Gene Keady’s five tips to make your program stronger
As a seven-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, Gene Keady had more than his share of success at Purdue University.
Keady, a former president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, is always more than willing to pass along time-tested coaching advice and lessons learned from a career that began in 1959 at Beloit High School in Kansas. The following are five tips that the longtime Boilermakers coach believes will make your job easier.
1. 1-on-1 time with players.
Keep an open-door policy with your players, but be sure to have at least one 1-on-1 meeting per season. In this meeting, discuss academics, the player’s role on the team, the player’s progress and development, and plans for improvement.
2. Be honest, positive and have fun.
By nature, coaches have a tendency to be negative. Don’t over-dramatize things or over-coach. Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems. If you lose your temper with a player, wait until the next day to talk about it with that individual. It gives you time to cool off and think logically about the situation. Make your practices fun, and enthusiasm will break out amongst your players.
3. Be demanding.
Even though you’re trying to instill a fun atmosphere in practices, that doesn’t mean you can’t be demanding. Teams must have discipline if they’re going to win games. Discipline is a result of being demanding on your players.
4. Work closely with custodians.
Develop a close relationship with your gym and school custodian. These folks are the caretakers of your facility. They’re also among the few people that can give you unbiased feedback and tell you the real truth about your players’ behavior when you’re not around.
5. Practice defense every day.
Make defense a priority. Run drills every day that instill aggressive defensive play in your team. That includes charge drills, close-out drills and loose-ball drills. Keady said he would stop practice every 20 minutes to run a quick defensive drill. Build these “defensive breaks” into your practice schedule.