Prior to the official start of the winter season, all coaches will receive a two-page “What is Coaching Excellence?” document by email or in person at the start of our small-group meetings.
In preparation for the meetings, coaches are expected to read this blog in full.
Coaches are also expected to read and respond to any emails sent by the Motion staff in a timely fashion. Please be sure to respond when asked to do so.
OVERVIEW OF MO’ MOTION – WHAT WE DO
Mo’ Motion believes in establishing an outstanding culture that focuses on the development of players of all ability levels. For those who commit, we make beginning players good, good players very good, the very good players great and the great players outstanding. We believe that talent is practice; practice is talent; and true talent thrives off one’s ability to self-regulate. Our workouts are our masterpiece.
Mo’ Motion takes great pride on how hard we work to develop our staff. Many schools call us when they are in need of coaches. We place talented, passionate teachers and leaders in positions where they can showcase their strengths and execute on these basic principles:
• If we expect our kids to play as a team, we as role models must operate with the same mentality.
• As we expect of our players, we are always working on improving our coaching and teaching game.
• We believe that character, integrity, passion, compassion, respect and effort go the distance in coaching and in life.
Areas that will be covered in our meeting:
Schedule. November-December is team prep time. Attendance must be taken (it factors into playing time). Mid-December is our first game (in most cases) and games run Jan-March. One practice day, one game day during thick of gothambasketball.com season (January-March). Nayla and Ryan will attach you to your team in our system. You can download the app and/or check the master weekly to see your schedule. Review it a few times to make sure there is no confusion.
Preparedness. Please be prepared with notes for each practice. Email your plan to your co-coach or show up five minutes early to review areas that will be covered and how coaches and teams in the gym can work together to cover the areas.
Coaching Attire. Motion short-sleeve, long-sleeve and/or sweatshirts (if we have them in stock). Coaches are expected to be wearing Motion gear EVERY Motion event. If you need more shirts, let us know. Keep clothing conservative, neat, athletic. No hats or chewing while coaching.
Player Attire. Players must be wearing Motion purple practice shirt to every practice and game shorts. Second day of team practice, they wear their jerseys. We will send email out to coaches and parents because often attire is late to arrive. No sloppy teams.
Gym Cleanliness. Please keep our house clean and organized. Know all the combos, respect gym teacher’s office space and lock up everything as if it is your own property. Coaches are responsible for missing equipment.
Timeliness. Coaches must be early or on time. In rare cases where you’re running late, a back-up communication plan must be put in place where you text a head’s up to a co-coach and/or parent or guard. Kids cannot be left alone in gyms. If you are one minute late, many parents will email the office. Some parents send emails to the office if you are not there at 12:58 for a 1 p.m. practice. We handle them accordingly. We also will tell parents of teams that need to know when coaches are literally running from one practice to another. Co-coaches can warm-up the kids or a parent can be picked to warm up the team to buy a coach 2-10 minutes to get to the gym.
Attendance and Effort. Problems with players NOT showing up – emails go to the boys’ athletic director for boys’ teams and the girls’ athletic director for girls’ teams. Please keep a record of attendance because parents often deny the truth and or say, “but so-and-so didn’t show up either.” Parents are free to email you with reasons why their child could not attend, but in 95 percent of the cases, absent is absent. As is case with players, coaches are expected to make 80 percent of winter season team events. If you fall under 80 percent, it sets a poor example for the kids.
Payroll. The director of operations is the point on all payroll collection of data, rates and administration. If you have any questions about payroll, please reach out to the director of operations in the main office via email.
Strategy. Mo and the athletic directors communicate the format for pre-season, in-season and post-season workouts via shared docs, videos, bullet points in videos. We are firm on some areas, looser on others. We believe on being prepared, flexible and intuitive. You may have to adjust/change your plan on the fly.
Yoga or mobility as part of practice and/or Dynamic Warm-Up. Try to work in 10-20 minutes of yoga per Sat/Sun. Even get kids warming up with poses and mobility if waiting before a game. Friday night coaches are teaching yoga and Boost coaches incorporate a few poses during week nights. For ideas, go to our yoga main page with stills and videos to be added.
Evaluation and Auditing. Mo’ Motion coaches and staff randomly audit other coaches and staff. This year we also are likely to video tape practices or games and review during the week. Areas of concern will be communicated to you early in the process with suggested solutions that will make you a more effective coach and leader. We measure retention every year and track the coaches scores on retention of players as well as how many players per team show improvement. From a player development standpoint (not a win-loss record), the program goal is to get 80-100 percent of your team to improve from the start of the season to the end. If you don’t see this happening, call us in early and we are happy to help.
The Motion Rote Offensive Drills/Series – Jump Shot Form, Lay-Ups, Footwork, Spacing and the Motion offense. (Note the style of play must reflect the company’s namesake.) Teach these specific skills, drills and mechanics all the time – every workout. We expect all coaches to keep repeating the simple steps and motivating the kids to master each step in the process of learning while bodies are growing and changing. Level 1, 2, 3 shooting for beginners up through grade 7/8 then levels 4-6 for those who have a consistent jump shot from close range. Build off the lay-up progressions, reinforce the basic steps and pivots, add creativity to six-spot scoring. Set up triangles on offense with everyone attacking open areas, seeing a play ahead and the right timing. Players must know the difference between the process of learning and doing it right – feeling the ball go into the basket or the cut open up before it happens verses judging themselves by whether ball goes in bucket or not. If your kids can step up and teach your drills to the group perfectly, it is the best indication that you are doing your job.
1) Safety. Always secure the kids, secure the door, secure the floor. Get a guard for support and put a parent at the door if the guard has to leave his or her post. Call 911 or the police if it is warranted. After you call the police, text Mo or the director of operations. Never be alone with a kid or leave a kid alone behind you. Get other parents, kids and stay in group. If you feel as though a person or a situation is endangering the life or welfare of a child, you are mandated by law to call the police.
Read the Mo’ Motion Crisis Management Plan HERE
First Aid – know where the defibrillator is in every gym (in public schools it is by the security desk). In schools where bathroom is far away (PS 75 for girls), do not let kids run down hallways or go to different levels of school alone. Send them in pairs or ask a parent in hallway to walk them to the bathroom and back. Opposite gender can wait outside the bathroom. No kids wandering or getting lost in the schools.
2) Closed Practices. No parents until the last 15 minutes (and if you don’t want them in, you can ask them to stay outside or send their kids over to tell them practices are closed in full). Any parent who is injured or disabled is welcome to come into the gym to sit more comfortably. Grandparents are an exception. Invite them in and politely say they are welcome as long as the kids stay focused on the coaches and the team.
3) Communication. Coaches are not responsible for emailing parents with reminders on games/practice. Always tell them to check the schedule. The risk with coaches who run more than one team is that they will give out the wrong info. Direct parents to the communications and registration systems.
4) Professional behavior. No cursing, no negative talking about kids, no talking about other kids in front of parents, no trash talking at all, no condescending talk to any kids, refs or parents (use first names only, please), no technical fouls and NO talking back to the officials or arguing calls. If you do it, it gives permission for the kids to do it. If something goes wrong and any of these rules are violated, the coach must call Mo or the director of operations immediately, explain what happened and accept accountability. GBA rule is two-techs and you’re out. Motion rule is no techs period. Also note that many Motion coaches are friendly with referees and many other teams feel their is a biased toward Mo’ Motion teams. It is important that we do our best to focus on keeping a professional distance before the games as we focus on our kids and game preparation.
5) Competitive Spirit. Keep it high, but keep it about the kids. Too many coaches make it about the scoreboard or about themselves. If you see another Motion coach – even Mo – getting a little too intense, go up and do what you can to re-direct the frustration in a more productive fashion. In doing so, you’ll be reminding the coach that it’s about the kids and the example we set for the kids. Note on TOUGHNESS and EFFORT: Toughness and effort is the toughest factor to teach and measure. It is also subjective in the eyes of the kid, the parent, the coach, the former rec ball player, the former college or pro player or military veteran. When you get frustrated with this issue (and it is hands down the most frustrating), simply praise everyone and anyone in the gym who is showing toughness, including kids on the other team. The Milbank Flyers are the finest examples of toughness. Point out kids on the other team and say play like him or her and you will make me proud and you will feel so much better about yourself.
6) Injuries. Players who can withstand practice – even just sitting and dribbling or not running and no contact are encouraged to attend so they get credit attendance-wise. If a player gets hurt in a game, it’s your call. If there’s a doctor or medical professional in your parent-line up, ask them to come over or get a mom, but not the mom of the player who is hurt. You continue to coach and have the mom assess. If it’s a hit to the head, be extremely cautious. If the kid with head injury goes back in, you must have a parent with all eyes on that kid for delayed symptoms. If other players are hurt and look OK, put them back in, but never force them back in. If we have any kid on our team or any other team get seriously hurt, you need to text Mo right away with details. Email the office with other injuries that you feel must be flagged.
7) Tough Situations. We will review several scenarios at the meeting based on experience, and how to handle. Scenarios include how to handle a coach who is not performing, a coach who is late or unprofessional, a difficult player, an unruly parent, a stranger in gym, an opposing coach who is acting in an unacceptable manner, a referee who has lost control of the game; a gym manager who is passive or tentative about taking control of the gym while you are coaching. We will also review how any Motion coaches in the gym are encouraged to step up to resolve situations that keep the acting coach focused on leading the kids. If you are in a gym, and another coach from another program is having a tough time with an injured player or a parent situation and no one is helping that coach, be a leader and step up if the coach needs help. Granted the referee and the gym manager should be on it, but if they’re not, we are here to help each other. Contact the director of operations with specific details of what happened and the director will then assess best way to communicate and handle.
8) Parents. Coaches need to keep a healthy distance from all parents. Other parents often look for signs of preferential treatment. We must avoid putting ourselves in these spots. If parents try to stay at closed practices, please tell them practices are closed or send their kid over to do it (Ryan’s rule). GRANDPARENT exception: Grandparents are allowed in and only asked out if they are a distraction. (Kids often cut up in front of parents, but are angels in front of grandparents.) If a parent has a physical issue and needs to be seated, try to find a chair for the hallway. If you cannot, let them stay in the gym, but ask that they put their gaze into a book or on work – not on their kid.
In our email to parents at the start of the season, we will tell them NO GIFTING of the coaches until END of the season. Coaches are not allowed to accept gifts from parents during the season. If a parent tries to give you a gift, it is best if you tell them you are not allowed to take it. If they make you take it, you must report it to the office and we will handle. Coaches cannot do private lessons for players on their team during the season. If they ask for private lessons, direct them to the office.
If you are having a tough time with a parent and they want to have a talk with you, you can do one of two things: a) talk briefly with the parent and player together and/or b) pass it to Kristin, who is head of HR at our office and she can handle. Also, all mailing list and contact info is confidential. Coaches cannot reach out to parents about issues unrelated to basketball nor can they pass an email or phone number of a Mo’ Motion parent to someone else. If you want to reach out to a parent about a topic unrelated to basketball, you must have consent from the office first.
9) Building Relationships with Players. Be cautious to not spend too much time with any one player or few players. Also be cautious about being too friendly with them for it’s your job to coach, motivate and inspire. They have plenty of friends. If you have players with the same first name, call them by their last name. (If you give out one cute nickname, they’ll all want one then they’ll ask for them to be changed every other week.) Try to get your kids to work in teams against themselves (break their own records in one minute), against a new teammate, against their best friend, and against you as a group.
10) Playing Time. Given based on attendance and effort. Some girls’ teams have 10 players per team this year. We are building showcase games into the schedule to award more playing time for those who are showing up and putting in more effort, but we need time to see that this is actually happening. We are also going to do the showcase games to mix our players in with players from other programs. Playing time does not need to be equal. Out of 40 minutes, players who have been attending practice should be in the game for 13 minutes – 25 minutes each. If a player only gets 12 minutes one game, try to bump that player up the next game so the cumulative time is reasonable for all.
Hidden question to test if coaches read the blog: What is the best game you ever watched in college history? BEST COLLEGE GAME?
Email your answer to Mo after you have finished reading this blog. It’s long. We know. You got this.
11) How to Handle Players Who Are Struggling. Give them a short list of specific tasks that will leave them with a sense of purpose. “All I want you to do this game are the following a) always be in a catchable, open area b) when you catch the ball, square up and take care of it and c) contain your player on defense. If the player starts to feel good, then add something like, “How about getting d) three deflections or steals and e) three rebounds?” If you need further assistance, reach out to Motion veteran staff members.
12) How to Handle Wide Margins. Sometimes the refs don’t control the other coach or team and sometimes kids on other teams can’t dial down their aggression. Let the ref handle it. Focus on coaching our kids and don’t complain about the score. Same is true with an opposing player that you think is ineligible due to age or grade. If it’s ruining the game, you are free to raise the issue, but it’s an awkward situation in many cases (assuming you are correct, and many times it’s more complicated than right/wrong). You can ask the gym manager to diplomatically figure things out before the game or during a timeout, but keep coaching your kids. Report the issue after the game and we will look into it.
Please note that the whole purpose of playing kids in our neighborhoods and communities was so that our kids would be exposed to aggressive, tough players who are passionate and committed to what they do. Mo’s X team lost a game by 62 points last year – opening game vs. a powerful regional team that everyone knew was wrong fit, but we had to play. Mo told the girls on the other team to not take it easy on her girls – to just play and set the example for them. They did and they even dropped back early and still crushed. When Mo’s team scored a bucket – about 8 minutes left in the game – the entire gym erupted in cheers. This cheering included parents from all sides as well as the refs and the girls on the team that was winning by 60+ points. Mo’ Motion lived to tell this story.
If any coaches are running scores up by wide margins, let the athletic directors or front office know and we will handle the communication to the other program. If Motion goes up by 20+ points, all Motion teams pass it around 10 times (no counting aloud please) and/or practice their hands up on passive D (let them shoot but don’t be obvious about it) and work on boxing out.
13) Love What You Do. We are all playing a key role in the development of young people who hopefully will pass on the great life lessons learned through sports. We invest our time and effort not just for our kids, but for the overall health and integrity of our old-school, inclusive, gothambasketball.com league and its participants. Set and keep the bar high. Help each other. Be kind to the referees and easy on parents when they need a break. Say hello, goodbye and thank you to everyone. If another kid on another team makes a great play, praise the player. If a team plays an exceptional game, praise the team and the coach.
We’re all here together because of our love for teaching, kids and the game.
We are looking forward to another exciting and rewarding season.
Thank you for all you do.