Thursday, March 30, 2017

Simple Bucks - Celtics Actions

The Bucks and Celtics ran some simple actions that got high percentage shots. Ultimately the Bucks won because Malcolm Brogdon beat Avery Bradley off the dribble down the stretch. The Celtics' top perimeter defender couldn't defuse the Bucks' rookie PG. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a load and a half. He's a mismatch and then some. He was listed at 6'9" but looks bigger and he can play inside and out. He forced a bunch of shots, but the talent is unmistakable. 

The Celtics entered the ball to Horford, an accomplished passer, who can hit the guard cutting around or the two coming off the screen. If nothing is there, the Celtics like to go into dribble handoff mode. 

The simplest actions can create defensive problems. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Different Sets with Similarities and Differences

We create similar actions from different sets or different actions from similar sets. 

USWNT has run this set from a 1-4 high to generate blind pig action on the ball side into an elbow pick-and-roll (or pop) on the help side. When you consider their superb talent and execution, this becomes almost impossible to defend. 

With a two guard front, the initial cut is the same. But create a cross-screen (with a mismatch) and generate 'flex like' action with a down screen. Of course, if you have a 5 who can put the ball on the floor, that's an additional attack. 

Fast Five: Pat Summitt on Respect

Greg Brown's The Best Things I've Seen in Coaching shares ideas from Pat Summitt and Don Meyer. Alzheimer's Disease truncated Summitt's life, but she co-dominated more than a generation of women' basketball. 

Here are a few excerpts from the chapter Respect Yourself and Others. I'm disappointed by the lack of respect shown to superior women players and teams by some (male) announcers and regularly by boys waiting for girls' games to finish. 

1. "Treat people the way you want to be treated." This applies to the many relationships in sport - among players, among players and coaches, between coach and assistant, and among everyone and the officials. 

2. "Make eye contact - a sign of self-respect and respect for others." I had a young player a few years ago who was phenomenal at making eye contact during meetings and practice. I pointed that out to the group at the end-of-season gathering. 

3. "Decide who you are going to be." We make choices about ourself in our habits, our study, our communication, how we treat others and in our self-talk. Be special. 

4. "Actions show more respect than words." Are you the same person at home and at school as you are on the court? Advance yourself today to approach your goals tomorrow. Remodel yourself as a person and a player. 

5. She showed players "how important body language was by putting a camera in the video booth to only watch the body language on the bench." More than eighty percent of communication is non-verbal. Show that you're engaged. We have "mirror neurons" that help us copy and edit actions that we see. Study why players and teams succeed or struggle and find ways to do more of what works and less of what doesn't. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fast Five: Advice to a Younger Player and Xs and Os Bonus

There is nothing cheaper than free advice. I have a patient who's an older attorney who lamented, "we turn gray and lose some hair. We know more of the answers. But nobody wants to ask us questions anymore." 

The rare young player who wants mentoring...what can we share? 

1. "Be easy to play with and hard to play against." I didn't dream about becoming Oscar Robertson or Jerry West. Ridiculous. I wanted to become Jerry Sloan...played smart, played hard, good teammate. Sloan and Norm Van Lier made a good backcourt. Not the world's friendliest man...or the nicest

2. "Be on time." If you want to get attention, the wrong kind, be habitually late. Phil Ford spoke of "Dean Smith time...ten minutes early." 

3. "Be coachable." There's the old saying about God giving you two ears and one mouth...listen twice as much as you speak. Do what your current coach wants. It's great to ask why, in the context of learning the game. Your coach doesn't want to hear, "but my other team plays all zone" or "my other team wants me to be the primary scorer." 

4. "Be dependable." Coaches want to players who come ready to practice, ready to play, want to learn, know their assignments, make good decisions on and off the court. Respect the game; play the right way. 

5. "Be a good teammate." Respect your parents, teammates and coaches. "Never criticize a teammate," reminded John Wooden. Alan Williams wrote a terrific book, Teammates Matter about his experience as a walk-on at Wake. I've never known a great player whom I considered a bad teammate. 

Bonus: a couple of old Spurs actions. So at least you leave with something...

UCLA cut into diagonal screen. 

Variation on 'thru' cut by 1 into screen-the-screener action. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Mind of a Coach

We don't have a cookie cutter game. We have certain basics but freedom to write our narrative. Decisions abound - style of play, tempo, pressure, how to defend , where to screen.

We should be forward looking but have the opportunity to study both contemporaries and the past. What made great teams and great players outstanding? Blend will and skill and cast your own luck. Pasteur remarked, "chance favors the prepared mind."

As coaches, we are chefs, assistants are sous-chefs, and players are dynamic ingredients. We create menus of offense and defense suited to both the chefs and the pieces.

The food and the dining experience reflect our identity. We reject boring, erratic, pedestrian, and uninspiring. Each team we coach becomes a metaphor for our mortality. A meal is transient, finite, unique. We celebrate 'special' meals and extraordinary menus.

Sometimes we cook our hearts out only to suffer a flavorless or burnt dish. Sometimes the ingredients don't fit together well. Occasionally we have a masterpiece.

Sometimes the challenge is to create a special meal from our usual ingredients. For example, maybe we have to cook press break or 'box and one.' We pick the groceries and cook.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Simple Reminders for a Sunday

If we don't have a clear philosophy, our players will articulate that on the floor.

We get the culture we implement.

More teaching, less coaching...

When players don't understand the game, it manifests in crunch time (bad situational play).

The only way to make good decisions is to force and correct decision situations.

Game play is an expensive way to instruct critically. (Tuition is high.)

"Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment."

The coach and point guards can never lack energy at practice.

A blind person should hear the energy and a deaf one should see it at practice.

Details matter. Sustainable competitive advantage doesn't derive from luck.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Coach Profile: Frank Martin

Frank Martin has achieved the remarkable feat of taking two football schools to the Elite Eight...Kansas State and South Carolina. Focus on what's important, how his guys play. Forget about the sarcasm and the tough guy facade. See through the BS.

Attitude comes first.

SI profile. "Go fight for what you want South Carolina to be."

Philosophy. Martin believes in defensive pressure. That translates into superb results in defensive statistics and crushing wins over Duke and Baylor.

Clinic Notes Coaches share what they strongly believe. "The Dumb*ss line, the help cannot get beat, shell drill, players must buy in, win the 1 on 1 battles, fight for space."

Video. What the SC offense does...

1) SC offense explained by Brad Underwood

2) Zak Boisvert shares examples