Coaching Tips and Wisdom from Austria Men’s Head Coach Raoul Korner (featured on The Basketball Podcast with Chris Oliver)

development happens outside your comfort zone

If you want to develop as a player or a coach, you have to be willing to get outside of your comfort zone. This means being willing to leave a good situation for an unknown situation.

you have to outperform where ever you coach

Regardless of what situation you will find yourself in – either you are trying to win a Championship or you may be trying to avoid relegation, or you may be tasked with developing players – you always have to outperform the resources that management provide. That’s the job.

do more than people think that you are capable of

Success is all about getting everyone to buy into one common goal. In team sports, it is about getting everyone to perform better together than they would individually. This is done by valuing each individual and providing them with what they need to commit to the team. Individuals first for Team success

champions exhibit self-discipline, team chemistry & internal leadership

Every successful team that Coach Korner has coached has demonstrated these three values

Self-Discipline | Players do not need rules or punishments to motivate them to coming to practice or working hard. Successful teams are incredibly disciplined, which means that they will do what needs to be done to the best of their ability when it needs to be done and will not make excuses. Self-discipline is an ingredient of success!!

Good Team Chemistry | It is easier to be around people when they are all good people. It is easier to buy into team goals, when everyone enjoys working together. It is easier to stand up and fight for or protect those around you when you trust and respect them. Team Chemistry can overcome talent.

Internal Leadership | Every successful team has leaders on the team who are willing to hold the team accountable to the standards and behaviours that they’ve agreed upon. Leaders hold the team together in the locker room and off the court as much as they get things done on court too. Player led teams will always out perform coach led teams.

as soon as you have an advantage, move the ball

The point of the game is to create advantages. Once an advantage is gained, it is the job of the offense to move the ball to get an even bigger advantage. Assuming the spacing is good, a high percentage shot is almost always the result of this

the modern game is about denying one pass away in a flat triangle position

Today’s game is vastly different from the one that was played a few years ago. The old game may come back, but for now it isn’t the same. In denying one pass away, it is more efficient to be in a flat triangle position that a denial position. One main reason is that on penetration, you need to move from a denial position into your stance and slide to help, then recover on the kick out. These are too many actions and the game is too quick to be able to do that.

From a flat triangle position, you are already in help and on the pass, you just have to close out. You have essentially removed two unnecessary movements and become more efficient.

the main thing on offense is to create advantages

In understanding advantages, a key concept is bringing two defenders to the ball. To understand why, click this link. Once two players have come to the ball, it is important to get the ball out of that as quickly as possible. In ball screens situations, if the ball handler doesn’t use the screen, there’s a chance that there is no advantage gained.

regardless of whether we’re on offense or defense, I want to be in the driver’s seat

Good teams don’t react to the opposition. Rather, they are always in the drivers seat. On defense, they dictate where the offense should go and what shot they should take. On offense, they dictate the tempo and options they want to get the shots that they want. Great teams and players are initiators not reactors.

help should always be plan B

Just like when walking a tightrope, the plan isn’t to use the safety net, the same thing applies when playing defense. Help is there, but great players and teams don’t need help. Helping puts the defense out of position and allows the offense to move the ball quickly in an attempt to get high percentage shots. Great teams and players take pride in locking down defensively and don’t need help

give the players options and allow them to make their own decisions

The modern game isn’t PlayStation type games, with coaches controlling everything. Coaches should give players the options and team structure, but allow players to be creative and make decisions on the court. Players should be able to play the game, solve problems and figure things out using the team concepts. If coaches need timeouts to solve problems, there would be no timeouts left after three minutes.

if you have a Lamborghini, don’t tune it down to a Skoda

When designing the system of play (which is different to the style), coaches should first see what type of players they have. The team concepts, style and philosophies can and should stay the same, but the system should be flexible to cater for individual players strengths.

If you have a goldfish, don’t ask it to climb trees. Instead, let it free in a pond and watch what it can do.


Watch the full Interview with Coach Korner on The Basketball Podcast with Chris Oliver.

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