Feature: A Crossroad of Coaching:Who should coach who?

Posted on May 6, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

So we come to that point: Should a female coach a men’s team? Let’s look at the style of men’s basketball. Men play “above the rim”. A fan is guaranteed to see fancy dunks, alley-oops, and other above the rim plays. One of the most important things about being a basketball coach is that you should know what you are teaching. Men will want tips on how to do better dunks. They’ll want tips on how to increase their vertical jump. It all balls down to this: In my opinion, no, women should not coach men’s basketball. The style is different. Should males coach female teams? By all means.

Women’s basketball is usually classified as “below-the-rim” play. No dunks. No fancy oops. Just lay-ups and fundamentals. “Coaching Across Gender”, is an article interviewing Dave Stromme, the head coach at St. Olaf (MN) College (to read the full article click on the link). Stromme has coached in all division levels in college. He is very familiar with coaching women’s basketball teams. Here are some things that Stromme had to say: “You have to be more realistic with speed and size,” Stromme insists. “That lends itself to more concentration on fundamentals and execution. You can’t rely on athleticism to jump over somebody.” “I don’t think you teach them differently, but the timetable to expect proficiency may be a bit different between males and females.” Focus on fundamentals no matter who you’re coaching. Fundamentals are what win games.

Glenn Nelson, a writer for Hoopgurlz.com, says in his article, Coaching I, that “Men can be effective at coaching girls as long as they examine their own maleness and ponder its effect on their methodology.” Nelson brings up some problems when coaching a female team. I have to agree, these problems are true (read the article to find out). This is my only stipulation: any male who wants to coach a female team SHOULD NOT DO SO UNLESS THEY HAVE A FEMALE AS AN ASSISTANT. There should be a female representative somewhere in the staff. As a player, it’s sometimes easy to get by on a male coach. We have our female issues and sometimes we use them against the male head coach (happens a lot in high school). The female representative should be there to let the head coach know that the girls can play. Your time of the month is not an excuse (I should know. I’ve played intense games and have had intense practices during my time of the month. On the first day of it too). Eventually, the male coach would probably be able to tell these signs on his own. I still believe that a female representative should be present, especially in the locker room, to avoid other issues. I played at a Christian school. The athletic director always made sure that a female was present in the locker room at the minimum. It usually ended up being someone’s mom, or the wife of the athletic director herself.

None of this is to say that male coaches are terrible. There have been many successful male coaches who have coached women’s basketball. Take Geno Auriemma, the head coach of the Connecticut Huskies. Auriemma has won five NCAA woman’s titles and is the biggest male head coaches name in the college woman’s basketball scene. Van Chancellor, the coach of LSU, led the United States to a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics and won four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets. Michael Cooper, who coached the Lakers Sparks, led the team to five straight playoff appearances, three straight WNBA Western conference titles, and two WNBA world championship titles. I have no problem with males coaching female teams as long as there is a female present. I think that the female is able to coach the male on the do’s and don’ts of coaching women’s basketball.

Other Links:

1. Geno Auriemma

2. Van Chancellor

3. Michael Cooper

4. When Men Coach Women

Men Coaching Women


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