Legend Series- Ralph Miller: Coaching Tips

ralph millerIn 38 seasons as a Division I men’s basketball coach, RALPH MILLER’s team at Wichita State, Iowa, and Oregon State won 657 games, leading to his enshrinement at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

His expertise came in creating a simple system that focused on pressure defense and a fast break offense. When asked what type of player he looked for, he often said, “I look for a player who can pass the ball.”

Here are Coach Miller’s helpful hints for coaches of all sports:

  • Do not over-coach
  • Be firm, fair, and consistent.
  • Keep practices short and crisp.
  • Keep lines of communication open.
  • Develop a philosophy early and adjust as you go.
  • Explain “why” you do things the way you do them
  • Encourage suggestions and give credit when used.
  • Insert some humor in every practice.
  • Balance criticism and praise.
  • Work with players on an individual basis.
  • Be yourself. Do not emulate another coach. His style may not fit yours.
  • Be realistic. Do not tie yourself to rules. Have an “out.”
  • Learn the game. Attend clinics. Speak with other coaches.
  • Tell and explain. Don’t show unless you know.
  • Stick to your practice plan. Do not spend extra time on any one area.
  • Set realistic goals for your team and adjust them as you learn.
  • Ask your players to devote themselves to improving in the off-season.
  • Do not try something in a game you have not practiced.
  • Help players recognize their limitations.
  • Coaching is teaching. If you cannot teach, you cannot coach.
  • The key word for players is “practice.”

The key word for coaches is “work.”