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  • Jack Fleming

The Power of Conversations

Famous life coach Tony Robbins said “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” We are so fortunate to have great people in our lives who can influence our coaching, and simply by asking a questions we can vastly accelerate our learning. ‘Why’ and ‘What’ questions lead to catalytic curious thinking, this is where our best creative work can be done. We cannot let the fear of what others think be greater than our desire to grow and improve. If you want go move fast, build a team — if you want to go slow, do it alone.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

Think of Every Conversation as an Opportunity

Consider the daily interactions with other coaches or friends in your life, and imagine taking one question with each of them how many things you could learn. Author of Atomic Habits, James Clear has great quote “habits are the compound interest of self improvement.” Over time we’ve created a library of knowledge that we can apply, at the cost of nothing but a small amount of courage.

Prepare a List of Questions to Ask

  • What do you with your team at the start of a season?

  • What book are you reading?

  • How do you prepare for practice?

  • Could you please send me what your practice plan looks like?

  • How do you develop trust and relationships with your players?

  • What advice would you give your younger self?

Write Down What You Have Gained

A 2014 study showed that note-taking with an actual pen or pencil, rather than typing the information on a laptop, is a way more effective means of learning new information. I keep a notebook on me at all times, which contains all the things I have learned throughout the day or ideas that have come to my mind. Driving listening to podcasts and writing notes at the same time is one of my greatest sins, but I figure I’ll be able to convert it back to readable English when I get out of the car. Here are some nuggets I have been fortunate enough to have learned through small conversations in the past few months:

  • Dave Peters Melbourne Tigers — “Every season do 1 new thing, on offence and defence to expand your coaching toolbox. Might be a different zone or press, or a concept offensively such as drag screens or turn out cuts.”

  • Kevin Goorjian Box Hill Senior Secondary College — “If you learn to gain their trust off the court, that you’re not just in it for them helping you win. They will do almost anything for you.”

  • Rob Coulter Basketball Victoria — Have a game review sheet, that you can use to self reflect after every game. What worked well (players or structure)? What needs improving for next time? What is their game plan and how do we beat it? Best players and ways to combat for next time?

  • Dom Linossier Knox Raiders — Use creative and funny audio, pictures and music during game review/scout to lighten the mood, allow players to relax and enjoy themselves a little bit.

  • Guy Molloy Melbourne Boomers — create a document that defines roles for all staff on your team, including yourself.

  • Brady Walmsley Basketball Queensland — ask a hell of a lot of hypothetical questions, to gain different points of view.

  • Mike Dunlap Loyola Marymount University — “If you don’t have a point of emphasis in your scrimmage, previous to what you have been drilling then all that drilling is a complete waste of time.”

  • Alan McAughtry Diamond Valley Eagles — “When you’re an assistant coach, get on the move. Do not get caught standing next to other coaches chatting, you should be like an opposing referee to your head coach at practice. “

I could go on forever, because if you can take a tiny thing from every conversation that can compound into something great. Go find the great people around you, and ask the best questions because you’ll surprisingly find people are very generous if you have the cojones to ask. Every moment is an opportunity to grow, if we look hard enough.

Want to Connect? If you would like to continue the basketball conversation, provide your thoughts or ideas please message me on Twitter @jackfleming1 or e-mail me at

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