Trusting Your Team

With the scored tied and his team in possession of the ball, University of Washington basketball coach, Lorenzo Romar, had a decision to make: call a timeout or not.


With nearly 30 seconds remaining, Romar had plenty of clock to worth with. Many coaches would have immediately called a timeout and drew up a play in the huddle.

But not coach Romar.

He trusted his system, his coaches, his instincts and untold hours of preparation. He taught his players well and understood they knew exactly where the ball needed to be on their final possession of the game.

But most of all, he trusted his players.

By calling a timeout, he could have controlled the final few ticks left on the clock. Coaches egos often take over in these situations.

Too many coaches, even in the NBA, try to impose their will on a game by calling plays for every offensive possession near the end of games. How often do you witness a point guard looking over to the sideline as he brings the ball up the floor?  This style of coaching takes away the opportunity for his players to feel the game and adapt accordingly.

Basketball is a graceful game. Someone gets into a groove. Teams make a run. A block turns into a fast break on the other end of the floor. There’s a beautiful back and forth to the contest.

But that fluidity is destroyed when coaches call timeouts and demand a certain play be run. The last few minutes of games can turn into snail-paced chess matches between coaches when the game should be about the athletes! I often hear coaches step onto their soapboxes and demand the refs swallow their whistles during the final seconds and allow the players to determine the outcome. Maybe these same coaches should look in the mirror first. 

That’s why it was such a joy to watch Romar last night.

Sure, everyone will remember Quincy Pondexter’s amazing leaner for the win. That shot goes down in Husky history.

But Romar’s “no call” is what impressed me most.

Do you have that level of trust with your team?