Unless we're Einstein, we always find somewhat smarter, wiser, more accomplished. Which argues for reading and study. I share recent highlights from my basketball journey, including this blog.
Asymmetric information. Asymmetric information is common in decision making. Do you buy this used car? Does the insurance company have relevant information about the beneficiary's health? What price to pay for a commodity (e.g. watch, designer bag) that might be a knockoff?
How about basketball?
When evaluating or recruiting a player, do you know their character, health, habits (work ethic), and deal-breakers (e.g. substance abuse)?
Be in the moment. "Play with full force." Be fully engaged. In soccer, they call it "sticking your nose in".
There are no 50-50 balls. A rebound is not a tie-ball. Secure possession, protect the ball, and advance it (to another player when necessary).
Steal this play.
Courtesy of Steve Kerr.
Find hard to defend actions. I'm always looking for new or recycled, hard to defend actions. I know you are. Recently, I saw these in a high school scrimmage.
Hard-to-defend actions (e.g. pick-and-roll), well-executed off-ball screens, screen-the-screener, and backdoor cuts against overplay never become unfashionable.
Personal experience guarantees nothing. Young adult literature author R.L. Stine says that our experience, memory, and imagination craft our ideas. Our experiences shape us, for better or worse. But Pete Newell cautioned that attempts to copy your play from your previous coach usually ends up being a "poor reproduction of the original."
Conflict is inevitable. I presume the Prime Directive. Every parent wants what is best for their child. Don Meyer said, "a parent wants their child to be All-State rather than their team to win a state championship." Can we fault parents for wanting what's best for their child?
This imposes a natural conflict between coach (what is best for the team?) and parents (what is best for our child?).
We're all flawed. We might succeed anyway. Dennis Rodman helped win five NBA titles and etched a Hall of Fame career. He also was charged with spousal misdemeanor for striking a girlfriend, tax evasion, failure to pay child and spousal support, and driving while intoxicated and without a valid license.
Clock, crucible, contract. Research sources material for Dan Brown's three C's - clock, crucible, contract. Our big picture clock informs our legacy. Do people remember us as innovator, teacher, mentor, friend, schmuck? Intermediate-term time uses urgency to develop our players for the next level (whichever that is). A game management clock asks whether our teams and players understand using type to shorten or lengthen games, using pace as ally. And the shortest version of time defines situation, doing the right things at the right time - the end of clock, quarters, and games. Too many good players corrupt the game by abusing time. And ironically, how our players spend seconds and situations informs our legacy.
Behavior counts. "Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you say." Princeton coach Pete Carril said, "I don't recruit players who are nasty to their parents. I look for players who realize the world doesn't revolve around them." It even matters in the NBA, where Gregg Popovich says, "get over yourself." Be engaged on the bench; support your teammates.
Play without the ball. Fifty percent of the game is defense. On offense, each person will have the ball twenty percent (on average, less). That means NINETY percent of the game, you play without the ball. Are you standing or moving? Are you spacing or corrupting space? Are you helping your teammates by getting open, creating openings for them (e.g. screening, emptying)?
Delete what doesn't work. "You're not paying for all of the words that the author put on the page; you're paying for all of the words the author deleted...the author gave what works room to breathe."- Dan Brown
Who are we? From a Chris Oliver podcast with Liam Flynn "How would another coach describe your team?" What are your core values?
Basketball at high levels is like chess...more skill, less luck.
Rollers matter. Brad Stevens, "Robert Williams and other elite rollers drag defenders from the perimeter and set up kickouts for threes." (See Clint Capela)
Know thyself. Where does the team want to score? Is the team a 'transition first' team, running at all cost? Are they ground and pound with an inside game? Are they mad bombers looking to take the first three that shows? Do they space the floor, screen, use combinations? Are they motion-oriented? Do they even have an identity? We want to be a space, cut, and pass team with a secondary focus on the screen game (see below). As in chess, understand the power of the double attack.
Simple worked for the Pistons against the Celtics.
Kelbick knows. "Do you practice or think about where your skills fit in game situations?"
Take better shots. "Just because you can doesn't mean you should." - Brian Scalabrine
Be good at what we do a lot.