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Coaching in the Clutch

Nothing exposes coaches like the clutch moments of the game. This is where scrutiny happens on a more magnified level. A great coach in the clutch gets tremendous praise, whereas coaching errors are condemned.  Here are three ways to elevate your ability to be a clutch coach:

 
1. Be wise about momentum shifts. In drag racing, there is a small delay of acceleration when we shift—subbing, time-outs, taking the ball out of bounds, the whistle, are all small momentum shifts. Be an expert at this and recognize how it affects your team.
 
2. Learn to downshift not just break. Downshifting in coaching is an art form. Great coaches can navigate negative momentum but make small strategic adjustments rather than having to make huge momentum shifts. 
 
3. Study moments of powerlessness. Every team has experienced that hopeless feeling of powerlessness -- the basket has a lid on it, the press can’t be broken, and the players look like they are playing under water. Be a master at helping your team find ways to accelerate even in difficulty.  The biggest culprit for feeling powerless is fundamental skill breakdown. Your players simply do not have their skills in a strong enough place. It doesn’t matter how many plays you create, your team has to have the hardwired talent built in to navigate difficulty. Instead of scheduling tons of games this summer, require your players to get serious about their fundamentals.

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