25 Aug

All coaches in all sports at all levels want, demand, and preach to their players to talk. We (coaches) all know how important it is in so many areas of our respective sports.

First and foremost there is a big difference between talking and communicating!

In my opinion talking is defined as: the giving of information without the need of a response.  Where communication is defined as: the verbal and nonverbal exchange of information that requires a response.

So as you can see, it is better to have COMMUNICATION over just talking.

Here at Montverde Academy, we are International School with over 40 different countries represented.  Within my basketball program in any given year I can have 10 different countries represented.  While we embrace our diversity, it can become problematic and difficult if we do not learn how to COMMUNICATE!

As I enter my 8th year, I remember back to third year when my staff and I first came up with the definition of COMMUNICATION. We defined communication in three parts: information given, received and understood. This came as a by product of our team running drills unsuccessfully because they were just talking (often in their native language) and not effectively communicating.  They could not understand one another.

Thus, the staff had to stop the drill to point out to the players the reason for them not being successful. Effective communication leads to SUCCESS, and in order to achieve this:

1. You must have a common language

2. You must have a clear understanding of what is being communicated

3. You must acknowledge that you understand what has been communicated to you. (Information given, received and understood).

Here are a couple of concepts that I use at Montverde Academy to help our players to become better communicators:

  • In all passing and catching drills – they must call teammates name.
  • When a command is given – they must “echo” (repeat)
  • Early on we will play the old kid game of “telephone”, where you give information at the beginning of the line and it must be passed down the line.  We use this game as an illustration of “effective communication vs ineffective communication”.  EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION STARTS WITH ACTIVE LISTENING!
  • Teammates must give positive affirmations to each other during practice. Either verbal,” great job”, “keep working”, “don’t quit” or nonverbal – high fives, hug, finger point, pound(knuckle touch).  Never let a teammate pass you without acknowledging their effort.
  • Must make eye contact with the speaker.
  • When introducing themselves they must: say their first and last name, what country &/or state they are from, and what grade they are in at Montverde Academy.
  • At the end of practice we do “CIRCLE OF COMMUNICATION”. I adopted this from Don Showalter (head coach of the World Champion USA Basketball U16 & U17 Developmental National Team). All players gather in circle and then I pick a topic for the players to communicate with each other. For example, pick a player to your right and let them know what they did well in practice today. They must say the teammates name. This exercise has been tremendously helpful in the development of our players ability to:

2. to be secure vs. insecure in giving and receiving a compliment.
3.Help grow a teammates self-esteem.

Remember talking will help you win games. COMMUNICATING WILL HELP YOU WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS!



  1. Raul Sosa August 30, 2010 at 6:33 PM #

    Great stuff!

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