“Sometimes in timeouts I’ll say, ‘I’ve got nothing for you. What do you want me to do? We just turned it over six times. Everybody’s holding the ball. What else do you want me to do here? Figure it out,’ ”
Gregg Popovich, head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, shared these words of wisdom today on what he says to his team during a timeout. Another quote:
“I think competitive character people don’t want to be manipulated constantly to do what one individual wants them to do,” Popovich said, “It’s a great feeling when players get together and do things as a group. Whatever can be done to empower those people.”
I think teachers need to take this mindset. Sometimes we need to empower by getting out of the way and letting students figure things out.
It is important to note that he does not always do this. He still runs practices, calls plays, and teaches the game. He has relationships with his players including their respect. He also doesn’t do this the first day of training camp, but after hours and weeks of working with the team and preparing them for what they need to do.
But then when they are ready he has to get out of the way and let players play. He is not being negligent but empowering instead of manipulating. Once students have the skills, and sometimes even before we need to get out of the way and let students figure out how they want to learn and demonstrate their learning. They will rise to the occasion if you let them. Having an authentic purpose and an audience to share their learning with helps out too. It raises the ante just like a game does over practice.