Coach Quin Snyder: Communication and Development

August 20th, 2014 | by Laura Thompson

Elsa/Getty Images

Listening to this recent interview with Quin Snyder, I came away so impressed with a few things:

  • He’s incredibly articulate. You’d expect that from someone with a J.D./M.B.A., but it’s still wonderfully refreshing to listen to him in an interview. He gives insightful answers to questions, and gives more details and specifics than I’m used to hearing from a coach.
  • He’s put a lot of thought into coaching. Any coach who writes pages upon pages about pick-and-roll defense is something who has spent a lot of time analyzing all possible angles of a play, literally and figuratively.
  • You can tell he places a lot of value on communication and interpersonal relationships. From Gordon Hayward discussing his chats with Coach Q (having nothing to do with basketball, but everything to do with Gordon as a person and his life), to DeMarre Carroll talking about Snyder’s interest in his game’s improvement, and how Snyder was the first coach to really help him develop specific aspects of his game.
  • Development. This is something Jazz fans have been hearing about for years, but it feels like Snyder is a coach who will practice what he preaches. He talked about how, with no disrespect to the college, the NBA game agrees with him a bit more, and part of that is that, if you draft a player, you have him for at least 4-5 years, and potentially longer if offer sheets are matched when the player’s restricted.

I want to especially focus on the last two points: communication, interpersonal relationships, and trust; and development.

Communication, interpersonal relationships, and trust

Snyder was asked, “How do you get guys to trust?” He responded by saying, in part, that it’s going to require faith on the players’ part. He’s going to ask for an opportunity, he’s going to be real, and he’s going to show them who he is. “I think the biggest thing is to try not to force it.” It takes a lot of inner security and confidence within oneself to say that–and mean it.

Where he really impressed me is by saying, “Then it’s up to you, the things you’re going to say and coach them with integrity. And if you make a mistake–and you will–‘Hey, I was wrong.'”

That humility and that willingness to own up to mistakes can be a powerful motivator for the players and can show them how serious Snyder is about developing a relationship of trust with each of the players. Any time someone genuinely apologizes to you for an error on his or her part, it can’t help but provide an opportunity for the relationship to grow stronger or deepen.

Ever since his hire, Snyder has discussed how much coaching is about teaching and how you have to really love teaching in order to be an effective coach.


I’m a bit of a nerd, so I love definitions. Here are some of the definitions for “develop”: bring out the capabilities or possibilities of; bring to a more advanced or effective state: to develop natural resources; to develop one’s musical talent.

2. to cause to grow or expand: to develop one’s muscles.

One of the frustrations many Jazz fans have had over the last few years is that we never really got to know exactly what we have in the Core 4 of Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors, and Alec Burks. Whether sporadic playing time, being asked to play a different position, being shuffled in between the starting lineup and coming off the bench, or being stuck behind a veteran a couple years shy of retirement (and a couple years past effectiveness?), we still don’t know what we have.

Enter Snyder. Ideally, given all his talk about love of player development (and DeMarre Carroll’s discussion of Snyder’s effect ON his development), we’ll begin to see the current roster shaped to a more advanced or effective state. We’ll see the capabilities of the players more than we saw before.

Will we see examples those definitions above? Will we see Enes Kanter given the green light–and will he have the range–to shoot threes? Will Alec Burks be more creative on offense–while still working within an offense? Will Gordon Hayward find the offensive load more balanced and spread among teammates so he can be the jack-of-all-trades player at which he excels? Will Derrick Favors be able to develop more of a two-way game, and perhaps a go-to move?

So, Jazz fans, are you feeling a difference in discussion from Quin Snyder? What do you think will be his forte?

Laura Thompson

Laura Thompson

Laura was a Jazz fan since diapers, even growing up in California. Her favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach--though possibly not in that order.
Laura Thompson

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  1. LKA says:

    Kind of like waking up from comma. From day one last year I think the fans all felt like they were in jail and no one would bail them out. Bail has been paid and we are now all free.. Looks like a bright sunny day in the high seventies to me..

  2. cw says:

    I think Snyder will be a better coach than Corbin, but I think there is also a lot of confirmation bias/wishful thinking amongst Jazz fans. I don’t think the core 5 are suddenly (or even eventually) going to become different (or even much better) players because Snyder rubs them down with his magic development sauce.

    Most fans, including myself, don’t know what happens at NBA practices. When they talk about development, I don’t think they really have any specific idea of what that is. Some teams have reputations for developing players and some don’t. When I look at the Spurs though, who have the best reputation for developing players, I see a team that has 3-4 core guys and then brings in specialists to fill certain roles. They get credit for “developing” guys like Danny Green but Danny Green got cut about four times before he stuck. I could be totally wrong on this, but that seems to me like he had to keep working until he could do what they wanted, not like the kept him on the team and nurtured him.

    Another thing. The only time NBA teams really have for development is training camp. From what I have heard there is very little time for practice during the regular season, and it seems to me that most of that time would be devoted to working on any plays and systems and preparing for the next opponent. So how long are training camps? A month? How much development can you do in that time?

    So I just don’t think there is going to be much more development this year than in the past, and I don’t think it’s going to have any real noticable effect. The Jazz had development coaches under Corbin, all the young guys played lots of minuets. They are pretty much, with maybe the exception of Burkes, who they are.

  3. Mewko says:

    I’m so ready for this season, one of the core four (or Trey Burke) can have a breakout season. There will be competition for the starting spot, which can motivate everyone. Favors will still have Alex Jensen on the coaching staff, so he can still grow, and this year his teammates will have more effort on defense. I’m Loving It!

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