Ettore Messina is considered one of the best basketball coaches in the world. I posted once about him here. I recently came across a short video interview with him. I can honestly say that I have on my bookshelf at least twenty books on or by world famous coaches which combined don’t contain as much wisdom as this fifteen minute interview. This should be compulsory viewing for anyone thinking about being a professional coach.
I strongly encourage you to spend the time, but in the meantime here are some highlights…
“Sometimes to help them to integrate as personalities is much more difficult than to help them to integrate as basketball players.”
“You cannot be a dictator because people think and people have their own opinions. At the same time we cannot take a vote every time we have to take a decision in two seconds on the floor. So sometimes someone has to take a decision.”
“You can have two kinds of discipline. The kind you force through strength and power or the discipline that people accept to put on themselves because they are responsible.”
“At some time you are faced with the question, ‘Are more important the (principles) or the people?’ … Great organisations choose principles over people. When you give up on the principles, sooner or later you will break down.”
“I am afraid of people who never say ‘I am sorry, I have made a mistake.’ … I don’t see any problem is telling the players ‘I am sorry, I made a mistake’. To me it’s more a matter of respecting myself first, and then everybody else.”
“I think mutual trust comes from behaviours. If you have a constant behaviour of loyalty, of respect for the rules, people will respect you. … The problem is if people take away this trust not because of behaviour but because of the outcome of this behaviour.” He gives an example of the player no longer trusting the coach not because he stopped being a good coach, but because the player is now on the bench. “I completely disagree if the player takes away the trust because he does not like your decision.”
“You cannot be a good coach if you don’t have a strong organisation behind you.”
“I think it’s not fair if you evaluate the decisions of a player only if the ball goes in or out. … Sometimes the player can be lucky and the balls goes. Sometimes he can be unlucky and the ball goes out. But that is not what makes the good play.”
“If you have a lot of stubborn people who don’t want to be flexible, it’s very difficult to create a team.”
Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.