A coach will develop their coaching philosophy over a number of years and initially it will be very much impacted by their experiences as a player (if applicable), of other coaches that they have observed or worked with (including from other sports) and of successful teams that they have observed.

With young teams, the coaching philosophy should focus on long term development of players – giving them all the opportunity to play “post” and “perimeter” and focusing on principles of offensive and defensive movement and spacing rather than “set plays”.

However, with adult teams the coach must consider factors such as:

  1. What tempo do they prefer the team to play (offensively and defensively)?
  2. Do they wish to utilise post play?
  3. How do they wish to defend specific situations (e.g. “pick and roll”)?
  4. What “risk profile” do they want for the team (e.g. pressure defence will at times present the opponent with open lay-ups)?

The skills and attributes of players on the team will impact upon the team’s playing style. If the coach has the ability to recruit specific players they can recruit toward being able to play a certain style, however it may still take a number of seasons before they have the team they fully desire.

Other factors that will influence a coach’s philosophy are:

  • how comfortably they are able teach various aspects of the game;
  • the degree of control they want over what their team does;
  • the development stage of the players they are coaching;
  • how the coach was taught to play themselves.

Some coaches adopt a defensively-minded philosophy – preferring to focus first on restricting an opponent from scoring. Other coaches have an offensively-minded philosophy, focusing on the team’s ability to score. Neither philosophy is right or wrong and what is most important is the coach’s ability to instruct their team in how they want the game to be played.