Phil Jackson had some of the most unusual coaching methods that even though they proved they work, players found them unnecessary and frustrating at times.
The most accomplished coach in NBA history
When it comes to the best coaches in NBA history, Phil Jackson's name usually gets mentioned the most, and numerous analysts and fans would say he is the most accomplished. When you also consider 11 NBA championships as a head coach for the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers and two as a player for the Knicks, it's pretty hard not to agree Phil Jackson is the most accomplished individual in the NBA history.
As a coach, the Zen Master had some pretty unconventional methods for his players that he gradually upgraded throughout the years. In his book "Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success," he details a few of them that he implemented during his time with the Bulls. Jackson was a very spiritual individual and wanted to bring that aspect of himself to the practices as much as possible, and he understood the need to get players out of their comfort zone.
Jackson would sometimes organize practices where everyone had to be completely silent or have the players practice in complete darkness. All of those things served the purpose of getting players ready for the challenges they would face on the basketball court.
"Still, I've pulled out some other tricks to wake players up and raise their level of consciousness. Once I had the Bulls practice in silence; on another occasion, I made them scrimmage with the lights out. I like to shake things up and keep the players guessing. Not because I want to make their lives miserable but because I want to prepare them for the inevitable chaos that occurs the minute they step onto a basketball court."
Zen Master implemented unusual coaching methods
Coaching teams with several great individual players with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Scottie Pippen, and Shaquille O'Neal takes a bit different type of leadership, guidance, and training methods. Phil Jackson was always trying to be creative when it came to the actual structure of his practices, especially scrimmages where he would make things exceptionally hard for the better players on the team. He remembers Michael Jordan was incredibly frustrated with those rules because of his competitive spirit and the fact he knew the actual practice had such a rigged system.
"One of my favorite ploys was to divide the players into two lopsided teams for a scrimmage, then not call any fouls on the weaker of the two. I liked to see how the players on the stronger team would respond when all the calls were going against them, and their opponents were running up 30-point leads. This scheme used to drive Michael nuts because he couldn't stand losing, even though he knew the game was rigged."
Out of all the great coaches in NBA history, Phil Jackson perhaps had the most talent to manage egos and big personalities on his team and make them work for one ultimate goal. These coaching methods served to build out character and chemistry and gave the players a better sense of who their teammates were and what motivated them. Nobody did it better than Phil Jackson in implementing a system that works for everyone and in which every player perfectly understood his role and what he means to the overall success of the team.