What is a Coaching Round Table?
A number of years ago I heard about a coach in Illinois who got a bunch of coaches together to talk hoops. I thought it was a great idea so I copied it and the Twin Cities Round Table was born. All during the spring and summer of 2013 a group of us got together and talked about a variety of topics from attacking zones to handling players. It was a very informative experience – even more informative than most clinics I’ve been to. This is true for several reasons. First, WE chose the topics. We didn’t sign up for a clinic to be at the whim of the speak. Secondly, we were talking with other coaches who had the same experience that we had. Coach Smart can talk all day about his defense, but he recruits the athletes to run it. What do you run with high school kids? It was a great experience and I would urge others to start doing their own.
How Does the Round Table Work?
The basic gist of the round table is simple. Below is what I would do every time we were to have a round table.
- Secure a venue.
- Usually used the school I taught at or at a school of one of the other round table coaches. The cafeteria is usually the best.
- E-Mail the coaches the first time.
- I send out an e-mail to all the coaches who participate.
- The first time each year I will send out an e-mail and invite all high school head coaches and their staffs. After the initial invite I only invite coaches who came or expressed interest.
- Each coach is asked to respond with topics that they would like to talk about.
- Collect coaches e-mails and put groups together.
- This is the hard part. It can get tedious when coaches don’t give their topics.
- Put coaches into small groups based on common interests.
- Have two break out sessions.
- Find 1-2 main speakers.
- I usually try to find 1-2 Keynote speakers. Might be a local college coach, a high school coach, etc. We once had the U of MN strength coach which was fun. I try to vary the topics.
- Send out the final e-mail.
- Send an e-mail to all the coaches giving them their groups and asking them to come prepared.
- Also request they bring something to share. Everyone brings the same thing – set play, inbounds play, drill, etc.
- Conduct the Round Table
- Keynote speaker(s) first.
- Have the two breakout sessions.
- Sessions run 20-30 minutes then switch.
- Have a wrap up at the end.
- Thank and collect the shared material.
- Send out the wrap up e-mail.
- Send out the shared stuff in an e-mail.
Tips and Tricks for Success
The following are some things that I think have made our round table successful so far.
- Don’t charge any money. That way more people will do it and why charge anyway?
- Bring drinks! Spend a little money out of your own pocket. I usually bring a cooler with some pop and water.
- Have white boards available for each group. This allows coaches to X and O and write things down. Also provide erasers.
- Have a projector, smart board, or white board available for the speakers.
- Vary topics as much as possible.
- Invite as many coaches as you can from all backgrounds. Invite girls and guys coaches, college coaches, middle school coaches, and any other basketball junkie you can find. The more coaches you get, the more experiences and information you will get.
In closing the round table has been one of the most rewarding things I have done as a coach. These round tables have been very informative for me and been a great way to build relationships with other coaches. I’ve been asked if we are doing them again a number of times this winter, which has been really cool. This has been a great way for me to give back to the game and coaches who have done so much for me.