Is your coach talking too much?
I am reminded of Jimmy Fallon’s SNL character “Nick Burns - Your company’s computer guy”. Someone that is an expert, has far more knowledge than you need to know, but insists on sharing all of it with you, while also making backhanded insults about your intelligence and your ability to do anything on your computer while he watches - waiting for you to mess up!
This is what most players experience listening to coaches give instructions and feedback on basketball skills. Coaches often expect players to process their verbose explanations and instructions, mixed with analogies and anecdotes, and then make fun of or punish players that are confused, uncertain, or make a mistake when performing a skill.
Good news….. It doesn’t have to be this way!
TAGteach International has pioneered a communication methodology for training any skill. The T-A-G is an acronym for Teaching with Acoustical Guidance. This method is currently utilized in top level medical surgery training, manufacturing processes, and with international multilingual fishing boat crews as a few examples.
The core concept of TAGteach is: Give the student only the essential information they need to execute 1 thing right now!
To accomplish this, they use a 3-part Focus Funnel consisting of:
The lesson is what most coaches start and end with - the big picture, many-worded explanation of what the players are about to do. Maybe including a discussion of either the game situation about to be simulated, or the purpose of a particular drill.
The instructions funnel the information down to more essential knowledge - we are going to do X skill, and usually include a demonstration of the whole skill.
The TAGpoint is the final instruction - again funneled down - this time only 5 words or less!
Additional stipulations of a TAGpoint require the coach to state:
Positive - what they want, rather than what they don’t want
Singular - it can be only 1 thing
Observable - it must be something you can see happen with your eyes
The final factor, and the one that is most important and impactful, is that the coach is only ever saying “YES” (or using any other consistent, audible noise) when the TAGpoint is achieved - ignoring failed attempts by stating “try again”, and re-stating the TAGpoint as often as necessary.
The results of this, as simple as it may sound, are incredible.
When we combine this with our Formula program, we can cover the Lesson and preview of Instructions on our zoom call each week. When we hit the court, we can remind the player of the instructions, provide them with a TAGpoint, and get right down to work.
The Focus Funnel lies in Week 2 of our Play Practice Formula, where we use the term for 2 different meanings.
1. We funnel down through all of the data we have collected about a player in Week 1: Discovery and use that to agree on the 3 top priorities areas that we want to make a measurable impact in, and then create a customized measurement for each area.
2. We teach players about TAGteach, how we use it, and how it will benefit them by simplifying instructions and providing precise, real-time feedback on every skill and decision attempt they make - often to the tune of 200+ “YES’s” in a 30-minute workout.
A (lot) less talk, and a lot more action!
Want to learn more?
Visit our 1 page info sheet about the Play Practice Formula Program