"Little things make big things happen." - John Wooden
HoopCoach shares thoughts about key possessions. Do our players understand what changes outcomes? Avoidable errors inform results. Players need to understanding winning and losing plays. Here are just a few opportunities for change that happen most games.
The opening tap. We should never allow a hoop off of a tap play. We should sometimes score off the tap. Net-net, we should always come out ahead. But it only happens once a game...except with overtime.
Failed block outs. Years ago I saw a game where the home team failed to block out the first two defensive possessions, allowing putbacks and the visitor to go up 4-0. The opponent had not won in our gym for twenty years. The locals lost by two and fans lamented a failed possession at the end. The team gave away four points in the first minute.
Bad screens (offensive fouls). A hip check is not a screen. Flying elbows are not screens. The screener is the second cutter. The screener sacrifices her team's and her chance to score through poor discipline and poor technique.
One bad shot (shot turnovers). If we score a layup (or great postup) as 4, excellent shot 3, contested good shot 2, bad shot 1, and turnover as 0, what is our average possession over a quarter or a game? We should want mostly 3s and 4s, realizing it's impossible to take turnovers to zero.
Bad fouls. "Foul for profit," according to Kevin Sivils. Think about the couple of bad shots that get fouled every game (sometimes it's worse). Don't foul jump shots or threes. Never reward bad decisions by opponents.
Turnovers (boundary calls, three seconds, perimeter travels). We'll never be good enough that we can give away possessions.
Strategic blunders at the end of quarters. Every quarter the final possessions offers a potential (+3,-3) six point risk-reward. Years ago in a state tournament semifinal game (Boston Garden), our high school team led 15-7 during the final thirty seconds of the first quarter. The team shot early, missed and the opponent scored a three at the horn. The opponent scored the first hoop of the second quarter, and an eight point lead evaporated to three in under thirty seconds. Everyone must be on the same page with situational basketball.
Don Meyer's words echo through locker rooms, "what is unacceptable in defeat is unacceptable in victory." Successful teams put themselves in winning positions by understanding the game and maximizing each offensive and defensive possession.
Lagniappe: High Performance Behaviors
What skill creates below average payrolls and above average performance? Assists. GSW was about 30 percent higher than the 'coffin corner' teams in assists (cooperation).
"Cooperation...is the essence of teamwork...but always involves a sacrifice."
More individuals points correlates 40 percent greater than any other statistics with pay.
"People typically active in ways they believe will benefit themselves."
Do you fear disappointment or humility? Penalty shooters are vilified for shooting at the middle of the goal, although it increases their chances to score.
"Systems reward rational responses."
How did the USWNT (soccer) outperform for years? The team played for a higher calling (than winning) but to achieve gender equality through sports. "They also played to dominate the game." The coaches gave as much praise to the 20th player who kept the star player functioning.
They had a concept called, "Walk in others' shoes." They understood each others' roles.