How important is it to relate to individual players and how can a coach improve his or her interpersonal skills?
RILEY: It depends on what level you are coaching. When it comes to coaching on a youth level, in a junior high school level, or a high school level, where kids are still maturing emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually, I think the communication, talking, educating type of approach transcends the actual X’s and O’s. I think you have to develop the mind and the will as much as you develop them on the court.
As players get older, especially as professionals, they will bring the philosophies of five to fifteen coaches with them. That means they have been talked to, they have been coached by a lot of different people, they have been motivated and inspired, and they know what it’s like to be a player who is being coached. Sometimes in professional basketball, saying less is best. Your actions and how they work and what you put in front of them every day will be noticed.
If I were coaching a high school team, I would be teaching, teaching, teaching, and teaching verbally every single day to every single individual.
(Interview questions and answers taken directly from the February 2007 edition of Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director)