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Great coaching requires two important skills: the development of a mental library and the ability to access that library under stress and crisis.

How to Build a Coaching Mental Library:

Creativity and wisdom in coaching comes from the deep practice and study of the sport. Great coaches have an insight into the complexity of the sport by instant recognitions of patterns as well as immediate solutions to challenging situations. Their mind is like a play book of possibilities, options and strategies. They are not stymied by a trap or challenge by a new defensive set.

New coaches can move to this level of complex problem solving through building a mental repertoire.  Learning and study awaken greater understanding and provide more solutions

Here are 5 ways to Build Your Mental Library.

1.  Become aware of how you memorize and build your ability. Memorization is a tool and requires intentional daily discipline. Don't just rely on one way to memorize-- incorporate as many senses as you can. 

2. After studying, take a quiet 10 minute break to rest your mind. Avoid any other interaction. This will allow the brain to encode what you just learned. 

3. Create a hard copy of your library either digitally or physically. Schedule a habit of review. Daily discipline yourself to learn something new and review what you have learned. 

4. Test yourself. Tests are the perfect tool to see if what you know is accessible under stress. Tests can be self-administered. Test your skill on game situations and help your brain expand your mental understanding of the game.

5. Find a mentor. Have someone you meet with regularly you can review plays and strategies with. Ask him or her to watch your practices and also evaluate your memorization plan. Make sure you are devoting time to what is important.

Once You Have a Full Mental Library-- Protect Your Assett

Seasoned coaches have a different issue with complexity.  Navigating complexity on the court requires the mind to have space and rest. An overcrowded, stressed mind cannot remember or recall important information.  Mistakes happen when the mind has been too taxed.  Be intentional about resting your mind and spend a good amount of time not thinking about the game. Interrupted sleep, conversations that are all about basketball, constant study and analyzation can lead to mental overload.  Set a reasonable time frame for preparing for a tough game but be sure to schedule time to rest, restore and allow your mind to be renewed.

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