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Basketball Training & Coaching Library

3 Scoring Opportunities Against a 1-2-2 Defense

In this video Coach Stricklin breaks down an effective offense you can use against a 1-2-2 defense. It presents 3 great scoring opportunities that you can take advantage of if you execute it properly.

The post 3 Scoring Opportunities Against a 1-2-2 Defense appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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June 9, 1987 – Magic’s Junior Sky Hook

In Game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Celtics, the Celtics had led by as many as 16 points but with 12 seconds left were only up by two, 106-104. The Lakers came down and passed the ball inside to the leading scorer in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who was […]

The post June 9, 1987 – Magic’s Junior Sky Hook appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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June 4, 1976 – Possibly the Greatest Game Ever Played

Some basketball purists have called the June 4th game between the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns in the 1976 NBA Finals one of the greatest games ever played! Despite being down 18 points at the end of the first quarter and 16 points at halftime, the Suns fought back and briefly held a one point […]

The post June 4, 1976 – Possibly the Greatest Game Ever Played appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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May 26, 1987 – Larry Bird Steals the Ball (and the Game)

Larry Bird’s entire career was a highlight film but one of his most famous moments came on this day, May 26, in 1987 during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons were tied at 2 games apiece and the crucial Game 5 was being played at the historic Boston Garden. Detroit […]

The post May 26, 1987 – Larry Bird Steals the Ball (and the Game) appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Will the Refs Determine Who Gets to the NBA Finals?

I certainly don’t want to take away from what they have accomplished this year but is there anybody in America, outside of their home cities of course, who are hoping to see a Houston Rockets & Atlanta Hawks match-up in the NBA Finals? I’m willing to bet most fans want to see LeBron & Steph […]

The post Will the Refs Determine Who Gets to the NBA Finals? appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Alan Stein’s “Great Players”

Here is an awesome list compiled by Alan Stein who is one of the most respected teachers of the game in the entire country: Great players… can pivot both ways off of either foot and can dribble, pass, and finish around the basket with either hand. They don’t have a ‘weak’ hand. Great players… love and respect […]

The post Alan Stein’s “Great Players” appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Curry or Westbrook? Shooter or Scorer?

Charles Barkley has stirred up some controversy lately by going on the record and saying he doesn’t believe a team that relies primarily on jump shots can consistently shoot well enough to win an NBA championship. While we will all know soon enough if he is right or not, this does seem to be a good […]

The post Curry or Westbrook? Shooter or Scorer? appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Takeaways from Calipari’s “Players First”

The University of Kentucky’s John Calipari is one of the most polarizing figures in basketball today as fans across the country either love him or hate him. The most important and interesting thing to me, however, is that Coach Cal’s players all seem to love him and that tells me he must be doing something right. […]

The post Takeaways from Calipari’s “Players First” appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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The Platinum Rule

The Golden Rule has been the standard for centuries. Coach Stricklin talks about in this video how it might not be ideal for coaches to use. He introduces the Platinum Rule and explains why coaches should live by it instead.

The post The Platinum Rule appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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3 Tips for Drawing up Game Winning Plays

Time is expiring and your team gets the ball out of a timeout. You’re down by one and you need a bucket to win the game. What type of play do you run? You run what you saw Rick Pitino run to beat Duke a few years back right? The problem with many basketball coaches […]

The post 3 Tips for Drawing up Game Winning Plays appeared first on HoopSkills Basketball Training & Coaching Blog.

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Latest Articles

Develop a Defensive "End of the Game" Philosophy

Many coaches have an offensive "end game" philosophy that they use to guide their decisions and actions during crunch time when the game is on the line. This philosophy usually dictates whether they want their players to get to the rim, jam it into the post, or shoot a jump shot depending on the time and score.

Those coaches who are most prepared may even have a predetermined catalog of preferred set plays that they occasionally practice throughout the season just in case they ever need them at some point. However, fewer coaches have a defensive end game philosophy already in place. As a result, when the game is hanging in the balance the best instruction these coaches can give their players is something along the lines of "Get out there and play good defense and get a stop!"

Not only does this not give your team any kind of advantage in crunch time situations but it doesn't give them any confidence either and it could actually cause some players to overthink what needs to be done.

Since none of these scenarios are good, consider the following ideas when developing your own end game defensive philosophy.

1. Don't get beat by your opponent's best player. Trap or double team him as soon as he touches the ball and make him pass it to someone else. When he does pass out of the trap make sure one of the defenders stays with him and denies a quick return pass. To avoid any confusion determine beforehand whether or not you want the original defender to stay or if the trapper stays. Either way your opponent's best player cannot get the ball back under any circumstances!

2. Know how you are going to defend the pick and roll. When everything else breaks down many teams resort to the pick and roll and for good reason - it works! Are you going to trap the ball screen? Will you have the ball handler's defender slide under the pick or fight over the top? Should the screener's defender hedge hard, take a step back, or "jam" the pick to completely prevent the screener from rolling? Everyone must be on the same page because even the slightest defensive breakdown can get you beat.

3. Teach everyone how to use their fouls wisely. A foul 80 feet from the basket might not be a good foul in many situations and neither is a foul committed as the shot clock is winding down to zero. However, a clean, strong foul that stops a breakaway dunk or layup might be a great foul - especially if your team isn't in the bonus yet. Every player on your squad needs to know when they are expected to foul and when they are expected to give ground. Likewise, are you going to foul when up by three points so your opponent can't get a game tying shot off or are you going to play it out? At what point do you start fouling in order to get the ball back and hopefully lengthen the game?

4. Predetermine how you are going to defend all out of bounds plays whether they originate underneath the basket or on the side. Switching man to man? Straight 2-3 zone? Show one defense and then change after the first pass or dibble? Think like an offensive coach and then strive to take away how you would want to score.

There are almost any many defensive philosophies as there are defensive coaches so what you decide to do isn't a matter of right or wrong. The important thing is that you (and most definitely your team) have an idea of how you are going to approach those situations long before they actually happen.

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Why Today's Players Are Different

If you happen to be one of those coaches who swear up and down that players today are somehow different than the players you've coached in the past then you should know two things: 1) You are not alone and 2) You are absolutely correct!

In his book "Not Everyone Gets a Trophy," author Bruce Tulban says this generation of young people (which includes your players) "have been nurtured, scheduled, measured, discussed, diagnosed, medicated, programmed, accommodated, included, awarded, and rewarded for as long as they can remember." Now does that sound like your childhood and/or adolescence? It certainly wasn't mine, that's for sure!

As a result most players today possess a combination of qualities that many of your previous players didn't possess. Recognizing these qualities will give you a better understanding of who you are working with and this understanding will hopefully help you become a better coach.

These qualities include:

Overconfident. Because many of today's players have never failed at anything their entire lives they are often convinced that they know everything and can do anything. After all, didn't they get a trophy on every youth team they were ever on while growing up? Yes they did, so they must be really good players, right?

Sheltered. Back in the day kids who wanted to play basketball would go to the park or to the playground or to the city gym (every player knew exactly where to go to find a game), find out "who's got next" and just play. If there wasn't enough to run 5 on 5 then they would play 3"s or 4's. Today's players have been so overprotected and over supervised that many have never played in a pickup basketball game; they've never argued over the score or a foul and have never had to decide whether to go home or to wait two hours to play again since they lost a game. In fact some have never had to make any kind of decision at all.

Needy. Because this generation of young players aren't used to hearing much negative feedback they don't handle it very well when it is presented. However, they are used to immediate feedback and so expect to constantly hear from you about how well they are doing. Criticizing their performance might bring out the tears but not saying anything to them could drive them right into depression.

Now those are some of the negative qualities, the ones that drive you crazy and slow the players' growth and development. Following are some positive qualities that will help you win more games.

Team Oriented. Quite a few of your players have never really done anything by themselves. Even babysitters often work in pairs these days! These players have worked with shooting coaches, personal trainers, strength coaches, etc. and have relied on organized teams to find competition. Working with others and being part of a team is completely natural to them.

Achievement Oriented. It's very likely that the majority of your players have never been recognized or applauded for their work ethic or perseverance. Instead, their lives have been a steady stream of rewards, trophies, and gold stars that they've received any time they've accomplished something. They might not be very process oriented but they are extremely achievement oriented. They want those trophies!

Technologically Advanced. Smart phones and tablets loaded with Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and other assorted apps are the norm for the players you coach. Not only do these things allow you to build strong relationships but they also allow you to coach them up by sharing game video, YouTube links, and detailed diagrams with the touch of a button or swipe of a finger.

Look, I'm not going to tell you how to take advantage of these 6 qualities because everyone's situation is different. What I am saying is that instead of complaining all the time give yourself a competitive advantage by understanding your players and then finding the best ways to coach them! All of your coaching peers are working with the same types of players - the coach who does the best job of adjusting his teaching methods is going to be the coach who is most successful. Why shouldn't that coach be you?

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Never Play the Blame Game

Have you ever noticed those players who never seem to make a mistake? It doesn't matter how many turnovers they might have or how many shots they miss or how many times their man scores or gets an offensive rebound - it's NEVER their fault!

If anything "bad" ever happens on the court to one of these players it's because his teammate couldn't catch the ball, the referee didn't like him, the coach called the wrong offense, or no one helped him out on defense.

Unfortunately, most of us know at least one of those types of players. In fact, this type of player is so common former Notre Dame Coach, Lou Holtz, likes to say, "The guy who complains how the ball bounces is usually the one who dropped it!"

There's also a couple other guys who are just as annoying. First is the guy who played a good game; maybe even a great game but who is looking for some undeserved sympathy.

This guy readily tells everyone "It was my fault," hoping that those who hear him will say "No it's not - you were awesome!" Look, I'm all for a player who willingly shoulders the blame to take the pressure or attention off of his teammates but I have no respect for the guy who does it just to make himself look heroic.

The second is the "My bad" guy. Everything is his fault - even when/if it's not. First of all it removes all the accountability from everyone else and secondly, when the guy does screw up and says "My bad," no one knows whether he actually believes it or not!

The ironic thing is that whenever anyone plays the blame game, everybody loses. Unlike the game of basketball itself where there is always a clear cut winner and loser, those who participate in the blame game in any capacity never win. Why? First of all, the average fan has heard so many athletes and coaches make excuses and blame others that they just don't believe them anymore. In fact, the only people who believe a player when he is blaming someone else for his mistakes and shortcomings is the player himself and his parents! No one is fooled!

Secondly, blaming others and making excuses is one of the quickest ways possible to lose the respect of your teammates and coaches and once you lose their respect it's extremely difficult to ever get it back. Of course, the same is true if you half-heartedly take the blame if it's not warranted and/or take the blame for everything. Coaches and teammates on all levels want honesty and accountability from every member of the squad.

Making mistakes and then using them as learning opportunities is standard practice if you really want to accelerate your development and improvement as a player. If you are one of those players who never make a mistake then you are simply not going to improve as quickly as your competition. Therefore, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making a mistake or not performing as well as you can as long as it serves as a catalyst for improvement.

The key is to take responsibility for your own actions and for your own development and to never, ever, play the blame game!

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