Change Ad Consent How Long Can Geno Be a Great Coach? A New Perspective ... | The Boneyard

How Long Can Geno Be a Great Coach? A New Perspective ...

-
Joined
Aug 30, 2011
Messages
2,566
Likes
5,872
I just finished reading this very long article in the Atlantic Magazine which seems to bear on the question of Geno's longevity.

The main theme of the article is that nearly everyone's intellectual/analytic faculties diminish much more sharply with age than most of us (especially if we rely on those faculties to make our living professionally) are willing to acknowledge.

But the article makes a distinction between "fluid intelligence" and "crystallized intelligence", and says that the latter diminishes far more slowly than the former. Fluid intelligence is raw information processing and reasoning skill, whereas crystallized intelligence is "the ability to use knowledge gained in the past". The author thinks that it explains why historians have much longer professional lives than scientists or artists -- because excellent historical writing involves processing and interpreting a lifetime of accumulated knowledge, rather than discovering a new pattern in a current situation.

He thinks that the practical implication is that people in their 50's or 60's who were stars of fluid intelligence earlier in their careers should become teachers as they age, and that they can actually be better teachers than their younger colleagues (who will be better researchers than they are).

If this view has any validity, then Geno is doing the right thing and using his talents properly in his current role. I recall that he once compared the X's and O's of basketball to a large Chinese restaurant menu -- one which hasn't changed in 50 years since he was a teenager in Philadelphia. The winning edge as a coach comes not from superior knowledge of the menu or how to make the dishes, but in correctly choosing which small set of selections from that menu will best fit a particular roster. This is crystallized knowledge. Another area of crystallized knowledge is how to deal with college-age women and get them to give their best, and to select those who are most likely to give their best. I think these are the areas where he distinguishes himself as a coach. And I think he is better at these things now than he was circa 2000 (even though he was a great coach then also).

Obviously, he still learns new things, e.g., by watching film of NBA teams and showing them to his players. I wonder how many other college coaches in the womens' game would even think of doing that. He also learns by observation how "kids these days" have changed from what they were in the 1980's and 1990's. He integrates this recently acquired knowledge into the lifetime of basketball knowledge that is stored between his ears. I'm guessing (and I think the article would suggest) that he can continue to do this for quite a long time if he chooses to do so.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
2,655
Likes
3,547
The article is truly well-written, but brings in so many ancillary points that I wonder whether the author was told, in effect, that he has this one chance to make every salient point that he's ever wanted to make to a national audience. Either that or perhaps he was paid by the word. I have a ton of patience for this kind of work, and was personally interested in it, to boot, but I stopped with 33 paragraphs left to go.

Turning to the specific point made by the OP, Geno can rely on his accumulated crystallized intelligence to develop such things as game strategies. However, it's probably true that he, and other older coaches like Tara, are not likely to develop radically new strategies -- those require fluid intelligence that these folks may not have as much of.

One thing does occur to me though, and that is the phenomenon of older coaches, from Pat Summit to Geno, who observe other team's systems to try to learn something new. I'm thinking of the time when Pat went to Harry Perretta. Geno tapped into the ideas of a couple of NBA cpaches, if I'm not mistaken.

Anyway, they aren't using fluid intelligence (they aren't coming up with something new themselves). Instead, they are adding to the library of crystallized intelligence they possess. Kudos to them for adapting.
 

eebmg

Fair and Balanced
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Messages
12,240
Likes
22,884
Maybe alot of what Geno does is not structured x's and o's but relies more on visualization and intuition of how the game should look. In that sense, perhaps he should be compared more to artists than scientists or general professionals.

And there is good (anecdotal ??) evidence that artistic ability can be very long lived


A historical look reveals that a striking number have been highly productive and turned out some of their best work late into old age, including Bellini (who died at 86), Michelangelo (d. 89), Titian (d. between 86 and 103, depending on your source), Ingres (d. 86), Monet (d. 86), Matisse (d. 84), Picasso (d. 91), O’Keeffe (d. 98), and Bourgeois (d. 98).


Finally, Geno excels most in reading people and settting the right environment, Ageless.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2015
Messages
11,333
Likes
12,531
I just finished reading this very long article in the Atlantic Magazine which seems to bear on the question of Geno's longevity.

The main theme of the article is that nearly everyone's intellectual/analytic faculties diminish much more sharply with age than most of us (especially if we rely on those faculties to make our living professionally) are willing to acknowledge.

But the article makes a distinction between "fluid intelligence" and "crystallized intelligence", and says that the latter diminishes far more slowly than the former. Fluid intelligence is raw information processing and reasoning skill, whereas crystallized intelligence is "the ability to use knowledge gained in the past". The author thinks that it explains why historians have much longer professional lives than scientists or artists -- because excellent historical writing involves processing and interpreting a lifetime of accumulated knowledge, rather than discovering a new pattern in a current situation.

He thinks that the practical implication is that people in their 50's or 60's who were stars of fluid intelligence earlier in their careers should become teachers as they age, and that they can actually be better teachers than their younger colleagues (who will be better researchers than they are).

If this view has any validity, then Geno is doing the right thing and using his talents properly in his current role. I recall that he once compared the X's and O's of basketball to a large Chinese restaurant menu -- one which hasn't changed in 50 years since he was a teenager in Philadelphia. The winning edge as a coach comes not from superior knowledge of the menu or how to make the dishes, but in correctly choosing which small set of selections from that menu will best fit a particular roster. This is crystallized knowledge. Another area of crystallized knowledge is how to deal with college-age women and get them to give their best, and to select those who are most likely to give their best. I think these are the areas where he distinguishes himself as a coach. And I think he is better at these things now than he was circa 2000 (even though he was a great coach then also).

Obviously, he still learns new things, e.g., by watching film of NBA teams and showing them to his players. I wonder how many other college coaches in the womens' game would even think of doing that. He also learns by observation how "kids these days" have changed from what they were in the 1980's and 1990's. He integrates this recently acquired knowledge into the lifetime of basketball knowledge that is stored between his ears. I'm guessing (and I think the article would suggest) that he can continue to do this for quite a long time if he chooses to do so.
The study is fairly accurate. However, many factors other than AGE are part of how the brain stores, and allows the use of stored information. Mostly an injury (PTSD) or Kidney disease or general health. People learn every day they live how of if it's retained is the issue. Your terms Fluid and Crystaline were once called Short term and long term memory. Terms change the body's reaction give the same signals.

My less than informed guess says: As long as his physical, medical health is doing well he'll perform to the level HE personally is comfortable with. Then too if HE believes he is not enjoying or wining as he wants he will turn over the lead to a capable young person. Not to worry 10 years is a minimum.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2012
Messages
2,355
Likes
4,673
I think AGE/thinking is all relative. I've known 95 year olds to think/act like 40 year olds and I've known 40 year olds think/act like 95 year old! It's all in the DNA!
Geno has that OLD WORLD persona that makes him in a constant seeker of any form of knowledge!
He is always challenging himself and everyone around him!
 

Plebe

La verdad no peca pero incomoda
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
14,978
Likes
21,977
Clearly I'm suffering the effects of aging, because I'm disappointed there's no TL;DR
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
3,376
Likes
6,479
I think AGE/thinking is all relative. I've known 95 year olds to think/act like 40 year olds and I've known 40 year olds think/act like 95 year old! It's all in the DNA!
Geno has that OLD WORLD persona that makes him in a constant seeker of any form of knowledge!
He is always challenging himself and everyone around him!
Geno is a huge history buff, so maybe that has something to do with it.
 
Joined
Mar 8, 2016
Messages
1,931
Likes
2,946
Two points that I believe cause this to be a flawed piece of writing:
-Too long, too complex. No one should have to put themselves through this amount of reading to gain a few straightforward thoughts.
-Incorrect premise: Writer says, "The biggest mistake professionally successful people make is attempting to sustain peak accomplishment indefinitely." Many of us have had our top accomplishments later in life, even though we couldn't put in as many hours or work as intensely. Building a well understood common goal and set of processes as Geno has done can overcome age related issues. UConn utilizes its Assistants, proven approaches, and key recruiting strategies, combined with Geno's coaching, to make our current set of accomplishments sustainable for many years.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
413
Likes
668
Geno never was THE coach, with the burden entirely on him. He has always had a co-head coach and great assistant coaches, and has built an incredible support organization. Is it too much to say that he has the best coaching and support staff in women's basketball?

He is never going to lose CD. He has the choice of any assistant coaches he wants.

So, he has the luxury of reducing his role- such as recruitment travel.

But, all that doesn't matter if he cannot recruit an inordinate proportion of the most elite high school players- that now appears to be a given, as evidenced by the recent string of #1's and the slew of top 5's that are wearing and will be wearing UConn uniforms.

Geno loves coaching players with great potential, he will remain if it is physically and mentally possible.

Anyway, he once said that his job consists entirely of sitting at the bleachers, drinking a tea...noticing that a player and coach are not doing well with a drill, he yells to them , "what does take to learn how to do a layup?"

Both the player and coach (not CD) get pissed off at him and get the drill right.
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2016
Messages
10,858
Likes
19,267
Geno teaches that there are 7 different options off of every offensive position. I'll begin to worry when he starts teaching 5 or 6.
 

DefenseBB

Snark is always appreciated!
Joined
Nov 10, 2016
Messages
4,902
Likes
7,590
Geno teaches that there are 7 different options off of every offensive position. I'll begin to worry when he starts teaching 5 or 6.
Why, that's still 5 more options than virtually every other D1 team has now-have you not seen Stanford, Oregon St or SC play this year? :rolleyes:
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2016
Messages
10,858
Likes
19,267
Why, that's still 5 more options than virtually every other D1 team has now-have you not seen Stanford, Oregon St or SC play this year? :rolleyes:
Indeed. As much as I like Rueck one gets tired of his high post screen offense. Watching UConn work off the elbow spoils us for all other motion offenses.
 

HGN

Joined
Aug 30, 2011
Messages
3,104
Likes
3,181
Geno has earned the right to coach as long as he wants to. As long as he's enjoying it. And I think he still loves it.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2019
Messages
342
Likes
654
Based on the article, I would put Geno in the teacher, mentor, and guru category based on accumulated knowledge over many years. So, he should be able to perform at peak level into his 70's/80's. Geno believes strongly in building a team culture, sacrifice for the good of the team, etc., as opposed to the latest X's & O's that the Innovator category would adhere to. Its an interesting article, but tries to boil the ocean on a complex issue, which cant be done in 4,000 words, or whatever the length of that article is. Glad I read it though.
 

Top