Basketball genie: Instill top ideas into your players for summer. What would they be? Share your best idea, the concept that belongs on their "big ideas" mental poster.
1. "Basketball is sharing." - Phil Jackson
The best players make everyone around them better. They create an edge, have energy and energize teammates, and execute the game (4 E's).
2. Everyone can't be a great player. Everyone can be a great teammate. You choose to be a great teammate. You choose the team over yourself, the team over minutes, the team over your numbers. You listen to the coaches and not the thousand other voices in your head.
3. "Movement kills defense" (ball and player movement). Movement manifests in a multitude of ways - transition, conversion (from defense to offense), driving, passing (give-and-go, ball reversal), relocation (drive and kick). Remind players, "the ball is a camera." If you want it to see you, relocate.
4. Separate and finish. Villanova's national championship team builds off catch to shoot. You are most open at the catch but must have the skill and decision-making ken to know how and when. Catch-and-shoot scores at a higher percentage than shots off the dribble.
5. "No easy baskets." Basketball teaches symmetry. Work for easy shots and deny easy baskets. Limit transition scoring, open threes, don't foul jump shots, prevent putbacks, and make teams get "hard 2's". Repackage it as "great defense means multiple efforts."
6. "Possession and possessions." What matters is getting possession and what you do with it. Steals, deflections, forced errors, and rebounding produce possessions. Awareness and alertness to opportunity are hallmarks of excellence. Offensively, value the ball ("the ball is gold") and create quality shots each possession. Strong teams get layups and convert open shots.
7. What do you see? "Vision, decision, execution." Decisions determine destiny. Remember the 'two second rule.' Shots taken within two seconds of touch time score at a higher percentage. Don't be a ball-sticker.
8. The game is 80 percent mental. The fastest route to better play is game understanding. Pete Newell taught the coach's obligation is to teach players to SEE THE GAME. Bill Belichick learned football as he started to break down game film with his father as a nine-year old. Young people have an astonishing amount of processing power.
Here are just a few of the many suggestions from my 'brothers' (mostly) at Herb on Hoops, a Facebook basketball group.