Time Out Pointers For League Coaches

     I hope the previous article I wrote on time outs from the player’s point of view was helpful. This time I will address the coach in a time out. Even if you’re a new player to the league you never know when you may be summoned for a consultation. Veteran players are used to getting called on for the time out. The more you do it the better you should get but these ideas should help you optimize your consulting time.

     Knowing your teammates typical pace, rhythm and style of play will give you a lot of insight to when you the coach should call a time out. Watch your players closely. I won’t typically call the time out as a coach unless I see a trap that my player may be going in to but may not be aware of like a scratch shot or wall of balls where they are likely to get stuck behind. I strongly advise against calling a time out on a player in rhythm. If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it. I had a team captain once who would call a time out on me seemingly any time I was on a good run just to tell me how he would play the remaining balls on the table. I would run out and before the next rack he would comment that he would have gone a different route. Hey coach, if I run out the rack I’m not wrong.

     Coach to your player’s level. If I tell a skill level 3 player to hit a shot with 2 tips of inside English and travelling 2 rails to get to the object ball it’s most likely they won’t have any idea what I’m saying even if they say they understand. Even if I’m coaching a higher level player I keep my suggestions as simple as possible. Save further discussion for another time.

     Praise and encourage your player before and after the shot. Prior to the shot, they may be looking at what they think is impossible and confidence won’t be where it needs to be. After discussing the technicalities I always leave them with “you got this!” or “go get some!” After the shot I’m quick with a high five or a fist bump regardless of the results.

     Never let them see you sweat, coach! Your confidence fosters your player’s confidence. I don’t care if my player is a skill level 1 shooting a 3 rail kick shot, I’m all in on believing that not only can they hit the shot, they will hit the shot!

     Ask your player what their plan is. Chances are fair that the both of you are on the same page. It may be the planned shot just needs a little tweaking. Don’t take it personally if they have a different plan than yours and they go with theirs.

   Try to save the time out for end game scenarios. Few things are more frustrating than watching your team mate commit a rack (or match) losing error that could have been avoided except the 1 time out they had was used earlier in the game.

     Pick the right person for the job. Most leagues allow any 1 member of the team to act as coach on a time out. If the play is likely going to be a bank shot delegate another team member to coach them if banking isn’t a strong point of your own game.

     Well there they are. I hope this helps you and your team put more notches in your win column. Unless you’re playing my team in which case… forget I said anything!