In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, newly named Sydney Kings head coach Will Weaver joins the podcast to discuss modern coaching ideas. Methods to intervene and to observe what is going on are discussed, along with lessons from mentors like Sam Hinkie, Brett Brown, Kenny Atkinson, Andrej Lemanis and Rick Barnes.
Last season, Coach Weaver was named the 2018-19 NBA G League Coach of the Year as the Long Island Nets head coach. Weaver joined the Brooklyn Nets as a special assistant to head coach Kenny Atkinson in 2016, and, in July of 2018, was named the head coach of the Long Island Nets. In his first season with Long Island, Weaver led the team to a 34-16 record in the regular season, which tied for the best record in the NBA G League. The team also led the Eastern Conference, won the Atlantic Division and clinched a playoff berth for the first time in franchise history.
Under Weaver, Long Island finished the regular season ranked first in the league in points per game (117.7), first in rebounds per game (53.9), third in assists per game (26.5), second in plus/minus (+4.1) and fifth in free throw percentage (77.5 percent). Weaver was also recognized as the NBA G League Coach of the Month for March after leading the Nets to a 9-1 record to close out the regular season. The honor was the first in Long Island history.
Learn more from Will Weaver:
“It was important to me to make sure, in this first year as a professional head coach and as a first year as a dad, that I always kept my eye on the prize and make sure that my time reflected my values.”
“I always felt like it was such an advantage for me to have the grounding kind of person in my life that my wife is.”
“It’s always served as an opportunity for me to reflect, especially before you take a job . . ‘What does our family’s pie chart look like for the coming several months?’ If it’s going to be hot and heavy for me, there needs to be a valley for me to give to the family.”
“In Long Island, my role was to help create and environment where our players could grow . . every player needed the opportunity to make as quick strides as they could.”
“There’s a real emphasis on the humans that we’re bringing in . . what their skill sets are, of course, are a relevant part of that . . but all of them were guys that truly did care if we won or lost.”
“You’re investing in your future. If you can get guys to understand that and that there’s some delayed gratification, that’s a big part of the battle.”
“The biggest learning for me, the one that I was the least prepared for . . was how much having the head coaching role requires . . being able to ignore stuff.”
“What is the walk that I’m walking? . . The behavior that I’m modeling . . that is something that has real relevance . . in any organization. If I want to spend time . . praising a player . . or berating a player . . I am not watching the game.”
“During games, my job is to try to see what is actually going on and help the group adjust and put the right people on the floor and get them the right amount of rest and call plays when appropriate and change coverages when appropriate . .”
“Let’s not get lost in things we can do later at the cost of things that we need to do now in order for us to achieve what we’re trying to achieve.”
“If you have a North Star, if you have a clear direction that you are pointing . . most decisions need to connect to that . . I think that the same goes for their [your staff’s] careers . . Why are they doing what their doing and what is your obligation to try to help them get there?”
“All the best coaches I’ve been around have an exceptionally generous and self-critical energy around what’s gone on.”
“We’re looking for edges and we’re looking for advantages . . and those advantages . . multiply over time. They don’t just become small benefits.”
“If you’re going to make a change, you need to make sure that it’s one you can make effectively.”
“I try to spend a lot more time thinking about what people are good at rather than what their weaknesses are because . . if you get to the level of play of the NBL, you’ve got plenty to offer . . you’ve got some good aspects to your game so it’s my job to show those off.”
“Unless you give coaches the autonomy to do that [build 1-on-1 relationships with players], you’re missing out on the way players can improve because they need to feel like there’s someone who is watching every minute they play and is experiencing things [with] the same . . intensity.”
Selected links from Will Weaver podcast:
Click below to listen in if you listen on:
1:00 – Balancing as a Father and as a Coach
2:40 – Modeling Parenting As a Coach
5:00 – Having a Supportive Partner
7:00 – How to Coach in a Modern Way
9:00 – Hire the Right People
11:00 – Humans
13:00 – Intervention
16:00 – Modelling Behavior
19:00 – Adding Good Days can Built Trust
23:00 – Using the Best Talents of our Coaching Staffs
27:00 – Reviewing Game Decisions with Coach Atkinson
29:40 – Games are Important
33:00 – Innovating Traditional Based Learning
35:00 – Applying Intervention
38:30 – Using the Time Constraints
42:30 – Factors in Deciding His Style of Play
46:00 – Learnings from his Past Mentors that can help Coaches
48:00 – Learning From Brett Brown
50:00 – Learning From Kenny Atkinson
54:00 – Organization on Individual Development
56:00 – Takeaways from Andrej Lemanis
59:30 – What did you learn from Will Weaver?
1:01:40 – Conclusion
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