"That's not right." Do something about it. What change do we wish to see?
Like every young team (middle school), we have issues. But I wasn't expecting health to be one. We had eight girls at practice and four out with sickness. Control what you can control. Identify "what my team needs now." I share some actions from last night's practice.
We need more skill, but we need more aggressiveness and toughness.
1. "Basketball is a game meant to be played fast." - John Wooden
We need more energy, more focus, more intensity. We're going to play faster. That begins with defense.
Play full court, full pressure, full denial defense. Change the process.
2. We have to handle pressure better.
Yes, it's hard. Gauntlet requires players to navigate the full court, two versus eight, with each pair of defenders responsible for a sector. Offensive players are allowed one dribble per touch and must learn to cut, pass, and pivot to succeed. The defense rotates up a sector after the offense plays.
3. Layups, layups, layups.
I call it the one-minute layup drill. Compete against your partner. You must score as many layups as possible in one minute. "Be quick but don't hurry." You're scoring, pulling the ball from the net and scoring again. Initially, it's dominant hand, right side of basket. The ball should never touch the floor. Eventually, players need to be able to score with either hand on either side of the hoop. Three repetitions of one minute per player. Players can get into the high thirties...eventually. We're nowhere close now.
4. Free throws.
Charity stripe? More like it's charity for our opponents. "If charity means giving, I give it to you." - Camelot "Form begets function." We need more reps, better form, better targeting. I can't ask players to practice in their snow-soaked driveways.
5. Conversion and outlet. Controlling the boards means command and control of the ball. We're rebounding and throwing the ball away, a net negative.
Coach (C) shoots and misses (oh, the pain). Rebound is controlled and guards sprint to outlet above Free Throw Line Extended (FTLE). Rebounder pivots away from traffic (explain why) and looks to outlet with overhead pass. Guards must catch above FTLE with their back to the sideline so they can see the entire court. After first pass, guard looks for second pass to opposite guard cutting to the middle. Guard should fill wing and remaining rebounder fill opposite lane (in practice, they're more likely to be rim running).
Our job is to find solutions not problems. Be the change.