Netflix’s new docuseries ‘The Playbook: A Coaches Rules for Life’ shares tips and coaching rules from some of the world’s greatest sports coaches. One of them is former NBA coach Doc Rivers. His deep passion for all things basketball started from a young age. He would say “I never go to practice. I go to play Basketball.”
Here are his coaching rules for life.
1. Finish the race
When asked what he wanted to become when he grew up, Doc answered ‘Pro Basketball Player’ without hesitation. His teacher told him to be more realistic and write a new goal. His dad agreed with the teacher, but added “..look it’s a great goal. Whatever goal you have, and right now it’s too early, but when you finally settle on one, just finish the race.” And that’s exactly what Doc Rivers did.
2. Don’t be a victim
While growing up, his parents taught him the essence of hard work, determination, and ‘not to be someone else’s victim’.
When Clippers owner Don Sterling made racist comments before the playoff game, the team had to make a choice on whether they would let it hinder their goal of winning, or rise above it. Doc and the players were expected to boycott the game, but instead protested in their own way by wearing their shirts inside out (so as not to show The Clippers logo) and went back to playing the game. They didn’t allow themselves to become the victim.
3. Ubuntu is a way of life
When someone mentioned the word ‘Ubuntu’ to Doc Rivers, and told him to look the word up and ‘become it’, he began researching what it meant. Ubuntu is an African ideal, a way of life, the essence of being human. The idea is that a person is a person through others. Mandela and Tutu preached and practiced it with their Apartheid masters to revive South Africa.
The team culture was about the whole team, not just the individual. With this in mind, the team started living Ubuntu, and went forward to win the NBA the year after.
4. Pressure is a privilege
Doc taught the team to run towards pressure, expectations and legacy. He needed the team to not just dream of the winning title, but actually win it, and breathe it everyday. He had management install a light that shone on a vacant title spot in the arena, subtly telling the team that they have to fill it with a championship banner.
5. Champions keep moving forward
Champions fail and have to restart over and over. It’s up to them to decide how much they can take before moving forward. At the NBA finals in 2008 against the Lakers, the Clippers were at a 24 point loss. Doc suggested cutting the 24 point lead by 5-6 points less each time, shrinking it to 18, then to 12, to 8, to 4 to 2. The team kept moving forward in search of their goal and managed to win.
For more coaching rules from Jill Ellis, Patrick Mouratoglou, Dawn Staley and José Mourinho, visit out blog.