Los Angeles Sparks Coach Derek Fisher on the Her Hoop Stats Podcast

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This week on the Her Hoop Stats podcast, John Liddle chatted with Los Angeles Sparks head coach Derek Fisher about starting the WNBA season in Bradenton, the unique challenge of coaching in a single-site environment and more. 

Read the highlights from the conversation below and listen to the entire episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or wherever else you get your podcasts.

Episode Highlights

On getting ready for the season in the bubble:

I think weird is a word, sometimes, that you think of. I think abnormal, challenging. But at the same time, like many things in life, you also have to work to find the opportunities [and] the things that can be or are positive about an experience, although it’s something that you’ve never done before. We’re trying our best to respect the fact that we still are in a position where we’re involved in the game of basketball and this is our job. We work at a game, and there are many people around the country and around the world that are without any kind of job and don’t have an opportunity to go to work, even if it is in the bubble. We’re trying to keep a thankful and grateful mindset as well. 

On using this challenge to become a better coach:

One, I think being in the WNBA to start with, as a coach there’s a level of engagement that is required even as a head coach, due to what we hope will be growing resources one day, but a limitation in the amount of staff and the money that can be spent on the type of staff and resources and facilities and things that you need to really operate as an elite sports team. You have to wear more than just one hat as a coach in the WNBA, regardless of whether you’re a head coach or an assistant coach. ... I think that has accelerated the learning curve for me compared to my year-and-a-half, two years [as an NBA head coach] in New York. When you’re a head coach in the NBA, it’s different. Here, in this situation in 2020, it’s even more of a wearing multiple hats type of experience for all of us. We’re all dealing with rosters; certain players have opted out. You’re at IMG Academy; you only have a certain amount of coaches [and] a certain amount of staff. You’re not at your normal training facilities. You’re in a hotel for three months. The whole thing is different, and it forces you to communicate and problem solve together in different ways than you would in a normal season. Those are things that are good to grow in as a coach as well. 

On the impact of not having to travel this season:

I do believe that there can be some gains from not having to travel and be on and off airplanes and changing time zones. The level of inflammation and pressure that it creates in the body of any person, but on top of when you’re an athlete and you’re competing hard and you’re on and off airplanes consistently, it does intensify the normal levels of inflammation that we all have in our bodies. When you remove that from the process, I think it does help and aid in some recovery and being able to perform on a more consistent basis. But if you’re playing four games in seven days, even if you’re not traveling, you’re playing against the best basketball players in the world. You’re still going to get worn down. We’re going to have to be smart about the way we prepare and allow our players to recover in between games. We’re still going to have to bring it. As long as there is a season and the games are on the schedule, we’re going to have to find a way to get it done, regardless of how many days with travel [or] without travel. We’ll see, but everybody will be in the same boat, and nobody can complain, really, about the structure of it. We’ll all be dealing with the same thing. 


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Thanks for reading the Her Hoop Stats Newsletter. If you like our work, be sure to check out our stats site, our podcast, and our social media accounts on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also buy Her Hoop Stats gear, such as laptop stickers, mugs, and shirts!