Vicky Picott’s experiences and accolades truly do speak for themselves. Vicky spent eleven years as an Assistant with Vanderbilt, helping them to a SEC Championship in 2009. She has had a hand in developing standout post-players and has had six former players continue on to the WNBA and she spent her most recent stint coaching at Wagner as an Assistant.
Put the players first
When The Coaching Assist spoke with Vicky, it was evidence how deeply she cares for the players she has coached. She stressed the importance of connecting with players as individuals first, before you can connect with them as a team. Find out what type of family they have, what their hobbies are, etc. The best places to get to know your players are at lunches or venues outside of the gym or the office as some players can be intimidated by those settings and not feel comfortable to open up. Taking them out of the basketball environment helps them feel like it’s more of a mentor relationship. With the team as a unit it is crucial to find ways to bring the players together by doing activities that they all care about. It’s important to do these things not just when recruits are on campus as well.
Especially when trying to get through to more resistant players, always aim for respect. Vicky advised that if you can’t connect with a player that’s fine, that’s why there are other coaches. However, you get respect by giving respect. Her philosophy with her players is “I cannot do this without you…I can’t work alone.” When players understand that it is a two way relationship and that they are needed and respected, it can help foster a better relationship. At the end of the day, if you don’t get a long with a player you want them to be able to say “I may not have liked her but she has never lied to me and she was honest.”
One of Vicky’s biggest assets as a coach is her ability to develop the skills of her post players. When we asked her what has made her so successful, she was kind enough to share her approach with us:
- Start with the basics with everyone first, make sure and know they understand the fundamentals.
- Vicky teaches what she did well as a player. What moves did I do? How was I able to do them? How did I beat my defender? She analyses these questions and then finds ways to break them down and teach them to her players.
- Find ways to change the drill, but still work on the same action. This allows players to see the different situations that the actions can be used in.
- Help them make good habits. Have them practice moves over and over again that they are comfortable using in games. So many of her players developed the jump hook as their “go-to” because they did it so much in drills.
Do’s and Don’ts for New Coaches
When Vicky got her start in the coaching world, she made sure to execute her responsibilities to the best of her ability. For example, when a coach found out that Vicky was responsible for the scouts that routinely beat her team, she ended up offering her a position on staff. Here are some of her tips for new coaches:
- Be a sponge. You are being introduced to a new system with a new coach, there’s a lot to learn!
- Be able to take criticism. Know that this will only help you grow.
- Whatever you say, (to players, other coaches, etc.) make sure it can be repeated to others. Make sure you mean your words.
- When you get a good paying job, save your money.
- It doesn’t have to be a forever job. Know that you can walk away when you want to walk away.
- Have a strong work ethic and take initiative! Don’t be too stubborn, but keep bringing new ideas!