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Shane Dreiling’s Match Up Zone Rules

Shane Dreiling’s match up zone defense is a combination of defensive principles that he learned from Fred Litzenberger and the late Don Meyer. These match up rules are fundamentally sound and can (and should) be applied to all defenses. Continually point to your man and talk to your teammates. Guard someone – do not have […]

The post Shane Dreiling’s Match Up Zone Rules appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Bob Hurley’s Thoughts on Practice

1. Shorten practice as the season progresses, but maintain intensity. 2. Alternate easy and hard segments of practice. 3. Only emphasize one side of a drill. 4. Don’t stay on one thing more than 10 minutes. Come back to it the next day. 5. Stress fundamentals early in practice and build to team play later. […]

The post Bob Hurley’s Thoughts on Practice appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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“Bobbleheads” Can’t Shoot

When players start to experience a mid season shooting slump they usually look for any possible flaws in their mechanics. They check their shoulders, their elbows, their feet and their fingers. One thing they hardly ever check is their head! Here is what Thomas Emma, President of Power Performances has to say about a shooter’s […]

The post “Bobbleheads” Can’t Shoot appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Social Media “Don’ts”

Several times a year I’m still amazed at some of the things that college and high school athletes share on their social media accounts despite the troubles that others have experienced by posting without thinking. Here are some guidelines that the University of Michigan give its student athletes to prevent potential problems. While a couple of […]

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Back to the Basket Workout

During the course of the season when we are all worried a bout the next game it is easy to forget about skill development work and the process of getting better. Over the next few posts I’m going to include some individual workout ideas that you can either use with your team or individually. This particular […]

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Use Hockey Steps to Shake Your Defender

Here is a great tip from the Concord Storm that can be used either with or without the ball: “As you run forward at a moderate speed, take a series of short, quick, parallel steps. Stay low with your knees flexed. Combine this with a change of direction move and you will have your defender […]

The post Use Hockey Steps to Shake Your Defender appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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How to Seperate Yourself from the Pack

Here is some great advice from basketball Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley who is now the President of the Miami Heat. It is taken from Riley’s book “Showtime.” Although the book is a little older it is still full of awesome insights for players and coaches alike. The ones who can really separate themselves from […]

The post How to Seperate Yourself from the Pack appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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A Closer Team Might Only be a Touch Away

Often times a team’s culture is reflected in it’s day to day activities, routines, and traditions. Some of these routines need initial instruction and explanation and others are so simple and obvious that everyone catches on immediately. One such routine takes place it the UCONN women’s program. At the beginning of every practice coach Geno Auriemma […]

The post A Closer Team Might Only be a Touch Away appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Successful Teams Act like Geese

Have you ever noticed how a flock of geese always seem to be flying in a “V” formation? Well they do and understanding how and why they do it can help all of our teams. First of all, studies have shown that a flock of geese flying in formation can fly over 70% farther than […]

The post Successful Teams Act like Geese appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Physical Strength vs. Mental Strength

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Latest Articles

7 Ways to End a Shooting Slump

As a former player and a current coach I can easily tell you that there are few things as frustrating as being in a slump. Most players know when they are not playing as well as they can or should and it bothers most of them whether they readily admit it or not.

In fact some players are so distraught at being in even a minor slump that they never fully recover and it adversely affects the rest of the season for everybody. Just like kids need their parents the most when things are rough, players need their coaches when they're not playing well.

Unfortunately, too many coaches have a tendency to push the struggling players aside and concentrate their attention on those players who are already playing great. Coaching is synonymous with problem solving and "fixing things." Here are 7 ways you can help a player who is in a slump:

1. Set Goals. Not big lofty goals but goals that can be reached fairly easily. Once those are reached then slightly increase their level of difficulty. I recently advised a player who was in a shooting/scoring slump that she needed to quit worrying about points and take a closer look at the shots she was getting. We initially set a goal that she would try to get a driving layup, a fast break layup, a put back, a mid range jump shot, a three point attempt, and also get to the free throw line. Getting various types of shots made her more active and helped her realize that if one type of shot wasn't dropping there were other options available.

2. Teach & Reinforce Mental Skills. I realize this is much easier said than done but it can be a huge help. Players both in and out of slumps need to learn how to stay positive, focus on the process not so much on the results, keep their emotions under control, visualize, and move on to the "next play." Use one or more of these mental skills as the basis for at least one of the goals you help your athlete set.

3. Put the Player in Contact with a Mentor/Role Model. Take advantage of the fact that nearly every player has gone through some type of slump at one time or another. Contact a former player or a current college player, someone who been through it before, and ask if he would be willing to reach out to your player. He might be able to share some more ideas and tips that worked for him and will be able to reinforce the fact that everyone goes through it - and eventually snaps out of it.

4. Be Available. A player in a slump needs you now more than ever and so you need to be there for him both on and off the court. Under no circumstances can he ever feel that "I'm not playing well so coach hates me." Your unquestionable support of him during the rough spots may do more to get him back on track than any of these other steps. His teammates, friends, and even parents may be down on him and he may be feeling like he's trying to get through this all alone. Be there!

5. Double the Praise & Reduce the Criticism. Most slumps become more mental than physical and too much criticism only reinforces what he already knows - that he's not playing well. I'm not saying you should heap tons of unwarranted praise on him or make things up in order to help him feel good about himself - just don't let an opportunity slip by where you can praise him for actually doing something right.

6. Don't Add Anymore Pressure. I know coaches who have made things much worse by telling their slumping star "If you don't snap out of this our season is heading right down the drain," or "If you don't start playing better you'll never make All League," or something similar. Instead, try to take the pressure off of him. Tell the newspaper that it's not his fault; that you need to put him in a better position to succeed.

7. Individual Workouts. Get the two of you in the gym and work out together. The individualized attention will help fix any minor flaws in technique and I have found that repetition cures a lot of problems. Plus putting in extra time with him will show him that you care, that you have his back, and that you are available. (See Tip #4)

John Wooden once taught that success is never final and failure is never fatal. Use that same philosophy when dealing with players in a slump and he will be back playing well in no time.

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Should You Tweak Your Offense?

Have you ever installed your offense, worked on it endlessly in practice so your team could execute it perfectly and then start playing games only to find out that it's just not working? I have and I'm willing to bet that hundreds of other coaches have too!

So what's the best thing to do in that situation? Do you keep running your offense the exact same way and hope that it eventually "clicks" and starts working like it does against the JV team? Do you scrap the whole thing and start over with a completely different offense? It's been my experience that most coaches do one of these two things but I personally think the best option is to keep your basic offense in place but to tweak it until it becomes more effective.

A great example of modifying an offense to make it more effective can be found by analyzing Phil Jackson's use of the Triangle. When he was coaching the Chicago Bulls, Jackson used his center primarily as a passer while his guards and forwards (including Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen) were constantly cutting and were the focal point of most scoring options.

However, with the Los Angeles Lakers, the same Triangle set was much more stationary as the center (Shaquille O'Neal) constantly looked to score and cutters would only bring extra defenders down into the post. The basics of the offense remained the same but the modifications let each team make it their own and run it with championship results.

If you are in the situation where you need to make some immediate changes to your offense here are a few things to consider before taking any drastic action:

1. Don't overreact prematurely. Don't forget that you are running your current offense for a reason. If things don't go well at first cool off a little and think a lot before adding and changing too many things. If you act too quickly and the new modifications don't work either you'll soon find yourself in the exact same predicament. If the cycle keeps repeating itself you'll end up wasting a lot of valuable practice time working on several plays and options that you'll never use.

2. Make sure any and all modifications that you make fit your player's existing skill sets. Perfecting new offenses in a limited amount of time is hard enough without having to develop entirely new skill sets as well. Your objective now should be to salvage and/or improve this season and save all major changes and improvements for the off season.

3. Simplify everything. It's possible that your current offense isn't working during games because the players are slightly confused and they have trouble processing the required information at game speed. If that's the case adding complicated options is only going to make things worse. Keep in mind that it doesn't do any good to confuse your opponents if your own players are confused as well.

4. Limit the number of possible options. Even if everything is extremely simple, most teams don't need more than five options. In offenses like the Triangle, Horns, and Dribble Drive there are literally dozens of possible options and set plays and so you should choose very carefully. Decide if you want to run things for a specific result - get an open 3, a backdoor lob, a pick and roll, an isolation, etc. or if you want to run things through a specific player such as your best three point shooter or best overall scorer. Making necessary changes and adjustments is one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of coaching. Like everything else, there are some who can do it well and some who can't do it at all. Those who can are usually at least a little more successful.

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What's Your Excuse?

I am almost positive that what I am about to write is going to offend at least several young players and maybe some older ones too - you have to start being 100% responsible!

No, I don't mean responsible in terms of doing your schoolwork, completing your household chores, or getting home before curfew, even though these are all very important as well. What I'm talking about here is taking 100% responsibility for your basketball career and that means that starting now you have to quit making excuses and/or blaming others!

Look, I've been around athletes my whole life and I've heard nearly every excuse and reason for failure possible.

"I'm too short. I'm too slow. I'm the wrong nationality. My coach doesn't like me. My teammates only pass to their friends. I don't have anywhere to practice. My coach doesn't know what he's doing. I don't have anyone to work out with me. I go to a 1A school. I don't have enough money for good basketball shoes. There aren't any good club teams in my area. My track coach won't let me practice. I started playing too late. My parents don't really like sports. I have too much homework. I have asthma. I have weak ankles." I could literally go on and on!

It has to stop! The cold, hard truth is that if you want to be a basketball player, and I mean a player not just a nice kid who plays basketball, then you have to quit making excuses and stop blaming everything and everyone else.

Instead you must ask yourself two simple questions and then be brutally honest with your answers. "What did I do or not do to put myself in this position?" And the most important one - "What do I need to do differently to be a better player and to have a better basketball player and to have a better career?"

Granted, there are some things you can't completely control like your physical size, your overall athleticism, or where you go to school. But what does that have to do with you being a basketball player? Has there ever been a small town kid with average size and athleticism who was All League, All Region, or All State? Of course there has been and if one person can do it or has done it, you can too! The same holds true with every other excuse you can think of. Has any player ever had a great season even though his coach didn't like him? Absolutely! If it's been done once it can be done again.

The brutal truth is that you are either not doing enough or you are doing something incorrectly and that is what is holding you back. This means that if you want to have a better jump shot, quicker handles, a higher vertical jump, more playing time, score more points, get more rebounds, steals, or assists, then you have to quit blaming someone else and start doing something different than what you've been doing!

Lou Holtz has said repeatedly that the guy who complains about the way the ball bounces is most likely the guy who dropped it and author Wayne Dyer has written, "All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you." In other words, the only way things are going to change for you is if you change.

So if you really want to be a player then starting this very minute you must adopt a "No Excuses" mentality. Everyone has to overcome something. Work harder, work longer, work smarter and realize that you alone are responsible for your development and improvement. Then and only then will you have a chance to reach your full potential.

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