It’s interesting watching the NBA playoffs to see the way the coaches talk to their players. All of the mic’d up segments give good insight into the approach the NBA coaches take. It’s very much a conversation when they are talking to their teams, with a measured tone. There really isn’t a lot of emotion involved in the way they address their team.

I had the opportunity to visit with a few G League teams and get behind the scenes with them on game day. And the approach was the same. The communication with the players was very much in a conversational tone. It was more like two people talking to each other than it was one person telling another one what to do. It made an impact to me to see they way these coaches talked to their players, and I notice it every night when they show the mic’d up huddles in the NBA playoffs.

Compare this approach to what we see in college most of the time. There always seems to be a lot more emotion in the communication in college. I know I’ve been guilty of this as a head coach and an assistant. It’s like I’m trying to infuse energy into the players every time I say something, to get them to feel the sense of urgency. I don’t think emotion is always a bad thing either – there are times when you want your players understand he urgency immediately. But if you use that emotion every time you speak it’s not going to have the same impact. And a lot of times too much emotion can shut down the engagement of your team.

I find it telling that NBA coaches, and other coaches when talking to pros, don’t really use a ton of emotion. I understand they are grown men and being paid to play professionally, so they dynamic is different. But when it comes to communication, ultimately it should be about the best way to get the message across. The dynamic in the NBA seems to have better balance. It’s not one person telling others what to do. It’s a conversation about what is best for the player or the team, where it feels like the player can ask questions or have input. It’s a little bit more of a casual conversation, and because of that is it a more connected one?

Think about it when you are watching the NBA playoffs, and when you are next communicating with your team. What role does emotion play in the way you communicate? Ultimately it’s about the best way to get the message across.

NBA Coaches – Mic’d Up

G League visits

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *