Coaching 101

In a recent workshop by Coach Juno Sauler of the DLSU Green Archers with the coaching staff of the DLSZ Baseball Colt Seniors, Coach Juno shared the strategies that helped him lead the Green Archers to victory in the 76th Season of the UAAP Men’s Seniors Basketball Championships.

Coach Juno shared that he spends at least 3 minutes a day simply talking to his players, one on one, but not necessarily about basketball, he says it can be as simple as asking them ‘Kamusta?’ ‘How are your studies?’ ‘How do you think we can improve?” He says he makes sure that communication lines are open with each of his players, being able to discuss how they can work together to build a better team.

He shares a story about a superstar player who had the chance to make a game-winning assist or force a shot against four guards, but opting for the latter option. He ended up missing that shot and costing them team a win. After that game, Coach Juno spoke with the player and asked him how he thought that play could have been improved, helping his superstar understand that he is part of a team. The player, realizing he should have passed the ball and assisted a teammate, now has a clearer understanding of the concept of team work so in succeeding games, you see how he has transformed and learned to work with his team and contribute to critical plays that ultimately lead the team to victory.

He stresses the importance of communicating and making sure that critical situations are addressed and made clear to all those involved.

Beyond his team, communication is also Coach Juno’s solution to managing outside forces: parents, alumni, and supporters. He cites communication is the key to handling situations that would otherwise get in the way of maximizing the potential of his players. When he knows that a parent is difficult, he dialogues with them and explains his strategy and his long-term plans because he says that by making understand, he can bring these parents to his side so that they too can help make that plan happen instead of badgering their children with goals and game strategies that may not be in sync with the strategies of the team.

Honesty and integrity are of utmost importance to Coach Juno, he explains that if someone on his team lies, there will be disciplinary actions: they will not be allowed to train. He shares that if his superstar is absent from training and his reason is that he needs to study but everyone else knows that he isn’t studying, then he will not be allowed to train because even though he is the star player, that teaches the remaining players a very important lesson in integrity and he further stresses that if he gives in, the team gets put under the mercy of that star player when that shouldn’t be the case. As a coach he makes it a point to be in charge and to be in control.

There were only three weeks to go before the UAAP season started when Coach Juno was appointed as Head Coach of the Green Archers and he reveals that there were a lot of things that he wanted to change but that he also understood that he had to prioritize because they simply couldn’t implement everything in time and it would have been at the risk overwhelming his players.

“Are you here to win at all costs or are you here to develop better players?”, Coach Juno asks because as he explains, the team’s goals have to be consistent. He explains that before he meets with his players he first meets with his coaching staff; they might debate and they might disagree but at the end of the day they will all respect the decision of the head coach because while it might not be what everyone thinks is best, it is important to be consistent, and to work together for the same goal using the same plan so as not to confuse the players. To achieve this he suggests, “Determine your purpose; what do we need to do to win the game?” He shares that he never told his players that they had to win the UAAP Championships this year, he just showed them their individual statistics and told them that he wanted them to improve on things like free-throw percentages; if you used to shoot 55% at the line, then your goal is to shoot 60% now and the effect was phenomenal because as each player improved, collectively, the team became stronger.

Coach Juno explains that he makes it a point to set realistic goals and not let his players experience failure in training to ease the pressure on them and help them perform better.

He gave three simple guides for mapping out goals and developing strategies: Why, What and How? Why is defined by your purpose as an individual, as a team and by your goals. What is answered by what we need to do, and what our priorities are. And lastly, How will we achieve these goals and priorities. It all goes back to communication and understanding what the team needs and where the team wants to go.

These lessons we learned from Coach Juno are not just for basketball, they can be adapted for different disciplines and different situations. Communication, Honesty & Integrity, Consistency and Knowing Priorities are just some of the important we lessons we pick up from Coach Juno’s coaching strategies. Now the question is, how do we apply these lessons to our own goals for ourselves and the teams we are a part of.

Museum Volunteer

In the beginning.

In the beginning.

There are many ways to volunteer and support organizations you believe in and I like exploring new opportunities so this year I started helping make the GASFI Children’s corner of Museo Marino in Malate.

Painting is pretty messy

Painting is pretty messy

It’s an awesome opportunity to express myself creatively and make new friends but it’s also been a journey of self-discovery. I had never volunteered for a museum before so this is a pretty big first; I’ve never had my work on exhibit like this before either so that’s another first; and I’ve never worked on my art in public with people watching me before so that’s another huge first.

They’re all firsts that I really enjoyed though (and continue to enjoy since the project doesn’t end, we just keep adding). I like creating things but I usually do that in the privacy of my room and I usually give my art as gifts to people important to me so they usually get displayed in private places that aren’t accessible to the general public.

The interesting thing about this project for me is really that I’m trying to present the concept of a Union –the biggest union in the country at that– to children. How do you tell kids what the union does for their families in a way that children can appreciate? Well, it took a lot of brainstorming and the guidance of a brilliant Museum Curator, Ms. Lilibeth Cordova – La’O to present it in a manner that kids will appreciate. I’m really happy with what we’ve achieved so far.

It's still a work in progress

It’s still a work in progress

You can visit Museo Marino from 9am-5pm, Monday to Saturday at J. Nakpil corner Pilar Hidalgo-Lim, Malate, Manila.

Volunteer wherever you can, whenever you’re available for whatever you think you can do. It’s an excellent way to show the world what you are capable of and it’s always going to be an incredible learning experience.

Soft launching with some friends

Soft launching with some friends

I’ve volunteered a lot in different capacities and I often get asked why I’d be willing to do things without financial compensation and for me it’s simple: I can. If I can help then I will; if I have the time and the skill, I’ll do it because I was blessed with the capability to do so. What’s the use of being able to do things if you’ll be greedy with your skills?

I usually don’t put price tags on my work but that doesn’t mean I don’t eventually get compensated. Sometimes I get wined and dined, sometimes I get cool new toys, sometimes I get to travel, sometimes I get life lessons, but I think it’s most fulfilling when I get SMILES.

Smiles–now those inspire me. 🙂

Tao Te Ching 17

When the Master governs, the people.
are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.

If you don’t trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.

The Master doesn’t talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
the people say, “Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!”

Chinese proverb

I saw this quote in a video today and it’s very powerful mantra to live by.

I was pretty young when I started learning the ropes; I was in 7th grade when I first helped organize an event, it was a Halloween fundraiser that benefitted the urban poor. The year after, I was the one in charge and we made about 100,000 in ticket sales–it was a huge boost for my self-confidence and I really felt that I had achieved that on my own but I didn’t, I was guided by a true leader.

I remember how she guided us and taught us everything from what to write, who to write to, who to talk to, what to say, what to do, how to do it, she even sent us on crash courses for accounting and other required skills that we didn’t yet have.

I’m not an expert at accounting and numbers still intimidate me but at least I know the basics simply because I was lead by someone who knew how to lead.

When my time comes, and it’s my responsibility to lead (or follow), I want to be able to do the same. I want to build people up and make them feel that they’re doing things for themselves because at the end of the day, I only want to be there to help them realize their own potential so that they can keep moving forward.