Doug Novak

Doug Novak: A Basketball Coach’s 3 Principles for Success

Doug Novak has spent the last 30+ years on a basketball sideline. During that time, he has coached both men’s and women’s teams at every level from JuCo through NCAA Division. Regardless of where or who he coaches, he has 3 main coaching principles he emphasizes: the importance of clarity, handling the results well – both the wins and the losses, and modeling the behavior you want from your players.

Learn more from Doug Novak on The Basketball Podcast

Simplify Your Coaching Principles

Coach Novak believes in simplifying his coaching philosophy into a small number of key principles. He focuses on four offensive and four defensive principles. Why four? Because Coach Novak believes your philosophy should fit on a napkin.

These principles are the foundation of his coaching and guide his teaching. He emphasizes that these principles are the ones that he will raise his voice at, while everything else is addressed with a whisper.

The 4 offensive pillars are strong with the ball, straight line drives, consistent footwork and spacing for advantage. Novak believes in teaching players to make championship shots and to have the freedom to take those shots without fear of failure. He emphasizes the importance of players understanding that every decision they make on the court is the right one with the knowledge they have at that time. He encourages players to focus on the process and not be overly concerned with the outcome.

Defensively, Coach Novak focuses on principles such as denying straight line drives and providing weak side help. He believes in teaching players to communicate effectively on defense and to understand their roles within the team’s defensive system. He emphasizes the importance of teaching players how to lose correctly and gain wisdom from losses. And, he encourages players to be grateful for losses and to see them as opportunities for growth and maturity.

Model the Behavior You Want

Coach Novak knows the importance of coaches modeling the behavior they expect from their players. This is especially true when it comes to handling defeats. Coaches are just as competitive as players and want to win just as badly. However, he emphasizes the need to handle defeat in the correct way. He believes in teaching players how to lose and addressing defeat as the first topic of discussion. Tough experiences are a part of life but they can lead to growth and maturity if handled correctly.

Coach Novak understands the importance of coaching confidence. Players at all levels, including college and professional players, struggle with confidence. Novak believes in reinforcing positive behavior and decisions by providing players with a clear destination at which to aim.

Doug Novak’s coaching philosophy is centered around clarity, teaching and handling defeat well. Simplifying coaching points to a few key principles helps provide direction and confidence for players and coaches alike.

To see exclusive, unedited practice footage and team film sessions with Coach Doug Novak, visit

For a more in depth look at Novak’s core principles and teaching materials, visit 

For more exclusive all-access practice video series, check out


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