"I'll make it...."

Posted by jlubans on April 14, 2010

Hoosiers, the 1986 movie, offers some excellent coaching insights.

The story is about the Hickory Huskers, an underdog basketball team from a tiny Indiana high school that makes it all the way to the state championship tournament.

As the embedded video shows, the championship game is tied and down to the last shot. Gene Hackman, the coach, calls a time out. In the huddle Hackman prescribes a play that uses the best shooter as a decoy and gives the ball to someone else to take the last shot. You can tell from the player’s expressions they don’t agree with Hackman’s decision, but no one says anything – until the star player speaks up, “I’ll make it.” The coach, with nary a skipped beat, re-considers and says OK.

Here the Coach is the learner and is able to recognize the better idea, at least that it is for this team, at this time. Whenever I see this scene – the players huddled around the coach – in a standing room only crowd – I wonder about how a manager gets a staff to speak up, to speak up when the pressure is on to say nothing, to go with the loudest voice or the most authoritative voice. What qualities did this coach bring to the team that enabled one of the players to speak up and, in the end, to help him be a better coach?

If you have seen Hoosiers, what's your favorite coaching part? One of mine is at at 2:36 mark of this selection - the opposing coach consoling the player who was covering Jimmie.

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