Coaching continuity is necessary
Every time a team changes coaches after one season or less time, it's do-over time for that team.
Players must learn the new coach's playbook, the new coach's communication style and his way of handling the ups and downs of a season. The same is true for the coach about his players.
And for a sport fighting to gain popularity and respect from the general public, the way things are being done has proven to be counterproductive.
In the often nonsensical existence that is the bj-league's way of doing things, the lack of continuity in the coaching ranks is a colossal problem. It's as big a problem as the league's lack of leadership in the marketing, public relations and executive departments.
What's often forgotten, or just plain overlooked, when a team fails to give a coach a few years to build a program is this: Players need continuity in order to develop both individually and as a unit. Sports is often about repetition and a reliance on instincts to make split-second decision on the fly - at quick speeds, too, in the up-and-down-the-court rhythm of basketball.
When the system keeps changing, players have to think about the new playbook, the new coach's way of doing things and the adjustments they must make with their teammates to give the coach results.
In short, remarkably high coaching turnover defies logic.
And consider this fact to illustrate the point: Of all the coaches who have come and gone since the bj-league started with six teams in 2005 and grown to 21 for the 2013-14 season, only two are still head coaches from that first season, but neither on his original team. Honoo Hamaguchi is with the Kyoto Hannaryz, now entering his third season there. He was the Sendai 89ers bench boss for the team's first six seasons. Dai Oketani, originally the Oita HeatDevils assistant coach in 2005, but quickly promoted to head coach, is now coaching his third team in the league (Iwate Big Bulls, second season) following a four-year stint and two titles while with the Ryukyu Golden Kings).
Nonstop turnover for the team leader creates additional chaos in a league that has not stopped expanding, either.
This isn't strategic planning. This is complete stupidity.
At some point there needs to be a push for stability across the board.
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I'm a sports writer, columnist and editor for The Japan Times.
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