EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Exactly a month after he announced his retirement as a player, Jason Kidd held his first practice as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets with the players on his team's Summer League roster.
"I guess holding the whistle might be the weirdest thing," Kidd said Wednesday, the first day of the team's three-day minicamp. "Normally, as a player, you're out there competing trying to win and get better, so that's probably the weirdest part is just holding the whistle all practice."
Kidd will coach his first game on Sunday, when the Nets open their Summer League schedule against the Detroit Pistons in Orlando.
"I'm [more] observant right now," Kidd said. "Someone brought up it could be sort of a 'summer school' type situation where I'm learning from [some] of the best, so right now it's observing and giving input and understanding and getting comfortable with the coaching aspect of it."
Normally head coaches don't coach in the Summer League, but Kidd is in his first year and needs the experience.
"It's a little different being called Coach or looked upon as the head coach, that will take a little time. But I think we'll get there and be comfortable with that situation," Kidd said.
Kidd said he was a bit nervous at his first practice.
"I had nerves when I was a player in every game. Someone told me, 'If you don't get nervous, you don't care.' So yeah, I was nervous, because I care and I want to put guys in position to be successful offensively and defensively," Kidd said.
Kidd leaned a lot on his lead assistant and former coach, Lawrence Frank.
"It's been great. He's a guy I can lean on, ask him any question, he pretty much has all the answers. I'm happy he's on board," Kidd said. "He's been a head coach in this league, he's been an assistant so he understands what it takes to be successful. I'm very lucky to have a special guy like that."
Said second-year point guard Tyshawn Taylor, "Coach Frank did a lot of the organization and setting us up and running a lot of drills and stuff with us. [Kidd] kind of sat back and watched and was throwing his points in there when he could like a point guard would. He's still in that point guard role I think, but like I said I think he's a natural leader, so it's easy for him to do this."
Kidd discussed what being a head coach is all about.
"It's about teaching and putting guys in a position to be successful," Kidd said. "Making sure that the guys here understand [the game] and make the game as easy as possible."
As far as X's and O's are concerned, Kidd said, "I plan on drawing up plays, but if someone has something to bring to the table, I don't mind having someone else draw up a play: We're a team."
Because of the NBA moratorium, Kidd could not address the team's pending additions of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. But when asked if he believes expectations are higher, Kidd responded, "They were always high, and as a competitor you have one goal, and that's to try to win a championship."
Kidd's biggest challenge may be trying to manage all the different types of personalities and big names he's going to have in the locker room.
"There's only one name, and that's the Nets," Kidd said. "That's a big name, so yes, that's the way I'm gonna coach the guys: It's about the front of the jersey, not the back."
Kidd was hired as head coach the Nets on June 13, just 10 days after announcing his retirement.
"It was a great practice," Kidd said. "I think everybody's excited to get out on the court. I thought the morning session went well. We have to start somewhere, but we've got a long ways to go."
Kidd was asked what he wanted to get out of the next two weeks.
"For these guys to get better, and for me to get better as a head coach," he replied. "There's a lot that I have to learn still, and yes I'm going to make mistakes, but that's the nature of this business so I'm looking forward to that.
Said first-round pick Mason Plumlee: "You know he has a lot of knowledge, he has a great understanding of the game, so you just take his word for it."
"He's a natural leader, so he's comfortable in this role and he makes us feel comfortable around him," Taylor said.
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.