Wednesday, May 18, 2016

FINDING SUCCESS...IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PLAYERS

No one can debate the greatness of basketball coach Phil Jackson who has won 11 championships and is a Hall of Famer. He is credited for creating one of the most influential offenses, the triangle, that many coaches have tried to emulate. If you are a Knicks fan though, you are surely feeling the pain these last few seasons. Why you ask? They have the great Phil Jackson. Everyone thought the magical triangle offense would be a game changer and bring that same history of success to the NY Knicks. Herein lies the problem. His touted game plan is not working for his current players. He is stuck in a system that worked for his players in the past, including two of the greatest, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Phil Jackson continues to be rigidly married to the triangle offense, only seeking coaches and players who fit his system. He is not really seeing the players in front of him.

On the other hand, if we go to the west coast, we can see Steve Kerr, the newly successful coach of the Golden State Warriors. Sure, he has the great Steph Curry on his team. But, if it were all built around the success of that one key player, wouldn't the team have lost mightily during the recent playoffs when Curry was out because of a sprained knee? While Kerr is a disciple of Jackson and understands the value of the triangle offense, his players come first. Steve Kerr knows his players. He knows their strengths and he builds his system around them.


If we look at teaching in the same light as coaching, we need to strive to be the Steve Kerrs of the world. We need to know our students. We need to know their strengths and build our systems around them. Kerr didn't throw out the triangle offense, he tweaked it for his current players.


What kind of instructional coach are you? Are you stuck in the triangle offense? Do you notice the strengths of your children and build on them? How are you tweaking your teaching?

16 comments:

  1. Beautiful post friends and such a message every teacher needs to hear. Meeting the specific needs of each child we are fortunate enough to have in front of us is our 1st priority. Their success is the result of our ability to be the best possible instructional coach - and that changes from child to child and the day to day changing needs. I love this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Dr. Mary. This work is definitely a passion of ours; we feel this message of focusing on the child can shift education as we know it. Simple yet deeply powerful. Thank you for reading.

      Delete
  2. We need to know their strengths and.build around them this is a message that teachers can return to again and again. Thank you for writing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teachers like you inspire us, Jenn, to get this message out there. Thank you for reading!

      Delete
  3. Welcome to the blogosphere, Susie and Justin! This is exquisite: "While Kerr is a disciple of Jackson and understands the value of the triangle offense, his players come first. Steve Kerr knows his players. He knows their strengths and he builds his system around them. "

    As a teacher or coach, do your "players" come first?

    <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fran, this means so much coming from you! It seems so simple, but deeply important. We all know the impact of certain teaching techniques, but the power is lost if it doesn't fit the child. Thank you for reading.

      Delete
  4. Basketball reference? Of course! Timely and engaging! Way to go on your first post! I'm following so I can read much more from 2 brilliant teachers who put kids first!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, wow. Thank you. In the teaching world, this message is said frequently, put kids first, but what does that mean? We want to help the learning around this concept be more visible. Thanks so much for reading!

      Delete
  5. Exactly! This is why teachers must continue to grow and change. Just because it worked yesterday does not mean it will work today. Teachers need to address the needs of their students where the students are today. It's all about the little people. Not the about what's easy for the big people!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merle, couldn't agree more. Love that, "It's all about the little people!"

      Delete
  6. This message is powerful! I love how it takes us beyond the importance of knowing our students - we need to know them & then make the commitment to ensure we put their needs first, and do the hard work - the work that it takes to meet them where they are & take them where they can go. I am so excited to watch the journey that is ahead of you both! #inspired by how you have leaped into this adventure together! #shine

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dani, thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. You help your teachers in MT strive to meet their kids where they are. You are one of our mentors...Thank you! #2TLMShine!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Welcome to the blogging world, Good to Great friends! Love that you've chosen to begin with this positive and kid focused message.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tara! Such a fun adventure we are on! We so appreciate all of the support from our Good to Great friends!

      Delete
  9. Thanks for inviting me to your blog...great first post! Justin, I know first-hand that you could always bring out the best in all of your "players!" The world needs more teachers like this. What works for one doesn't always work for the next. The same can be said for parenting, every child is unique. Good luck to you both :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Megan, thank you so much for your comment! Yes, I have to agree with you (this is Susie), Justin DOES know how to let each child shine. He has an incredible talent in understanding and cherishing each child from where they are. I agree, this idea can be applicable to parenting and also teaching adults! Human=Human!

      Delete