Developing the right brand of leadership can be difficult for any basketball coach. Here’s a look at 50 Basketball Leadership Thoughts from legendary high school basketball coach Duane Silver. (For Part 2 click here.)

50 Thoughts on Basketball Leadership from Coach Duane Silver

1. Most coaches (most people) are not leaders. You see a leader about as often as you see and eagle. You need to read books on leadership to get better at it. There are born leaders and made leaders, you will need to figure out which one you are.

2. Your voice has to have POWER in it to show the kids you mean business.

3. “You can’t be a nice guy and do this job.” (Joe Paterno)

4. Great leaders really care about their players, but they do not tell them that they do. The players just know they love them.

5. You have to lead like a “MEAN MOMMA”…. Tell them the truth like your Mom did you. Clean up your room, don’t go out with her she is not good for you, get home early tonight. (Etc)

6. You can’t trust many people. Be careful what you say.

7. Go to the Administration and ask them what they want from your program. Attitude on the floor, shirt tails pulled out coming off of the floor. Tell them to be honest with you.

8. Check to see if you kids come from a one parent home. Boys that live with just a mom a not used to man pushing them hard.

9. Kids hurt for five years or more after a divorce as much as they did when their parents went through it. If you are coaching kids from divorce be patient!!!

10. Great coaches are very “DEMANDING” in practice. Most high school coaches do not push their players hard enough.

11. You will talk to the parents tell them you will talk to them about anything about their son or daughter except “PLAYING TIME”. Don’t even let them bring it up. Have a parents meeting and tell them about your thoughts on playing time. (If they bring it up the meeting is OVER!)

12. You don’t have to win every game. Sometimes you have to take two steps back before you can take one step forward.

13. Are you willing to lose a game to make a point? (Most high school coaches are not willing to sit down a star player and lose a game to make a point.)

14. Organize everything: Seating chart for the bus, what you do on time outs, etc.

15. The Head Coach can never have a BAD PRACTICE. You have to be up for every practice and end practice on a good note.

16. Coaching is as much about being Negative as being Positive. The car battery principle…A car battery will not work unless it has positive and negative charges in it. John Wooden was negative to positive almost 50 percent of the time.

17. You need to read the Toughness article by Jay Bilas that was on ESPN. I have it.

18. Loyalty from Assistant Coaches. They are either for you or against you. Keep your eye on them.

19. You must be a “SELF STARTER” everyday to get things done.

20. “Do you see the BIG PICTURE? This is more than a game. Basketball is to help players all their lives not just win games.

21. The players are going to talk about you for either being too HARD on them or too SOFT on them, so you might as well go ahead and be too HARD!

22. Your first year will set the tone on how the players/parents will perceive you for the future. Every day your first year is huge! (Remember this!)

23. 10% of the players and parents are not going to like you no matter what you do so don’t worry about it.

24. “Do what you do” Don’t change offenses and defenses every week.

25. Run your “System.” Running your system is the key to having a program.

Related: Basketball Leadership: Show, Don’t Tell


Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep 1389 The 10 Points of Leadership for Players and Coaches

If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.