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Over the last couple decades I have met dozens of coaches who run motion offense and motion offense only. They run the same motion against man to man, 2-3 zone, 1-3-1 zone, Box & 1, Triangle & 2, and any and everything else that the defense throws at them. These coaches proudly announce to the […]
I just finished watching a set of DVD’s that I wish was available years ago and I feel compelled to recommend them to every player and coach who reads this! Whether you are a young player or an experienced coach or anything in between, Better Basketball’s Dynamic Defense will change the way you think about […]
Imagine you are coaching the Los Angeles Lakers and the score is tied with just a few seconds to go and it’s your ball on the sideline. What play are you going to run and who is going to shoot the potential game winning shot? If you’re like most coaches you are thinking that Kobe […]
The post The Right Approach to Drawing up Game Winning Plays appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.
I’ll admit that I’m a huge old school NBA fan and while NBA All Star Games like the one played last night are definitely entertaining, I miss the days when the players played hard and the games were actually competitive battles from start to finish. One of my favorites to watch was Larry Bird who […]
Competition to me is not about beating your opponent. It is about doing your best; it is about striving to reach your potential; and it is about being in relentless pursuit of a competitive edge in everything you do. The traditional definition of competition requires having an opponent. The real opposition is the challenge to remain […]
One of the very first shots a player ever learns to shoot is the layup and because of that it is often neglected when it comes to team and individual workouts. After all why should you work on something that you learned how to do when you were 6? The reason is because today’s offenses […]
The post The Mikan Drill – Still Effective After All These Years appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.
Many players constantly see themselves as “victims” and as a result go through their entire lives without accepting any responsibility for what happens to them. Their happiness and success are the responsibilities of others and so they are often disappointed and everything seems to go wrong. For example: A victim gets up late for class […]
Over the past couple weeks our team has gone through a grueling stretch of games that has required everyone’s complete mental concentration. All of our practices during this stretch have been extremely intense as we all have realized the need for thorough preparation and near flawless execution. After another huge win last night I could tell […]
There are a lot of opportunities for role players in the game of basketball and if that’s the position you find yourself in then great. But for most players, the most fun comes from putting the ball in the basket. While everyone wants to be a good shooter, some players, especially younger ones, have never […]
I’m not sure that many of today’s younger coaches and players know a lot about some of our game’s coaching legends and so today’s post is going to be the first of several weekly articles summarizing the lives of former coaches who have had a lasting impact on the game. The information here is taken […]
Defense wins championships. I get it - sort of.
I fully understand that in order to win games you can't let your opponent score at will but I also realize that shutouts in basketball are extremely rare. Therefore, even if you do happen to keep your opponents from scoring a single point you still have to score in order to win!
Here's something else to consider. Let's say my team is playing in the championship game. If I can score 15 points but give up 5 points to my man then I'm still 10 points ahead. If everyone on my team can do that then we win.
However, if I give up only 3 points to my man (better defense than the first example) but can score only 2 points myself then I am 1 point behind. If everyone on my team does that then we lose. In the second scenario great defense would not win the championship!
Like it or not, the team that scores the most points wins the game and that make offensive scoring ability extremely important. Therefore, you must be able to score more points than your defense gives up in order to win. With that in mind here are the 5 C's of scoring:
Conditioning. The highest scoring teams and individuals are always in great shape. Teams that are in better shape than their opponents might see the game close for the first three quarters and then suddenly go on a huge scoring spurt once fatigue becomes a factor. Players in great shape can play more productive minutes and more minutes usually means more points. Their legs stay strong so their field goal and free throw attempts aren't short. The extra energy lets them get to the ball quicker when going after offensive rebounds and allows them to fill the open lane on every fast break.
Confidence. There's a huge difference between being confident and being delusional. True confidence is based on performance. I am confident I can make an open three pointer because I've already made thousands and thousands of them. A team is confident that they can execute their offense properly because they've done it over and over and over in practice. Being confident you can score will help you win games while only hoping you can score will not.
Consistency. Great offensive players and teams are great night in and night out. The best players don't shoot well only every other game or every couple games and the best teams don't execute correctly on a sporadic basis. Look at the best teams in your league or region. Chances are you already know you are going to have to play well when you play them weeks from now. Why? Because you know they are going to play well and they are going to score. They are consistent.
Communication. Many people feel that communication is only necessary on defense. Wrong! Listening and asking pertinent question during timeouts, demanding the ball in the post, calling out plays and sets loudly and clearly, and raising a hand when coming to set a pick are just a few examples of communication that can improve scoring ability.
Commitment. Most coaches place a major emphasis on defense and the majority of their scouting reports are centered on how they are going to defend the scoring abilities of their next opponent. How are you going to score if the defense takes away your signature scoring move or your best set play? Hopefully you have at least one "Plan B" to fall back on and that takes commitment. A commitment to be better tomorrow than you are today. A commitment to expand your offensive arsenal so no one team or individual can take away everything Without a strong commitment the other 4 C's won't get you as far as you want to go.
It doesn't matter if you are a player or a coach, if you want to score more points make sure the 5 C's are evident in everything that you do.
Whether you have it immediately after your season ends, wait until right before school gets out in the spring or plan it for sometime in between, there are four important reasons to organize a year end banquet for your basketball program. (Personally I like having our banquet a little later in the spring and I'll explain my reasoning shortly.)
1. Celebrates the season
It takes an unbelievable amount of work to put a team together and take it from point A to point B. Coaches, assistant coaches, players, parents, managers, trainers, athletic secretaries, and other support personnel all work diligently to produce the best product and the best experience possible.
The time, energy, and effort spent is generally the same regardless of whether your team finishes in the top half of the league standings or in the bottom half. Hopefully you all get together to celebrate a league or regional championship, but I must admit that there have been a couple years where we celebrated just surviving the season and keeping our sanity!
2. Reinforces your culture
The post season banquet is the ideal time to reinforce (or possibly change) your program's culture. Start by decorating the meeting space with championship banners, trophies, and all league plaques. Put together a highlight video that shows off all your on-court successes and a separate slide show that remind everyone in attendance of how much fun you had off the court.
Invite your alumni, especially the ones who are presently playing in college, to come back and share "war stories" with your current players. The entire event from start to finish needs to radiate success, hard work, and the benefits of participating in the program.
This is why I like having our banquet in the Spring - it gives the players who are leaving the program a chance to decide where they are going next. These decisions are almost always worth celebrating and also add to the overall atmosphere of success.
3. Sets the tone for next season
While reinforcing your program's culture, your banquet also provides a great opportunity to set the tone for next season. Have as your underlying theme "We're happy but not satisfied." Each table could have a place card in plain sight that outlines the future goals of the program and what it will take to achieve them.
You don't have to spend a lot of time working on this area because everyone should be able to get the hint anyway. However, the hope is that every player in attendance will walk out of the building with a renewed focus and dedication to making the program better than it's ever been before.
4. Can be an effective fundraiser
This may not be feasible if you are coaching a club team but is almost a necessity if you are coaching at a middle school or high school. Tickets can be sold to parents, families, and boosters for a nominal price as long as everyone understands that all revenue is going directly back into the program to help pay for a new shooting gun, uniforms, summer league fees, team shoes, etc.
Once the banquet starts memorabilia can be auctioned, a 50-50 raffle can be held, and highlight videos can be sold to make the event more enjoyable while raising a few more dollars as well.
It's easy to have a post season banquet or party after having a highly successful year but don't be one of those coaches who scraps the event after a disappointing season. Don't lose sight of the big picture and remember the banquet is not for you but for your players. And if you can use it to set the tone for next year, reinforce your culture, and raise some money all at the same time then even better!
Not too long ago I had the opportunity to watch a middle school game, a high school game, a junior college game, an NCAA Division I game, and an NBA game over a period of five days. I have watched plenty of games at each of these levels before but never on five consecutive nights and the experience reminded me of something extremely important.
Progressively working my way up the ladder of competition made it easy to recognize how much bigger, taller, and longer each level was compared to the one just below it. Even during warm-ups when every player was on the floor at the same time, the middle school court seemed huge, even though its physical dimensions were actually small. On the other hand the size of the players made the NBA court seem tiny even though its physical dimensions were actually fairly large.
However, the most glaring difference from one level of competition to the next is the speed and quickness of everything. Not only are the players themselves physically faster and quicker but they play that way as well. They run faster, dribble faster, close out faster, help faster, recover faster, set up their offense faster, get their shot off faster, etc. In other words, the overall tempo of the game gets faster and faster as the level of competition increases.
Exactly what does that mean to you as a player? That means just to stay EVEN with everyone at the next level YOU have to play faster and quicker than you are now! And to EXCEL at the next level your skills have to improve to the point where they are even more efficient than they now while being executed at a much quicker pace.
However, even though most players realize this, many of their workouts suggest otherwise. For example, when “working” on their shooting they will take a shot, walk after the rebound, walk back out to the three point line and repeat the process at a very easy and relaxed pace. Forty five minutes later they brag to their friends how hard they have been working when in reality they didn’t take a single game shot at game speed. Of course, the same is true when it comes to their ball handling, passing, and agility workouts, if they do them at all.
I hear way too many players say “When I get to the next level I’ll start working harder, faster, and with more focus.” Wrong! Those types of players usually don’t make it to the next level and if they do get lucky to get a spot, they waste their first year trying to adjust to the increased intensity. Just look at how many “good” eighth graders can’t make a lower level high school team. Why doesn’t every freshman make an impact on his college team and every rookie dominate the NBA? Critics usually say it’s because they’re not “good” enough but in reality those players just aren’t as effective as they used to be now that they are forced to play faster.
If you have dreams of playing at the next level and continuing your career as long as possible then don’t wait until it’s too late to start preparing. Whenever you are attending club practices, individual skill workouts, or pickup games at the park, start doing everything faster and with much more intensity. Your ability to execute efficiently at an increased speed could very well be the difference between you being on the court and being on the couch when next season rolls around.
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