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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Basketball: Fast Five: How Do You See the Game?

There's no one way to see the game, play the game, study the game. It's like shrimp (I favor shrimp risotto and shrimp and grits). Every great narrative embeds a love story; where is the love? 

Ask questions and find solutions that work. I measure progress playing against good do we compete and are we a worthy opponent? Beating mediocre and bad teams proves nothing. 

1. What is the edge? How do you create advantage? "Great players make coaches look smarter." Given unlimited resources, get the best players. That's a canard - train 'em up and find players who fit well together. Do our players know our strengths and limitations, play to our advantages, and disguise our weaknesses? Players play hardest for coaches who add meaning to their lives. 

2. How do you plan to wear down your opponent? I buy the classical warfare analogy - infantry, cavalry, artillery. Win the ends of the floor with size and power; win the middle of the floor with speed; win the edge of the floor with long-range bombers. It's never all or nothing, but we need a plan. What are our shots? What do we take away? 

3. How do we do well what we do a lot? Apply Feynman technique. Name it; define it; research it; simplify it. Emphasize execution including limiting what our opponent wants. In the developmental setting, stress fundamentals, learn to apply and withstand pressure, and reduce mistakes. It's always a work in progress and often frustrating. 

4. How do we measure progress? I prefer analytics to the eyeball test, but lack resources to track important metrics - shot charts, turnovers, rebounds, assists, hustle plays, etc. We literally can do the math...possessions, turnovers, quality shots, effective field goal percentage, rebounds, assists. No good teams have bad stats. In development, playing well takes precedence over winning. 

5. What do we see at a glance? Can we discern a team's general strategy? If we can't see one, then it doesn't exist. While "technique beats tactics," teams need a strategy to execute Commander's Intent. "Does everyone seem to know what to do or is there confusion, a lack of meaningful activity, or people standing around waiting to be told what to do next?" Don't be a "resulter" who judges process by outcome alone. Success flows from more than talent and chance. 

Examine spacing and the proximity test (how quickly are the defensive colors arriving in proximity to the ball?). Offensively, judge the player and ball movement. Defensively, scrutinize energy, ball pressure, help, and rotation defense. 

Lagniappe: via @BBallImmersion 
Screening is not scut work. "Screening is opportunity." 

Lagniappe: Timeout Notes from Coach Musselman (steal great ideas) 

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