Expertise: Basketball and COVID-19
Expertise: expert skill or knowledge in a particular field
And since the definition of expertise includes “expert”…
Expert: having comprehensive or authoritative knowledge in a particular field
With too much time be aware of what everyone else thinks about literally everything, I have learned that everyone is an expert and that numbers don’t always tell the truth. Then the experts criticize the experts and it goes on and on.
Maybe you think COVID-19 is the most serious disease the world has faced and we should be super cautious about everything we do. There are numbers to support your case. Maybe you think that the whole thing is a media circus and it’s really not that big of a deal. There are numbers to support your case as well.
Are you a believer in only shooting 3’s and layups (and free throws)? There are numbers that clearly support that philosophy. Do you think that shooting mid-range shots is an important part of the game? There are numbers to support that too.
COVID-19 is a disease. At the end of the day, it is science. However, it is still relatively new and scientists are still learning about it. Yet, there are so many people who seem to have so much expertise about it based on numbers that are being reported. I don’t know what to think about it. I just use the information that seems credible to make informed decisions.
Basketball is much less scientific and has been around a lot longer than COVID-19 (at least from what I can tell), but still, everyone is an expert because they have numbers to support their beliefs.
You may claim to be an expert or you may not. And you may be an expert. That’s not up to us to decide or critique.
We are experts at Hoops College.
Wow. That’s a bold statement. That is quite arrogant. How can you say that?
I could give you numbers, to support my case. I could even give you numbers to discredit our expertise.
I’ll tell you why I can say that confidently without numbers.
- We have coached players who know nothing about basketball.
- We have coached elite level players.
- We have coached losing teams at all levels.
- We have coached winning teams at all levels.
- We have recruited players at all levels.
- We have helped players of all levels get recruited.
Then there’s all the stuff in the middle. Coaching average players, coaching average teams, etc.
These six points alone may or may not mean a lot to you. In a way, there are still numbers associated with these points.
I want to give you something else to consider that isn’t statistical at all and it’s the most important reason that we consider ourselves experts in this game.
The Real Reason
We have spent a long time asking ourselves a lot of questions until we found an answer that we believed in. Some questions we asked out loud. Some questions we only asked ourselves, but we asked them none the less. Sometimes the answers are very concrete. Sometimes the answers aren’t.
In fact, we still question what we do. Not because we don’t believe in it, but because we know things are always changing and evolving. The best answer yesterday might be the wrong answer tomorrow and visa versa.
When you coach players at all levels, when you win and lose at all levels, when you are on both sides of the recruiting process at all levels, you have the opportunity to become an expert. We are still taking advantage of this opportunity.
When you coach players who don’t know how many points you score when the ball goes in, it forces you to think about how to teach them the game. We could choose to coach them the same way we coached players before, or we can take a serious look at what is going to help them the most and teach them in a way that they can learn and improve.
That changes how you coach elite level players. Those things that you discover when you teach players who can’t play, help you coach the really good ones in a better way. When you coach elite level players, you have to figure out how to help them get better and not just get a workout in. Do they need a new move or is there a small tweak in something they already do that will help them? How do we teach that? How do we rep it?
When you lose, you have the opportunity to figure out why you lost and what you could have done differently to win. Maybe you were going to lose no matter what you did. Maybe you made the conscious decision that teaching is more important than winning. Maybe you should have recruited differently or substituted differently. Maybe you learned how not to do it, even though you might not have actually figured out what to do yet.
The same is true when we win. Was it the X’s and O’s? Was it because of our culture? Were we going to win regardless?
The answers are always complex. But hours of reflection and analysis are amazing teachers. We realize why one decision led to another decision. We might find that the first decision was a bad one which forced us to make a second decision that was right. What if the first decision had been different? We might not have had to make the second one.
When we attend clinics, read books, or watch videos, we look past the Hall of Fame resume. We look past the championships. We ask ourselves, why did it work for them? Will it work for me in my situation? Maybe it won’t work now, but maybe it can work later. Or maybe there was one teaching point that we can use in what we do even though it’s different. It all depends on what fits us and our situation. We might be able to make something work better for us than it did for someone else.
We don’t have all of the answers. No one does. But we do know how to ask questions because we ask ourselves questions all the time. And then we go searching for the answers.
We know that teams win because of good players. However, we also know that just because you have good players, doesn’t mean you’re going to win. Coaching matters, just maybe not as much as we would like to think that it does sometimes.
We know that players get better because they put the work in. However, we know that good coaching can help players make the most of the work that they do. Poor coaching can make players’ “hard work” a waste of time.
We know that players get recruited because they are qualified both academically and athletically. However, a little help and direction along the way can make the recruiting process and their experience go more smoothly or it can lead them in the completely wrong direction.
Why? Why do we ask all these questions? It’s not to discredit what we see. It’s not to say that we’re right and you’re wrong. Simply, we want to be the best for the players and coaches we work with.
We are constantly searching for answers so that we will be prepared when the time comes when we have to answer the questions ourselves.
There is always truth in numbers, but we don’t believe that numbers tell the whole truth. Whether it’s COVID-19, basketball, or anything else, the whole truth probably lies somewhere in the middle of the numbers.
When it comes to basketball, it is probably less about the truth and more about what works for you and your situation today. Things are always changing and evolving. What worked today may or may not work tomorrow. If we’re not trying to improve every day, then we aren’t as good as we think we are, no matter what the numbers say.
Trying to be the best comes with a healthy amount of paranoia that someone else is doing it better than you. And those fears are real. Someone else is doing it better. This drives us to constantly find the best solutions for today with the understanding that tomorrow they may change.