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Friday, November 30, 2018

Basketball: Dribble Handoff Applications including Fake Handoffs

Coaches and players acquire and develop tools over their career. Combining a quality craftsman, commitment, motivation, and better tools improves production. Clubs and stones yield to the atlatl, superseded by the bow and arrow. But bows and arrows gave way to Samuel Colt's 45 and subsequent generations of weaponry. 

Having a few handoff plays in our arsenal adds versatility...only to the extent that the players use the tools well. 



Left, basic DH with downhill drive for 3. Right, DHO with second screen into PnR. Weak side action keeps defenders occupied. 



Conversely, the dribble handoff may be a distraction from action on the weak side. 


Left, SLOB, fake handoff into drive. Right, fake DHO with hammer action as the weak side becomes the action focus. 


DHO (right) with staggered screens on the weak side. 

Lagniappe: via Chris Oliver @BBallImmersion

The fake handoff can come off misdirection. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Basketball: Message to Our Team - Keys to Success



"Basketball is sharing." - Phil Jackson

What are your keys to success? My high school coach, Sonny Lane, prepared us with a detailed game scouting reports including three "keys to success." 

As we begin our season this weekend, here are five season elements that define our future. 

1. Excel in your role. When every player fulfills her role, the team prospers. That means know, embrace, and execute your role. If your job is to screen, be the best screener possible. Remember, the screener is the second cutter. "Seize the play." 

If you want a bigger role, then earn a bigger role. 

2. Allow no easy baskets. Teams surrender easy baskets with poor transition defense, weak defensive rebounding, and bad fouls. Contest shots without fouling. Defenders, "arrive at the offensive point of attack with the ball." Make the opponents score hard 2s. 

3. Know where we want to score. "Do more of what works and less of what doesn't." Know the strengths and limitations of teammates. Put your teammate in position to succeed. 

4. Space and pace. Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Daly says, "spacing is offense and offense is spacing." When we space, we get shots we want. Spacing opens driving and passing lanes. When we play at a higher tempo (pace), we get more layups, open shots, and free throws. Space and pace help our creators get quality chances. 


5. Fight pressure together. Successful teams apply and defeat pressure. "Movement kills defenses." Player and ball movement stretch defenses and force them to defend space, closeouts, mismatches, and numbers. Defeat pressure together with movement and communication. 

We invest time in teaching you how to play not just how to run plays. 

Lagniappe: 


Radius Athletics @RadiusAthletics reviews Endpoints in Transition and the seamless flow into alternatives...spread pick-and-roll, wing pick-and-roll, dribble penetration and more. I can't improve on their presentation...check it out. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Basketball: Step Outside Yourself, The Origins of Leadership

During a recent halftime (3 minutes), I asked the girls (12-13 year-olds), aside from your parents, whom do you admire, especially women, and why? They need role models, exemplars who teach values and excellence. 

Maybe by happenstance, they came out with purpose during the second half, turning a 17-all score into 45-27 victory. 

Leadership combines character and competence, the former based on intent and integrity. 

Everyone can improve their leadership skills with work, growing verbal and nonverbal communication and understanding people. 

In Leading Minds, Professor Howard Gardner (1995) discusses elements germane to E.L. the exemplary leader. This follows his profile of eleven leaders, from Gandhi, to Lincoln, and Alfred Sloane. He also touches upon moral dimensions of leadership. "Leaders who have used their power and their pulpit to turn individuals against one another have wrought incalculable damage...one should not forget that Machiavelli and Hitler wrote two of the most influential tracts about leadership."

As coaches we lead but we also train leadership. "Leaders make leaders." What kind of leadership do we model, promote, and inspire? 

We live in an era where promoting ideology dominates over developing truths. For example, reintroducing dangerous carcinogens (asbestos) for economic gain tramples the known health hazards. Collision-avoidance systems grow in popularity versus eliminating impaired driving (alcohol) and cell phone use. As leaders, we have a responsibility to teach young people good habits and unsafe behaviors. 
 
Lagniappe:



Breaking down the run-and-jump in the backcourt...

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Basketball: Confessions of a Schizophrenic Coach, Delay Game

I'll never be Mother Teresa with a whistle. That creates cognitive dissonance between the moral righteousness of Bob Bigelow and "I like to win." 


Above is a screen shot from Bigelow's website. I watched an epic Bigelow/Ron Lee matchup in 1971...two NBA first rounders from Massachusetts' Middlesex League. The moms love Bigelow's mantras and most of the dads are skeptics. 

As coaches, we teach the game. If your opponent throws half-court trapping, multiple zones, "America's Play," and the kitchen sink at us, we can't have our thumbs in our mouths. 

If we want to compete, then we need principled zone offense, intelligent defense, and poise under pressure. I know no substitute for practice, including offensive and defensive delay games. And I'm conflicted by whether I should rob fundamental skills time for game situation practice. 

I can't approach the wisdom and depth of John Kimble's delay defense article; here it is. 

We faced a delay offense trailing by two late recently and "lucked out" forcing a turnover with eight seconds left. Unfortunately, I had burnt our final (third) timeout after a made basket in the last minute to stop the clock and set the defense. 

Facing delay defense we have choices...but they all begin with aggressiveness on ball and denial...and fouling. That exposes defense to screens and back cuts, but c'est la vie

Here are a few excerpts from Kimble: 

• Always anticipate all off-the-ball screens and automatically switch them.
• Jump trap all ballscreens.
• Jump trap all dribble hand-offs and crosses.
• Jump switch all hard dribble approaches.
• Substitute properly for defensive and offensive specialists on free- throw situations.

Incorporating specific defenses for each delay type isn't possible with minimal practice time (three hours/week). But choosing the best combination of defenders and sharing core principles is. 

The follow-on is that players must understand the type of shots we want (and can get) with limited time and no timeouts. There's no there there yet. 

Lagniappe: 

Why ask why? The NBA plays the way they do based on data. 

Paint touches and ball reversal, including "in-and-out threes" create higher points per possession. 




Monday, November 26, 2018

Basketball: The Best Youth Coaches We Can Be: What Would That Look Like?


"She's the best youth coach in the district." What would that look like? If we knew, then we could emulate the traits and process. 

"It's never good enough." What does my team need now? Good coaches know their needs and how to translate improvement. 

Good coaches get the best from their players. Their teams know effort is non-negotiable and quitting unthinkable

Good coaches model excellence...excellence in preparation, communication, and behavior. If they demean players and officials, players learn dismissive behavior. 



Pastry chef Dominique Ansel, from MasterClass, works toward his better version. 

Competence comprises process nuts and bolts. That includes organization, knowledge, strategy, teaching, player development, staff development, and game management. 

Good teams announce their intent (e.g. pressure defense, transition offense, toughness), attention to detail, team play and communication, and individual skill. "This is how we play." Intent must converge with execution. We are not close...but it's only four practices in. I've violated my principles by having us play in two tournaments (seven games) when we're not technically and tactically ready. 

"Always forward." Ask better questions; seek solutions to our team problems. Where do we want to score? What do we want to take away? 

Good coaches self-scout "replicate or remedy?" During preseason action, I see numerous counter-productive actions to remedy. 

1. Excessive dribbling, especially during press-breaking.
2. That leads to oversight of open players (pass receivers).
3. Dribbling into traffic. 
4. Cutting to occupied posts/areas violating spacing. 
5. Failing to pass away from defenders. 
6. Failing to come to the ball (shorten the pass). 



Good coaches get everyone engaged. Play purposefully. Watching is too easily done.

Good coaches fashion teams that are worthy opponents regarding intent, process, and competition. 

Lagniappe: Krzyzewski 3 shot sequence (post motion development)


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Basketball: Salt, Fat, Acid, and Heat



Steal from other domains. Samin Nosrat, author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat core elements of cooking. "It was as if I’d been struck by lightning. It’d never occurred to me that salt was anything more than pepper’s sidekick. But now, having experienced the transformative power of salt for myself, I wanted to learn how to get that zing! every time I cooked. I thought about all of the foods I’d loved to eat growing up—and that bite of seaside cucumber and feta, in particular. I realized then why it had tasted so good. It was properly seasoned, with salt."

We share similar disciplines.

Fat (Flavor, core process)

Salt (Flavor enhancement, attention to detail)


Acid (Attitude)


Heat (Tempo) 


Fat. Where's the flavor? What distinguishes our team from everyone else's? Currently, nothing. In the midst of our school's fifty plus game winning streak years ago, an opposing high school coach said, "Melrose has five girls running every play. That puts a lot of pressure on a defense." In a developmental team, that's the construct. In the pre-game huddle, I'd ask the girls, "how do we play?" "We play fast." We're working on it. Enjoy the process. 

Salt. The Japanese have four thousand kinds of salt, thousands of ways to enhance their cooking game. Nosrat writes, "Salt has a greater impact on flavor than any other ingredient. Learn to use it well, and your food will taste good." Coaches teach nuances of offense, defense, and conversion. Teams blending size, athleticism, skill, and intellect become special talents. Exploit time and space.





Time and space as a DHO leverages back side cutting. 


High ballscreen into corner back cut. 

Acid. In your kitchen, acid appears in tomatoes, citrus, vinegar, apples, and other foods. On the court, acid is attitude. It might be as subtle as Steph Curry pulling up for a three in transition or as brazen as Marcus Smart's "bull in a china shop." In our last game, we had issues. Lack of acidity was one. Acid propels you to win one-on-one battles, get 50-50 balls, take charges, and rebound like demons. 

Heat. Heat is tempo. Practice at high tempo. Laps, lines, and lectures are coolers. During games, adjusting the heat defines teams who can pull away, mount stirring comebacks, and shorten the game when needed. 


Combine actions like chefs combine ingredients to cook special meals. 

Lagniappe: 


This is a better version of a drill we run most practices. We have the middle defender take three steps in. Here Coach Roy Williams calls the defender disadvantage.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Basketball: Beaten not Braised, Patience and Persistence

A United States Senator addressed residents at a mental institution in Ohio. He asked repeatedly, "why are we here?" Finally, someone in the audience answered, "because we're not all there." Some days it feels that way. 


(Roasted prime rib, bones sliced off and served separately...from Thomas Keller, MasterClass)

We continued preseason Holiday Tournament play and got our heads handed to us. First, do not traffic in excuses. Next, learn from mistakes and weaknesses. The analysis should be "close to the bone" as Bob Woodward says. I know our struggles are not unique.

What went well? 

Little approached adequate except when we had the will to attack the basket.  

What went poorly? 

Against better teams, raising intensity is an absolute. Welcome the chance to compete and deny easy scores. Defense reveals intensity, particularly in transition, as does rebounding. Alertness (focus) and awareness (response) aren't electives in the Basketball  major. Don't be deer in the headlights, a real phenomenon.  

Tournament rules change the game. With few timeouts, you can't stop momentum and rescue your team. Figure it out

Value the ball. If we tracked turnovers, we exceeded forty. Open floor advancement (dribbling, passing, and catching can't be apocalyptic. The officials didn't even call some inbound violations after baskets where passers were inbounds. Pass with purpose. Passes can't go through defenders; we pitched a plethora at phantoms. That reflects nerves. Opposing ball hawks abused us. 



Find the blue sky? Small guards shouldn't set up near the paint. That dog won't hunt. In a horns set (above) high pick-and-roll, when corner defenders help, the ball can move to the corners to set up shots or closeouts for drives or mid-range shots. If becoming a scorer is your priority, then match your skills to those opportunities. Defensive range increases each year for youths, so separation becomes ever more critical. 

What can we do differently

Space to score. Want the ball? "The ball is a camera." Relocate to open passing lanes; passers must look off defenders (see below). 

See the basket. Find the right balance between playmaking and shooting. An open shot, even early in possession is far better than a turnover.



Conceal your intentMost of my players have never even heard of a telegraph...but we're telegraphing passes. Willie Sutton wouldn't rob banks because we handed him the money. Unforced turnovers murder a modicum of momentum. 

Sprint in defensive transition. The downside of guaranteed playing time is there's no consequence for poor execution. You must beat your player to halfcourt. 1s and 2s have to be back first. 



Help and Rotation. When we practice shell drill (above), it teaches help and rotation to deny penetration recognizing THE BALL SCORES. If we don't do it, I own it...bad coaching. 

What are the enduring lessons? 

"If you want to run with the big dogs, then you have to get off the porch." Don't allow frustration and failed focus to degrade your play. The cooking analogy is braising, transformational for certain meats like pot roast or pork shoulder. When you are figuratively hit in the mouth, respond with toughness and resilience. Taking your lumps is part of the process; accepting it isn't. Everything needs to be better, starting with coaching. 

Lagniappe: 

Top Shooting Drills from FastModel Sports

Sample: 



Friday, November 23, 2018

Basketball: Underachieving and the Boston Celtics

We hear or say players or teams underachieve or overachieve. Both are relative terms, based on prior experience and current expectations. 

For example, the Eastern Conference finalist Celtics with three former All-Stars (Irving, Horford, Hayward) and two promising youngsters (Tatum, Brown) came in touted as conference favorites. Despite Brad Stevens, it hasn't started that way, with a 9-9 record out of the box. 

Pundits say it's effort, chemistry, roles, and other intangibles. Coach Stevens has shared both sanguine and realistic thoughts. Is it really a mystery? 

Here are a few statistics:

-The Celtics are 3rd in 3-point shots attempted (35.9/gm)
-They are 20th in 3-point percentage (34.3%)
-They are 28th in free throws attempted (20.1/gm)
-They are 29th in field goal percentage (43.4%)
-They are 24th in effective field goal percentage (50.2%)
-They are 12th in assists/game (24.2) versus 21st last season
-They are 27th in offensive rating (104.3)
-Surprisingly, they are second in team defense rating (102.8)
-This includes being 5th best in allowing fewest points in the paint
-They also lead the NBA in defensive percentage against threes (32.2%)

The NBA is a make-or-miss league. Thus far, they are among the teams taking the most threes, and yet not efficient (low percentage). They are among the worst shooting teams in the league and among the poorest in going to the line. Combine poor shooting and a relative paucity of free throws and they earn a low offensive rating. 

When we attended a Celtics practice last year, Coach Stevens had a brief conversation with my wife (a rocket scientist). He said, "it's not rocket science." Indeed, until the Celtics start making shots, they'll continue to struggle. 


Only Marcus Morris, Tatum, and Irving are solid from three so far...and Al Horford, Marcus Smart (usual), Hayward, and Brown have been simply terrible from three. 

"It's not rocket science." 

Lagniappe:
It's easy to envision a series of options off this BOB, especially STS (screen-the-screener) actions. 



Thursday, November 22, 2018

Basketball: Coaching Players' Confidence





Giving advice is a thankless business...a schoolgirl wrote, "Socrates was a Greek philosopher who went about giving people good advice. They poisoned him." And yet, here we are. (anecdote from Braude)


Coaches take players and teams where they cannot go alone. Growth spans physical, intellectual, spiritual (team), and psychological dimensions. Add value to get buy-in.  

Preparation. "Make practice hard so that games are easy." Prepared teams earn the right to be confident, believing in their execution. Do well what you do a lot. Kevin Eastman says defensively to "know your nos." Offensively, we might add "know your goes." Where are you looking to score? How do you press your advantage (power, perimeter scoring, cutting)? For example, the UCONN women look to score a third in transition, a third in sets, and a third in threes. 

Positive body language. Expansive body position raises feelings of power. To feel more powerful assume power positions. Initial work suggesting that occurred via hormonal mediation remains controversial. Amy Cuddy's initially well-received work was followed by fierce and overdone criticism, which she successfully rebutted. 

Language and self-talk. Henry Ford said, "Whether you believe you can or you can't, you're right." Our strongest messages come internally. "I'll try" undermines "I will." When we message our team about being unworthy, lazy, or soft, we can't expect high performance. Dr. Jason Selk, author of Ten-Minute Toughness, counsels an identity statement (who we are) and a performance statement (how we do it). In your basketball notebook, log your successes and incorporate them into success worksheets.  


Mindfulness. Professional and Olympic athletes use mindfulness to leverage success. Author Tim Ferriss (Tools of Titans) shares that eighty percent of highly successful people he interviewed use mindfulness in their process. Mindfulness literally reorganizes brain structure and function, lowers blood pressure, and reduces blood pressure. Search Inside Yourself is an authoritative reference. 

The Confidence Equation. Wayne Goldsmith preaches the "confidence equation" a blend of self-belief and evidence. I strongly recommend his article

He argues that individuals have either high or low self-belief personalities. The low self-belief athlete needs more evidence (Bill Parcells says, "confidence comes from proven success") to elevate their confidence. Of course, this raises the chicken and egg dilemma, about the confident athlete having demonstrated prior success. 

Balancing authentic praise and constructive criticism challenges all coaches. We should remember that our words and their delivery profoundly affect those we coach. 

Lagniappe: 



Meng Tan facetiously named his program, SILLY, actually SIYLI, the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute. Mindfulness enhances productivity, confidence, and happiness. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Basketball: Trapping Defenses, More Questions Than Answers



Trapping defense has multiple intents - leverages pressure against poor ball handlers and weak passers, energizes, and elevates tempo. It can force turnovers, psychologically damage opponents, and generate offense from defense. When it works it excites fans. Great pressure teams intimidate. If your team excels applying pressure, you force your opponent to overprepare for that and underprepare generally. 



So-called primary trap zones (yellow) ensnare offensive players with the ball against two boundaries (sidelines, endlines, midcourt line). They are not necessary but ideal. 

I teach forcing opponents into bad decisions (bad passes, violations) and poor execution (traveling, fumbles) not necessarily stealing from the ball handler. "Allow your opponent to make mistakes." Too many teams end up fouling by playing out of control. Find balance between aggressiveness and discipline. 

The ideal pressure lineup brings size, athleticism, discipline, intelligent decision-making, and relentlessness. 

We have a plethora of decisions to make. It's a gray area with answers that fit our team. One size doesn't fit all. 

What areas do we attack...full, three-quarter, half court? 
Do we prefer a "safer trap" with two players back (e.g. 1-2-2)?
Do we pressure the inbound passer or not? Or mix it up? 
Do we trap on the catch or on the dribble? Better on the dribble in my opinion. 
Do we trap the 'best' ballhandler, weaker, out-of-control, or 'turned' dribblers? 
Do we pressure and trap only after made baskets or consistently? 
Do we trap with man-to-man, zone, or both? 
Do we have a preferred trapping team? Not every player excels defensively. 
Do we trap and leave (e.g. run-and-jump) or stay? 
Where do we deploy our personnel? Do we put both guards up front or something else?
Do we have a safety/goalie or take more risk? What's our risk/reward? 




As of now, we only extend full court individual assignment defense although I favor opportunistic trapping. With relatively equal playing time, we do not have players well-suited to trap in every lineup

We've had only four 90 minute practices so far, so we have vanilla defense and no offensive or defensive delay game yet. Live with reality. 

I grew up in a system of multiple defenses - full court man (14), run-and-jump (red), UCLA (or USF if you prefer) 3/4 court 2-2-1 (83), 1-2-1-1 (54), and so on. The first digit identified the defense and the second the extent of court covered. That violates simplicity for middle school players

What rules might apply? 

1. Fly around. Conditioning is paramount. 
2. If pressure is broken, sprint back, communicate and find your player. "Basketball is not a running game, it's a sprinting game." 
3. If pressure is broken, build the defense from the basket out. Shape up...tandem to triangle. Force the offense to make the extra pass until help arrives. 
4. Don't get split. Trappers can't get split by the dribble.
5. No gut passes (through the trap).
6. Never get beat up the sideline on the trap. If you have to have a foot out of bounds, then whatever it takes. 
7. "Put 'em in a glass box." As trappers, imagine you've built a glass box. 
8. No stupid fouls.

My rules aren't "the rules", more like guidelines. Find what works for you. 

Lagniappe 1. Via Tom Peters...
Lagniappe 2. 

Remember Quin Snyder's admonition that in the NBA, the inability to defend the pick-and-roll means the inability to keep your job. 



Starts with icing the side ball screen and adds a breakdown drill. Progresses into dribble handoff with defensive options. 

Moves into high ball screen with first option weak (forces left)...big focus on the actions (tagging) on the help side...and NOT leaving the corner 3. 






Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Basketball: Approach to Practice as a Player, Be Great Today

"We have practice today." What does that mean

Develop a professional approach to practice as early as possible. Whether it's your English homework, piano lessons, or sports...commit to your craft. Define and refine your process. 

What your process? As a reminder, Master Chef Thomas Keller defined six areas that he learned as a dishwasher at age 19 that apply to his Michelin 3-Star restaurants today. 

1. Organization...everything in its place
2. Efficiency...know what to do, when and how to do it
3. Constructive Feedback...learn from everyone.
4. Repetition...do it right, the same way, every time
5. Rituals and language...we have our unique language
6. Teamwork...collaboration to achieve high performance



Our written practice schedule contains choices from warmup and conditioning, offense, defense, and combination elements. Every practice contains elements from each domain. 

How do I improve the team and myself today? A professional approach selects areas to improve. When Gordon Hayward was recovering from his fracture dislocation, we saw him working on his whole body with heavy ropes. Our young players need constant attention to form as part of function. Flips, Bradleys, and shooting against pressure (a defender) build their skills via repetition. 

Everyone can become a better leader. Young players, especially girls, don't want to be seen as "bossy" or conceited. But leaders make leaders. I saw two of our top players going up against each other recently, pushing each other to improve. 

Encourage teammates. Make a better play. Everyone should know what's a good shot for each other and for the team. We use Jay Bilas' "it's not your shot, it's our shot" every practice. 

Cross the Red Line. Urban Meyer expects players fully engaged when crossing the red line around the practice field. That means you are physically and mentally ready, "fired up and ready to go." And every play, "A to B, 4 to 6" players go full tilt from point A to B in 4 to 6 seconds. Coaches do play favorites, those top 10 percent who don't take reps off or take plays off. 

Have energy; bring energy. "Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm." I don't mean false hustle, rah-rah displays, but authentic joy and love for the activity. My friend Neil and I played French horn for a year in seventh grade. Our classmate Paula studied French horn and got a band scholarship to Michigan State. She had energy. 

Sense of Urgency. Another Jay Bilas Toughness principle is "get on the floor." I know our team is fully present when two girls are diving after the loose ball or fighting for a rebound. There is no 50-50 ball

Exceed Expectations. Do you intend to meet expectations or exceed them? Lauren was the first at offseason workouts and the last to leave. She became a top student and a three-sport captain, even though she wasn't the biggest, fastest, or most skilled player. She's a second-year student at Annapolis, the United State Naval Academy. 

Be Great Today. "Get past mad, get past sad, get past hard." You can do this. Everyone can't be the top student in the school, the best daughter or son, the most accomplished athlete. But everyone can do their best. I told parents of a former player (League MVP) that she always worked hard and was consistently pleasant. They said that she was every bit as helpful at home, whether the dishes needed to be done or snow shoveled. How can you not be happy for Kayla who recently completed her Master's program? 

Lagniappe: 



"Find the advantage..." from Radius Athletics. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Basketball: Lessons & Possible Solutions from a Weekend Tournament

We are a nurturing profession.  Chef Thomas Keller begins his second MasterClass reminding us to be patient ("really learn what we are doing") and be persistent ("you can do it.").

Competition informs us about strengths and deficiencies. A weekend tournament defines glaring and subtle opportunities. Each of us must build a personal instruction manual. 

UNC Women's Soccer Coach Anson Dorrance (21 National Championships) has required reading for his players. Michael Useem's The Leadership Moment shares key questions:

1. What went well?
2. What went poorly? 
3. What can we do differently? 
4. What are the enduring lessons? 



From MasterClass.com, Helen Mirren Teaches Acting

What went well? At times we executed the game precisely, especially running actions from spread offense, playing pick-and-roll, attacking closeouts, and moving the ball without hesitation. Our BOBs and SLOBs created high efficiency scoring. More players look to pass and cut. We drag screen without instruction. We were well-conditioned, likely from having an abundance of soccer players. In the final three games of the weekend, we averaged 49 points per game, solid for seventh grade girls in a developmental program. In fact, some opposition questioned whether these were seventh graders. 



Spread corner backcut. 

What went poorly? Defense begins with attitude, the will to get in people's faces and skill to win individual battles. Ball pressure varied and we ceded too many face cuts. We didn't run wide in transition (I call this stampeding), need more players to be physical on the boards, and can leverage time and space better. 



We frequently advance the ball along the sidelines. Good teams don't "live on the edge (above)." Any competent defense would load to the ball and make us play 2 or 3 against 5. The game we lost we played passively and didn't aggressively contest shots without fouling. 

What can we do differently (practice changes)? Three practices in, most players need work on individual defense. We generate energy from pressing, but we can press more intelligently and double opportunistically. Our team strength is athleticism so extending defense is natural. 



From the late Bert Hammel. 



Opportunistic Trapping and Rotation


Via Kevin Eastman

What are the enduring lessons? We have several keys:
1) maintain aggressiveness (practice communication and advantage-disadvantage)
2) leverage space and time consistently (we're extension not compression of the floor)
3) win the turnover battle (monitor and give feedback) 
4) improve finishing (make layups)

Lagniappe: (from Chris Oliver)


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Basketball: Gotta Score, The R and R Meme, and The Big Four



"Time to stop taking a beating and start giving one." - Daredevil 

Do you have a Big Four actions to score when the chips are down? Let's work on it...but first some background. 

Practice allows us to get better. Games inform our needs. Remember Nassim Taleb's Antifragile advice, “A loser is someone who, after making a mistake, doesn’t introspect, doesn’t exploit it, feels embarrassed and defensive rather than enriched with a new piece of information, and tries to explain why he made the mistake rather than moving on.”

Read, learn, and apply what we've learned. Teach 'em and teach 'em again and again. 

In Why the Best Are the Best, Kevin Eastman recalls the 2008 Celtics (in a winning effort) allowing the Lakers 32 points on defensive errors and mistakes. Although we only allowed twenty points in our second game yesterday, half came on defensive errors...allowing basket cuts or transient ball-you-man violations. 

Recognition and reversal. In David Mamet's MasterClass, he explains that the hero's journey culminates in Act 3, identifying the solution and reversing the position of loss.  

Replicate or remedy. And political strategist David Axelrod reminds us of the principle of "Replication or remedy." Pound it or fix it. 



BOB. We scored multiple times with this BOB against the 2-3. Our guards came off the handoff hard and the five sealed and rolled getting perfect pocket passes. Really good execution for young players.



SLOB. GERONIMO. This SLOB is inspired by a combination of Spurs and Warriors actions. 3 gets entry off typical Zipper action. Then 5 makes a sequential screen (off-ball) for the inbounder. It was wide open and we failed to execute. If they switch, 1 should cut through and we get a 5 versus 1 mismatch. 

MAN. Whether ATO or a simple set, this should be great action. Part of our bread-and-butter is the high ball screen out of horns. But I'm the King of Wishful Thinking



More GSW action, with the high ball screen slip into a layup or a corner 3. 

ZONE. We knew our second opponent was going to play zone. Within our theme of R and R (Recognition and Reversal, Replicate or Remedy) was RUN and REBOUND. But we have other actions, too. 



Wham block. 3 can be open in the middle after the screen. 

Lagniappe: 
"If you see a back, backcut."