... spiritual > family > school > basketball.
The coach-player relationship is a vital cornerstone to successful coaching.
Communicate with your players as a group and one-on-one, and maintain an "open door" policy. Before the season starts, meet with each player individually about goals, expectations, etc. Have occasional team meetings to discuss "issues". Ask players for their input at halftime.
About yelling at players... you never want to embarrass a player during a game in front of his parents, friends, the fans, etc. In practice, behind closed doors, it is your classroom. I personally believe coaches can yell at players in practice, not to belittle them, but to get them to compete harder.
Sometimes kids need verbal motivation. We tell our players from time to time that if a coach yells at you in practice, it's not because he dislikes you, but because he thinks you have the potential to be a better player. He yells at you because he loves you. And if you never get yelled at, you might start worrying that coach is less interested in you.
Set rules and maintain discipline
But don't have too many rules that you will later regret. Kids will violate the rules... they always have and always will! Be prepared to handle these things in a fair manner. But don't paint yourself into a corner by being overly inflexible.
Don't make a hasty decision or comment... first find out all of the details of what happened, the school's policy, and get the advice of your athletic director before making a decision. Think also what long-term impact your decision will have on the individual(s), the team, your program, the school, and the community.
Discipline also means doing the right thing and doing everything for the betterment of the team. In practice, this means doing every drill the right way, every time.