Coaches Corner: Cheryl Reeve
Cheryl Reeve, who has been a USA Basketball Women's National Team assistant coach for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team and the past two USA World Cup Teams, each of which won gold, will continue in that role through the Tokyo Olympic Games next summer. This past September, Reeve served as an assistant coach for the 2019 USA AmeriCup Team that won gold and was lead coach, in USA head coach Dawn Staley's absence due to Staley's commitments to South Carolina, as the 2019-20 USA National Team posted a 12-1 record in seven games against collegiate teams and an additional six against national teams at the 2019 FIBA Pre-Olympic and 2020 FIBA Olympic qualifying tournaments.
On the professional level, the Minnesota Lynx head coach and general manager has helped teams capture six WNBA titles, four times with the Lynx and twice as an assistant coach with the Detroit shock. She owns an all-time 231-109 overall record at the Lynx helm and was named the 2011 and 2016 WNBA Coach of the Year.
USA Basketball spoke to Reeve to gain some insight and perspective on coaching.
During this time, what type of coaching duties are you doing daily?
The biggest thing that we are trying to do right now is stay in touch with our players. From a coaching perspective specific to basketball, I am just watching a ton of video. That's pretty much all we have right now. I am somebody that likes to look around and get ideas and to look at our roster and see how to best utilize it. I call that planning through the use of video - watching tons of games from last season.
With regards to the players, just staying in touch with them virtually and giving them thoughts around their game and what they can be doing given the limited capabilities resource-wise. We can't get in the gym, so use of video with the players is sharing a screen and showing them things from last season, or if it is a new player, ways that we will either defend the ball screen or the post. That's not all that happens every day, but if you take a couple days and put a week together, that is probably what it looks like.
They have a thirst for more connection as opposed to messaging that only gets you so far. I have really seen the interest in video (calling), so that is pretty cool.
Is there an over-arching principle or emphasis you try and instill within all of your teams?
We had a zoom team meeting just talking about the "Lynx Way," and I would say that there are two things: play hard and be a great teammate. Those are things that we talk a lot about. Obviously, they are pretty layered with what is involved, so we try to teach them that's the overarching thing, and then how you accomplish those things that you want your identity to be daily.
What is a characteristic or trait that you would like others to associate with or recognize in your teams?
What is the most rewarding aspect of coaching for you?
I would say the that the relationships with the players that you forge, by far. You have tremendous experiences along the way basketball-wise. You have wins and losses and road trips and all of that. At the end of the day, I want to get to know our players. It is more than basketball.