By SportCoach

Keys to Self Improvement for Coaches

Discover our new guest, Kevin Eastman talking about keys to
self-improvement for coaches
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by Kevin Eastman (Former NBA Coach & Executive with the Boston Celtics -NBA Champion at 2008 and L.A. Clippers)

I spend a lot of time studying coaches and I know SPORTCOACH has done a lot to help. It is something they strongly believe in and something I believe in as well. Actually, it’s something I’ve done for many years, and even though I’m not coaching now, I find that it helps me develop the messages I share with the audiences I speak to. 

Before the Covid pandemic I was speaking regularly, doing 70+ presentations each year to corporate teams, leadership groups, sales teams, and sports teams at the college and professional levels. As I study coaches at all levels around the country, it’s interesting to figure out what makes them successful — not just the common characteristics, but some subtleties that separate the best. Let me throw out a few things to get you thinking about where you fall in each of a few key areas a successful coach needs. Let’s talk about keys to self-improvement for coaches.


A successful coach must have the knowledge and the continued interest in keeping up with new trends, better ways of doing things, new ways to make his or her program more efficient, as well as those little things that just might make the difference in a given season. They are knowledge seekers and knowledge appliers


Coaching is as much about dealing with people (players) as it is about knowing how to teach the game. Without your players believing and trusting in what you’re teaching, there will be no success. Invest the time and energy in developing strong relationships with all those who are part of your program. 

The old axiom definitely applies: «Players don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.» 

Kevin Eastman and Doc Rivers in a NBA game
Kevin Eastman and Doc Rivers


Every team at every level has problems. Finding a way to deal with and fix a problem is the key. It’s not about yelling and screaming and hoping the problem disappears. It has more to do with the ability to find out what the problem actually is, breaking down the problem, thinking about how to best fix it, and having the relationship that will ensure that the parties involved will listen to you and trust that you can help fix it.

Players don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Kevin Eastman


Coaching is about making adjustments. You have a plan for the game and the other coach makes an adjustment; now you have to make an adjustment. In basketball you have to be prepared to make very important decisions with very little time to make them. It comes down to having the poise under pressure, and that comes from having spent the time to think through every possible decision that may come up in a game.

Doc Rivers (left), Armond Hill (center) and Kevin Eastman (right)
Doc Rivers (left), Armond Hill (center) and Kevin Eastman (right)

The key is to put the knowledge into a system that you believe in, and, most importantly, a system that you can teach.

Kevin Eastman


This is an area that separates the successful from the rest. There are many coaches who know a lot about the game but can’t seem to get the players to do what they want done. The key is to put the knowledge into a system that you believe in, and, most importantly, a system that you can teach. Just having the knowledge — without the ability to transfer it to the players — is a recipe for frustration and failure

Kevin Eastman sitting next to Kevin Garnet
Kevin Eastman and Kevin Garnett


Put some thought to these things as it is always a good idea to cross check yourself throughout the year. What areas can you improve in? How will you implement these changes for yourself or your team? We always asked our players to come back from the off-season as improved players, and continuously improve during the season. So if it’s important enough for our players to do then we should demand the same of ourselves!

Twitter: @kevineastman


Thank you coach Eastman for your article about keys to self-improvement of coaches and we hope to see you soon!

Recommended training: Scout Procoach

Recommended post: The coach’s vocation

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