26 Mar March 26: Court Vision: The Trained Eyes of a Head Coach (Part 1)
Posted at 15:05h in Archive, March Madness Extravaganza 2 CommentsSeveral years ago Yahoo Sports wrote an article about Jason Kidd's move to the bench, I thought a point raised would be the perfect topic to write about: How different a coaches vision is from a players'. As a potential future Hall of Fame point guard who spent 18 years in the NBA and winning an NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, Kidd thought his superb floor vision would carry over to coaching seamlessly. However, it didn't take long for him to realize he needed to widen his vision away from the basketball. Below is an exert from the article I linked above: ...This became clear once Frank had blown the whistle, stopped play and started to remind a player far off the ball, about the proper defensive assignment. And then it happened again and again, and soon Kidd found himself squatting down, wondering if maybe Frank, a 5-foot-5 assistant with no playing pedigree, had a low-level avenue of vision that wasn't available to the Hall of Fame point guard at 6-foot-4... Only, it had everything to do with the trained eye of a coach. Standing, sitting, squatting – it didn't matter – Kidd still couldn't see everything Frank could see on the floor... As a player, you could see the floor, but what happened in Summer League was the perfect example of how that isn't enough anymore," Kidd said. "Here is a pick-and-roll right in front of me, and I think I'm doing the right thing but Lawrence has the vision of seeing everything else – all the things happening on the weak side of the ball... "That told me right there: You have to widen your screen. Your screen has to see everything that's developing, because your tendency is to just focus on the players that are involved with the ball. "You need to be watching all 10, and going through a (mental) checklist answering if they're doing what you're teaching offensively and defensively." Rewind back to 2004 when I first joined Billy Donovan's staff and Florida and a very similar thing happened to me. While watching our first few practices before embarking on a foreign trip to the Bahamas (which never happened thanks to a Hurricane...that also never happened), I was amazed at what I was seeing. Every few minutes one of the coaches would stop play and start shouting out corrections to players that were not even involved in a play. Since just a year prior I decided to walk away from playing college basketball, watching practice from a coach's perspective was new to me. That is when I realized I need to start paying attention, I was about to receive my PHD in coaching for the next five years.