The very interesting Improv Questions podcast (which annoyingly doesn’t have a proper podcast feed) has a new episode up all about coaching. I did a good bit of reflection while listening to this one. Stream it at Bandcamp.

Sidney Goldstein, Basketball and Improv→

Goldstein has a solid fundamental philosophy on developing basketball skills, one a lot of coaches don’t share. Most coaches recruit and play the best talent available, treat drills as a warm up and think that drawing up plays and running their players in scrimmages will make them better. Goldstein believes any player of any shape or size can learn and develop the skill to do anything with regular, proper practice. Goldstein for example says a 7 footer could learn to crossover dribble and hit a jump shot with practice, and the reason most can’t is because most coaches focus on having them stand near the hoop, rebound, block shots and dunk on people… and thus never teach them those other skills.

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I read through Goldstein’s topics, specifically his Advice to New Coaches, and couldn’t help notice parallels to learning and teaching effective improv. Both basketball and improv are active skill based endeavors that for any preparation has to be done in the moment on the fly, where a combination of execution and creativity determines success.

No Bullshit Harolds→

It’s roughly that I want to see scenes where people are not worried about making a game, or making a pattern, or doing anything at all where it seems like they’re doing it because they think they SHOULD. No shoulds. This is slightly different in my mind than the related “don’t be funny” exercises. I just mean, forget the rules of what you think you SHOULD do, and instead just be in the scene for real and tell me what the person would really say.