Good Coaches Adapt
Good coaches adapt to the changing circumstances of trends, personnel. They alter their philosophy on how to lead their teams accordingly.
Gregg Popovich, 5-time champion as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, is a great example of someone who was able to adapt over the years. The whole video is worth a watch, but for now pay attention to this here. (7:41 if you want to watch below).
Gregg Popovich philosophically hates the 3-point shot, but he won a championship in 2014 by being the best team in the league from beyond the arc. The old quip about “Coach Pop” is that he’s won in 3 different philosophical eras: inside out, outside in, and perimeter.
Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England, is also known for winning with a variety of different schemes over the years. Naturally, coaches want to stick with their guns. They have strong opinions on what they think is the best way to play the game. But good coaches know when they gotta change it up.
There’s a debate to be had over whethe UCLA Coach Jim Mora was ever able to successfully adapt himself to the situation.
In the 2016 season Mora implemented an offensive scheme that fit his coaching philosophy but didn’t fit the abilities of his players. UCLA tried to run a power/pro style team with spread personnel. Consequently the offense was stagnant, particularly in the run game, in which UCLA was the 2nd worst rushing team in the country that year.
Additionally, Mora’s final 3 years also saw an inability to stop the run, that never improved behind a bend-but-don’t-break philosophy.
The defense would be left gassed and stuck on the field for long stretches of time. In the end, the bend-but-don’t-break defense broke more than it bent. During Mora’s final year UCLA’s defense ranked 122 out of 129 teams. Clearly, something wasn’t working, and unfortunately the issue was never addressed.