Breakthrough Basketball Newsletter:
Monty Williams Coaching MISTAKE with Chris Paul

July 23, 2021

In today’s newsletter…

  • Monty Williams Coaching MISTAKE with Chris Paul
  • Need Your Help! Is Random Practice Research Flawed?

  • Monty Williams Coaching MISTAKE with Chris Paul

    - By Joe Haefner

    Audience: Coaches
    Ages: Youth, High School, College, Pros

    On, here is a piece about Monty Williams and what he learned 10 years ago when becoming a first-time coach…

    Williams is self-critical when reflecting on his first season working with Paul. Williams believes he was too “headstrong” in trying to implement his philosophies as a rookie head coach, and inadvertently “took the paint brush out of (Paul’s) hand” to direct his teammates on the floor. Williams also deadpans that, once Paul was traded to the Clippers after that season, his play calls suddenly were not as effective.

    “I reflected on that time, and it was all about how I can do it, trying to show how much I know as an NBA first-time coach,” Williams said. “It was just a level of insecurity that’s embarrassing when you admit it.”

    I think the lessons of the story are quite simple…

    1 - Your plays and coaching strategies, while still important, aren’t nearly as important as the players executing the plays!

    2 - Loosen the reins and let your thoroughbreds be thoroughbreds. If you have some extremely talented players, sometimes you need to coach a little less. You need to give them ownership and let them play.

    And that leads to another point, us coaches better focus on and maximize the development of players by improving skills, athleticism and IQ!

    These have been recurring themes that constantly reappear when speaking with experienced coaches…

    The Yodas of Coaching.

    They’ve been doing this for decades. They’ve overachieved and had remarkable success even including championships. At the same time, they’ve gotten some bumps and bruises along their way. They’ve coached some teams that had poor seasons.

    Almost all of them say similar things like…

    Your Jimmy's and Joe’s are more important than your X’s and O’s.

    What do you think of this? Do you agree or disagree? Reply to this email and let me know!

    Need Your Help! Is Random Practice Research Flawed?

    I have a question for you. In Wednesday’s email Backhands and Basketball, I stated this:

    “Study after study shows that random practice translates to better retention and transfer which basically means that you’re more likely to reproduce the skill in a game setting.

    However, what improved my ability to retain the skill and transfer to a game setting wasn’t more random practice. It was using more block practice then integrating it with random practice.”

    I reached out to a few colleagues that I consider practice design experts. They have looked at a lot of research on block practice, serial practice, and random practice.

    I asked them this:

    I’ve seen research comparing block vs. random, block vs. serial, and block vs interleaving. However, I don’t recall seeing research on the integration of using multiple practice types.

    For example,

    • Block & Random vs. Solely Block
    • Block & Random vs. Solely Random
    • Block, Serial, & Random vs. Solely Block
    • Block, Serial, & Random vs. Solely Serial
    • Block, Serial, & Random vs. Solely Random

    None of them could recall research that did this.

    All the Best,

    Joe Haefner
    Breakthrough Basketball