Teaching Basketball by the Millennial Method

by Jason Schreiber
From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
"Helping coaches coach better..."

This article has been contributed by Jason Schreiber, baseball coach at Alvin College in Texas since 2000. Jason has come up with this new "Millennial Method" of teaching players, a method that applies to all sports. He has written a book on the subject: "The Millennial Method: A Modern Approach to Coaching Today's Generation of Technology-Driven Athlete".

Schreiber credentials include a bachelor's degree in sports administration (University of Houston) and a master's degree in fitness and human performance (University of Houston at Clear Lake). Over one hundred of his players have gone on to the Division I level, twenty into the pros, and two to MLB rosters.

Jason was Houston high school player of the year at Bellaire High School in 1993. He played one season at the University of Kansas, one season at San Jacinto Junior College and two seasons for the University of Houston where he was named to the all-Southwest Conference baseball team in 1996.

The Millennial Method

As a college baseball coach, I am always looking for ways to get through to my players. This past season I tried something unique, and experienced tremendous success. For the first time in fifteen years of coaching I was certain every player on my team was on the same page with me. The idea came to me at a coach's convention; I heard we retain 10% of what we hear, 50% of what we do, and 90% of what we teach to someone else.

For me 90% is a big number. I thought to myself I have to get my guys teaching. Then I quickly realized there is just not enough time in practice to have my players teach. Then I remembered all of my guys have a cell phone and every phone now has video capability. Why not have my players teach back to me the ideas I taught in practice... by making videos on their smart phones?

I talked to a few of my players about the idea and their response was "coach you want me to make a You Tube video? We make videos all the time just not about baseball." I really did not want to know what they were making videos about, that was a can of worms I did not want to open.

The good news is making videos is something kids today are very comfortable with. So I decided to use the concept with my team, and what I found was remarkable. Not only were my players learning through teaching, the method also made me a better coach. I could determine if I had done a good job teaching in practice.

For example, I installed a defensive play in practice, after practice I had my players teach back to me their responsibility on that play, by making a short video on their phone. The next morning I watched the videos and could see if the players understood the play. Before practice started, I could correct any problems before the mistakes showed up at practice.

By using the feedback from the videos, I could make adjustments in the way I taught different concepts and could see which teaching method worked best for each player. Although I wanted my players to make videos like they were teaching the world a concept, nothing they produced was put on You Tube or social media. I did not want to provide a competitive advantage for another program to use.

My players did an outstanding job with their videos. Young people today take great pride in making videos. We had one player who really struggled when it came to bunting. Bunting is not a talent skill, it is an effort skill, anyone can bunt if you put the time in. We had numerous conversations with him trying to get him to become a better bunter but the sense of urgency in him to improve this skill was just not there.

One day frustrated with his inability to bunt, I ordered a video. I told him he was going to become the leading expert on bunting and teach the world how to bunt. I told him to talk to his coaches, his teammates, look on You Tube. In two weeks you are going to make a video and teach the world how to bunt. He became our best bunter in two weeks.

The fear of producing a video that would show him looking foolish trying to bunt increased his sense of urgency. In the championship game to win our conference he executed a perfect bunt with two strikes, and we would not have won conference without this method.

We used this method to teach our plays, teach our mental routines, for skill development, and even used it to correct a behavior issue. I wrote a book entitled "The Millennial Method" which chronicles the many ways we used this teaching method and how we installed the method in our program. The response I have received about this concept has been very positive. Coaches are not only excited to try it with their athletes; some coaches want to bring it into the class room.

As coaches we have conversations with players to improve their sense of urgency about learning a skill. We think the conversations go well, we expect when the player leaves the office they are going straight to the field or court and get to work. Our definition of sense of urgency and our player's definition of sense of urgency are very different. I have seen this concept bridge the gap between the two definitions. The Millennial Method increases an athlete's sense of urgency, helps players learn by teaching, and allows coaches to know for certain if our players know what we are teaching.