Valuable Insights into Successful Coach Development with Tom Kyle, Coach Development Manager for Basketball Queensland
By Mim Haigh, Sports Writer – Athlete Assessments
A Coach’s role is always evolving. Something Tom Kyle, Coach Development Manager for Basketball Queensland understands and loves about his job.
His role with Basketball Queensland means he’s responsible for developing some 2,000 Coaches at a club, association and school level throughout Queensland, Australia.
Tom’s passionate about developing people through sport. This passion has seen him build over 40 years’ experience coaching, including the last four years leading the Gliders, the national women’s wheelchair basketball team.
In his development role with Basketball Queensland, Tom uses his coaching and life experience to bring out the best in Coaches across the state, including his professional experience in IT as he rolls out the new Basketball Queensland App. His technical skills and knowledge of the game are beyond question but it’s his expertise in the people side of sport that will make an enormous impact on everyone he works with.
Perfectly positioned to take up the developmental role for Basketball Queensland, Tom was one of three Coaches to immerse themselves in the Athlete Assessments Consultant Training Program. As part of the program Tom took time out to examine his own coaching style through the CoachDISC Profile and with extensive mentoring from Bo Hanson, he’s now equipped to make the most of it.
The self-awareness that the CoachDISC Profile builds is an essential starting point for creating communications pathways with support staff and influencing the on and off court behavior of athletes. Once this is in place anything is possible.
A proponent of development and growth, Tom says evolution is undoubtedly something that the top Coaches understand and actively do. He notes the evolution in technology and its impact on how the game is measured and played and the evolution in our methods of teaching and learning.
For Tom, the most important skill a Coach can pass on to their athletes is the understanding that to be successful, you must keep evolving. And one way of achieving this is by learning that it’s not just the X’s and O’s that matter.
A Coach’s ability to understand the players, the way they interact and how to influence them is crucial and sharing the science behind the people side of sport is something that excites him about his role as Coach Development Manager.
“Becoming proficient in the non-technical skills is something every Coach should work on,” Tom said.
“My role (with Basketball Queensland) is to address and educate on the coaching nuances from profiling to the X’s and O’s and technical skills, player and injury management,” Tom said.
“Coaches tend to spend a lot of time on the technical skills in basketball and not enough on player relationships and team dynamics and culture.”
Tom explained that, “there isn’t a lot of education for Coaches that fundamentally breaks down the understanding of themselves and those around them and how to relate with other athletes and team members,”
“This is why Athlete Assessments CoachDISC Profiles have been so important in the work that I’m doing.”
Tom has been working with Bo Hanson and the Athlete Assessments team since July 2016 and is now a consultant.
“The best thing for me about DISC is seeing people learning about themselves and those around them and this is a key point. You should never stop learning,” he said.
“I’ve been coaching for 44 years and I’m always learning. To pick up DISC with the way Athlete Assessments apply it and see how it can really make a difference and to have a rigorous process I can apply – it’s a real ‘got ya’ moment. And it is extremely exciting when I see that one of my Coaches gets it too.”
Tom has a love for basketball that spans more than 40 years, starting out as a player in Cooma, near the Australian Snowy Mountains at age 13.
“My coaching career actually started as a volunteer. I gave my time freely for 40 years, 30 hours a week coaching school and rep basketball, it’s always been a passion,” he said.
“In 2009 I was lucky enough to start with Wheelchair basketball and I became part of the Australian program as Head Coach of the Australian Wheelchair Team for three years,”
“We went to two Paralympic Games, Six World Championships and came out of it with Gold, Silver and Bronze.
“It taught me a lot about High Performance Sports and really ignited a desire to teach others that to be a great Coach, you need the passion and be willing to invest in yourself as well as others.”
How Basketball Queensland are Using the CoachDISC Profiles within their Coach Development programs:
Basketball Queensland now incorporate the use of the CoachDISC Profile within their Level 2 Coach Development program, which is for coaches stepping up to the next level in their coaching skills and experience to the club representative ranks and higher. Prior to attending the residential component of the program, the participants complete their CoachDISC Profiles and review them prior to attending the in-person workshops. Time is allocated away from the court at the workshops to fully debrief their results and how this applies to their coaching style and working with each other. It focuses on the coaches getting clear about their strengths as a coach and the areas that may need more attention. The ultimate goal with this work is to help coaches increase their ability to adapt to the athlete or coaching situation they are working on. Time during the program is also dedicated to putting into practice what they have covered in the classroom sessions to ensure it is transferred onto the court. It is highly interactive and the coaches have provided very positive feedback to the relevance and usefulness to what they take back to their club or team.
Tom has also used the AthleteDISC and CoachDISC Profiles with some of the teams he is involved with to provide the opportunity to develop this off-court skills for better results on-court.
With a strong relationship with Athlete Assessments, the on-going support and mentoring continues, often going both ways. That is one of the great advantages of working with quality people such as Tom and the team at Basketball Queensland.
About Tom Kyle
An avid sportsman, Tom Kyle played cricket as captain of the ACT team at age 12 while also playing rugby league, rugby union, AFL, soccer and tennis before he began coaching basketball at age 16.
Completing a double major in Health and Physical Education and receiving degrees from both the Wollongong Institute of Education and the University of Wollongong, Kyle began teaching and coaching basketball at Anglican Church Grammar School while also becoming involved with the Brisbane Bullets in the NBL.
In 2008, Kyle and wife Jane became Coach and team manager respectively of the Brisbane Spinning Bullets, Queensland’s NWBL team. At Ben Ettridge’s invitation, he participated in a national training camp in Canberra and was offered an assistant Coach role with the Under-23 national side at the 2009 IWBF U23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship in Paris.
He became an assistant Coach of the Rollers in 2010 and participated in the Rollers’ silver medal winning campaign at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. In that time, he was also awarded the NWBL Coach of the Year and Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association Coach of the Year.
After London, Kyle was selected as the Gliders’ first full-time head Coach and has now led the team for close to four years.
Where to from here?
If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like to read more on coach development, you might be interested to read these articles:
- Australian Football Coach Development: Lawrie Woodman
- Football Coach Development: Rob Sherman
- Video: What do expert coaches have in common?
- Best Sports Coaches: What Level are you Coaching at?
- 8 Characteristics of Expert Sport Coaches
How well the ‘people side’ of sport is handled directly impacts whether the team wins or loses, whether people are loyal to the program or leave, and overall how much people enjoy their sport. Develop the vital ‘people skills’ in your Coaches that will differentiate them in the competitive employment market that is elite sport. Athlete Assessments can help you specifically in this area. Please contact us to find out how we can assist you in transforming your coach development with focus on the skill development that truly has impact.
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