Will Hardy shares his coaching philosophy and strategies for turning around the Utah Jazz’s slow start to the season
Will Hardy, the second-year head coach of the Utah Jazz, has a lot on his plate. From designing plays to managing a changing roster, planning practices, and directing games, Hardy faces numerous challenges. In this article, we delve into the mind of this young coach and explore his coaching philosophy, strategies, and approach to the game. Despite a 2-6 start to the season, Hardy remains optimistic and focused on turning things around for the Jazz.
At practice and shootarounds:
Known for his “emotional intelligence,” Hardy excels at managing relationships with players, assistant coaches, and team management. As the players become more familiar with him, Hardy feels more comfortable being himself, injecting humor and lightening the mood when needed. Additionally, having established a foundation of trust and rapport, Hardy can provide honest feedback to his players, both in praise and criticism. This open communication has fostered a more open and productive practice environment.
Planning for the game:
Before each game, Hardy and his coaching staff collaborate to develop a game plan. However, this process is not without its challenges. With a wealth of information available, prioritization becomes crucial. The coaching staff must decide what to focus on and present to the players, as they cannot retain an overwhelming amount of information. Hardy believes in selecting a few key points that will have the greatest impact on the game, ensuring that the players understand and internalize them.
In the game:
During games, Hardy paces on the sidelines, focusing on the action while blocking out the noise of the crowd. He acknowledges that the success or failure of the team ultimately lies with the players on the court. While he may influence certain aspects of the game through coaching decisions, Hardy recognizes that the players’ individual skills and instincts play a significant role. At the end of the game, Hardy adjusts his approach based on the opposing team’s strategies, aiming to counter their tactics effectively.
Offense as the primary currency:
Hardy believes that offense is the lifeblood of a team. If the offense is running smoothly and players feel comfortable, they are more likely to give better effort defensively. When assessing the flow of the offense, Hardy gauges whether the team is vibing and making good shots. If the offense is struggling, he considers whether adjustments need to be made in terms of play-calling or personnel. Hardy engages in constant internal dialogue throughout the game, evaluating whether the issues lie with the players or his coaching decisions.
Will Hardy’s second year as head coach of the Utah Jazz presents him with new challenges and opportunities for growth. His ability to manage relationships, provide honest feedback, and prioritize key aspects of the game has contributed to a more open and productive team environment. As the Jazz work to turn their season around, Hardy remains focused on offense as the primary currency of the game and is willing to make adjustments to achieve success. With time and continued collaboration with his coaching staff and players, Hardy aims to guide the Jazz to a successful season.