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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Finding ideas from Basketball to Business, Plus Two Italian Masters

"Imagination leads to innovation leading to differentiation." - Bill Russell

Ideas are the currency of the future. The more we survey the world, the better to adopt or to modify concepts. 

The "Helpside I" is part of Ernie Woods "Total Disruption" defense. Helpside I imposes Newtonian physics using the gravitational pull of the basketball. By loading to the ball, the defense creates a numerical mismatch. 

Backside help is only one component of Total Disruption (above, via Woods). 

Conversely, think of spacing as like polarity of magnets repelling each other. Defenses use gravity as an edge; offenses magnetic polarity. 

Analytics applies mathematics with the calculus of possessions and "points per possession."

Golden State leverages more high points per possession actions than the rest of the NBA. With youth basketball, we have low points per possession, compounded by poor possessions inflicted by turnovers. If we want improvement, we need better shot quality via better quality actions and fewer turnovers. Do the math. 

Disney sought organic growth and rejuvenation of its animated films division. CEO Bob Iger (2005) reached out to the competition (Steve Jobs, Pixar) for coveted talent and technology and bought the company...making a SUPER TEAM

The ten-year results of Pixar and other acquisitions and execution reflect Iger's risk taking. Bold ideas can achieve superior results...stock price quadruples in a decade. 

Good ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. A youth game might reveal a set or concept we can use. 

Author David Baldacci suggests, "open your mind." Connect unconnected ideas. Because 'great offense is multiple actions', brainstorm how to blend hard-to-defend actions.

There's no idea truck or guy in a trench coat selling plays. Explore the world, adapt, and overcome. 

Lagniappe: Chris Oliver shares backcut action through a zone. The offense was able to pull the defense up to create space. 
Lagniappe 2: Work to understand how others think. "I found nothing in my whole inventory, that I think better of, or more esteem, than the knowledge of great men's actions." - Macchiavelli, The Prince

Lagniappe 3: Coaching, like cooking, is love of craft. 

Massimo Bottura and sous-chef Taka, in MasterClass teaching Italian cooking. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Basketball: "But Coach, I'm a Scorer (Shooter)"

"I'm from Missouri. Show me."

"But Coach, I'm a scorer." Let's look at the tape. 

  • How do you score? 
  • What's your "GO TO" and "COUNTER" move
  • Where do you score from (inside, mid-range, perimeter)? 
  • Do you score from the blocks, elbows, corner, right or left? 
  • Do you score in transition, half-court, putbacks?
  • Do you shoot off the catch, off the drive, with 1-2 dribble moves? 
  • What's the quality of your shot selection
  • What do the statistics say? 

You need answers to each of these questions - concrete, credible data

Watching a game, I heard a parent lament his child pass up a three-point shot. I remarked, "That was a good decision; she's one for nineteen on threes this season." "Oh." 

Everybody has "hot zones" and "cool zones." Red is hot. A glance tells you where Jayson Tatum needs work...the right side of the court, the right elbow, and right corner. It also says he 'may' be taking too many long twos. 

Watching him practice (once), we saw him take a lot of shots above the break on the left. It shows. 

As coaches, we should get you your shots (and prevent opponents from getting theirs). Leverage our edge

If we have a dominant player who likes to work from the left block, find ways to get her involved. 

Your job is to have the savvy and skill to score. Our job is to help put you in position to make that happen. 

Lagniappe: The Boeheim Syracuse 2-3 zone. Note, we play pressure man defense in youth basketball program. Development, not winning, takes priority. When we do it properly, wins still happen. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Basketball: Dilute Less to Do More

Operate like a candidate runs a campaign. Focus on the main things and avoid dilution by peripheral issues. Organizations flourish at the intersection of performance and perception. Both need to fly together. 

Establish your three main ideas (not saying mine are the best). 

1. "Get more and better shots than our opponent." - Pete Newell
2. NO EASY BASKETS through transition defense, denying penetration, limiting second shots, and hand discipline to reduce fouling. 
3. Make your teammates better.

Make less more. Do fewer things and do them well. 

Keep pounding home the core ideas. 

Spread your mantra via email, a logo, and messages.

Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan prioritized PEOPLE, STRATEGY, and OPERATIONS in Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done"Without execution, the breakthrough thinking breaks down, learning adds no value, people don’t meet their stretch goals, and the revolution stops dead in its tracks. What you get is a change for the worse, because failure drains the energy from your organization."

PEOPLE. Players play, coaches coach. As Jim Collins wrote in Good to Greatget the right people in the right seats on the bus. We owe players a culture where they can become better people. 

STRATEGY. Our principal strategy prioritizes fundamentals and individual development. Technique over tactics. Embrace the paradox of individual achievement leveraged to team excellence.

Forced shots aren't exclusive to youth and high school basketball. Shot quality is choice and can't be "my turn" shots. Every locker room deserves Jay Bilas' "It's not your shot, it's our shot" rule. 

OPERATIONS. Examine everything we do (athletic training, skill building, team practice, mindfulness, core teaching, film study). Ask "is it making us better?" Keep what works and cut what doesn't. At the youth level, we don't practice zone defense and seldom (BOB defense initially) play zone defense. 

Find balance. Everything can't be green-lighted or deep-sixed. And everyone needs to understand the concepts and be on the same page (see video above). 

Lagniappe: from Coach Chris Oliver @BBallImmersion
1. Question everything.
2. Do the research. 

Lagniappe 2: Coach Castellaw teaches mechanics to increase range. 

Note his emphasis on triple extension (loading) to generate power and maintain the integrity of mechanics. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Basketball: Navigating the Truth Waters in Sport

(Massimo Bottura of MasterClass, operates Osteria Francescana, the top-rated restaurant in the world... on the emotion of craft.)

How does the journalist navigate the search for Bob Woodward's "best version of the truth" without becoming persona non grata? Athletes, coaches, and fans struggle to handle the truth. 

The beat writer walked into the locker room before a game where the star was downing a shot of Jack Daniels. The writer said nothing. The player volunteered, "I'm never talking to you again." He never wrote the story. (Names withheld.)

Good journalists find the story and engage the reader. When a story gets traction, so much the better. But where are the lines writers can't problems, alcohol and substance use, mental health? Wins and losses expose out our best and our worst. Who decides? 

Mets' skipper Mickey Callaway got into a shouting match with Newsday reporter Tim Healey who repeatedly questioned his strategy. The reporter walked away saying, "see you tomorrow," some inferring that he meant Callaway would be fired overnight. That prompted an outburst from Callaway. Who's the Healey in your city? 

Separating fact from opinion takes work. We're wired to accept new information as truth. Stop and think. 

We prejudge truth sourced from influencers. If an athlete supports a political figure, then she's a hero. But if she criticizes her, then "stay in your lane," stick to dribbling. Authenticity, logic, and critical thinking become captive to bias. Freedom of speech is judged through the intellectual eye of the beholder. 

Or it's personal. The journalist holds a grudge against the athlete. The athlete wasn't at the beck and call of the journalist, so the scribe pens a hatchet job. It happens. "He said, he said."  To paraphrase Chuck Daly, "Beware those who buy ink by the barrel." 

What about fairness to the athlete, coach, or upper management? We sacrifice fairness on the altar of expedience. Not everyone traffics in fairness...truth become fraud and a genius gets exposed as a menace

What is the evidence? We decide using different inputs. We err because of sample size, mean reversion, recency bias, confirmation bias, or randomness. High-priced executives negotiate the worst contracts in sports history and draft based on hope. 

Here is a portion of a graph of 40,000 coin tosses from Berkeley. Randomness shows a transient move above the zero line. But as Nassim Taleb explains in The Black Swan, if a coin comes up heads 99 times in a row, Fat Tony knows that coin is rigged. 

Refine our reading palate. Because people play, describe, and write about sports, content will be flawed. Reject easy adoption of false truths and easy solutions to complex problems

Lagniappe: Small-sided games foster creativity and more touches. 
Lagniappe 2: Master chef Bottura says, "the chef is using knowledge and technique to let the ingredient (player) express himself...the solution for your problem is in simplicity."  He adds, "remember, obsession about quality." Basketball is our art

Massimo Bottura, "spin painted" beet with multiple velvety sauces (roasted red pepper, roasted yellow pepper, chlorophyll, roasted potato) and balsamic vinegar 
Damien Hirst art 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Fish the Pond of Your Basketball Memories

Basketball transports us across seas of memories, triumphs and tribulations. Pretending they’re all pleasant strains any credibility. Transform the good and the bad into better process and results. 

What made us stronger or brought us despair? First, have perspective. Failure isn’t final. Bill Buckner and Chris Webber survived their crises. Donnie Moore did not. 

The Celtics had lost possession when Bill Russell's inbound pass deflected off a guy wire. Russell asked teammates to make a play. The late John Havlicek did. Teammates help each other overcome adversity

Our high school team won a Massachusetts Division 1 sectional championship in 1973. That will never happen again as the population-based format moved to Division 2 long ago. John Hunneman recaptured the moments on the forty year anniversary. Basketball makes indelible memories

Basketball didn't arrive with the three-point line. My college roommate, Ed Sullivan, attended game 6 of the 1975 World Series and game 5 of the 1976 NBA finals. Laundry sometimes represents the difference between heroes and villains. Gar Heard seemed like a villain at the time. The absence of the three-point line didn't diminish the drama. 

It's not all milk and honey. The local (girls) lost a sectional championship by a point with a flurry of mental mistakes long before the final horn. 

Games are often decided in the middle not the end. Melrose elected to trap the 6'2" post with rotation responsibilities outlined in the pregame scouting report. Three times they trapped and failed to rotate, allowing uncontested layups. Big game pressure caused 'brain lock.' I never double the post across, preferring to dig from the perimeter. 

Six years ago an area team invited our six grade girls to play on their home court. Aside from gas money, it cost us little, except pride as they hammered us by over thirty points. 

I could see it coming. They came out in a spread (5-0) offense and scored their first two possessions on a give and go and then a backcut from the point to the wing. Timeout. Jump to the ball and off the ball stance meant little to our young players. 

Naturally, they invited us back the following season, with more experience and a few reinforcements from the YMCA. We won 45-42 at the buzzer on a three-pointer from Leah. We never got invited back again. Funny how memories and losses stick with you


Intermediate-length video. Have players watch the brilliance of the Golden State defense, especially their rotations. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Basketball: "Everything Is an Opportunity"

"Everything is an opportunity." - Brad Stevens

Basketball gives us an unending series of chances to improve - our relationships, knowledge, our leadership, teaching, and communication skills. 

We cannot control a lot of the success or failure that accompanies us. Talent comes and it leaves. We control our reaction and our adjustments. 

Practice being ‘fundamentally sound’ every day. 

1. Footwork and pivoting. Simple drills like Mikan and Box Drills reinforce footwork and pivoting leading to more consistent finishing.

2. Form shooting. Work on your release every day. Assess the quality and consistency of your shot. If you’re playing regularly, assess your form, results, and shot selection.

3. Proper shooting warmups. If Steve Nash, J.J. Redick, and Steph Curry become elite shooters warming up close to the basket and then extending out, why can’t you?

4. Layups. “Layups and free throws separate winning and losing.” Practice finishing with either hand from either side off either and both feet. Go hard or go home. 

5. Basketball moves. Practice shot fakes ( slow and low) and rip throughs into a maximum of two dribble moves. Don’t “dribble the air out of the ball.” You aren’t James Harden.

6. “Crossover on your shoetop.” Separation comes from change of direction and change of pace. Don’t expose the ball...better defenders will steal or deflect it.

7. Use your phone to get film of your practice... watch your footwork, quickness, release, and fakes. Texting never made anyone a better player. Film study matters.

8. Track everything. How much sleep are you getting? How many minutes did you read? Did you invest your time or spend it?

9. Find a mentor and ask what fundamentals especially matter for you.

10.Review process and progress. Can you see a difference? 

Fundamentals mean doing the right things, the right way, in a meaningful amount.

Lagniappe: Posterized. If you were making a basketball poster of what you stand for, what would it look like? What belongs in the poster and what doesn't? Your basketball values affect you and your teammates. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Basketball: Selling Your Schema

Basketball is not just the quality of the players but the quality of the ideas. Look for ideas to borrow or modify. In his MasterClass Massimo Bottura modifies pesto substituting bread crumps for pine nuts with amazing results.

Schema is framework, real or imagined. When you say, the play in the style of John Thompson, Gregg Popovich, Nolan Richardson, or John Wooden, basketball ‘people’ have a mental representation.  

When we watch a team, see their intent, how they plan to wear you down or leverage an edge in skill, size, or athleticism. I’m  disappointed when our play deviates from our desired schema. Do our players share that vision? 

There’s no right or wrong, but mismatches occur between schema and talent. If you want a “three and D” style but lack shooters, do you pound the square peg into the roundball hole? If you have a dominant post player, do you ignore her? 

Players are like actors because they inhabit roles. As the directors / coaches, we often understand how we want the role played better than the player. Successful teams collaborate via shared, aligned schemes. “Synergy is not innate; it I learned.

Special coaches get players to reveal their desires. This scene from Akeelah and the Bee shows a great example of motivation and elite communication. 

In the Hans Zimmer MasterClass, he discusses the high probability of failure and need to know “there is no Plan B.” He says, you have to fight for each note. Maybe we don’t have elite talent, so we compensate with elite effort, study, preparation, and persistence. If a program and coach lacks those intangibles, they can succeed yet not achieve their best. 

Having players adopt our vision presents a formidable challenge. But spacing, movement, and shot quality are easily watched. Defensively, scam dribble penetration, proximity to receivers on the catch, and weak side help. That’s a simple schema.
Lagniappe: I’ve often shared Chuck Daly’s message, “I’m a salesman,” because we are. Here’s a tip from Words That Change Minds, 

Ask “what’s important to you?” Find out the player’s goal - improvement, playing time, becoming a starter, whatever. It shows interest and connection. But be sure not to over promise. One technique to ranking is to hold out hands separately, asking whether a player wants A or B.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Basketball: Assignment, Define Your Character

Here's an assignment for aspiring coaches or players. Take a blank sheet of paper and divide it into three parts, your progress template.

A. Current role.  B. Desired role. How to get from A to B. 

Trader Dave Landry shares a story about going out with a couple that are bodybuilders. They explain that they're going to become stock traders, buy some software and make their fortune. He scarfs down some shrimp and a beer and they say, "what are you doing?" "I'm training to be a bodybuilder." 

What's your plan? Can you explain it on one page? Are you committed to executing the plan? Do you have the prerequisites, the resources, the support system to make it happen? Do you a timetable for your plan and milestones to hit?

If you’re going into eighth grade, think of it as your redshirt year for high school. When you need help, ask a mentor.

Work on that body. You can run stadium stairs, do sprints, pushups, and jump rope to build your body. 

Work your mind. Ask yourself what you really know. Finding gaps, study. Read, find clinic notes, and video. 

Make free throws. Mix in free throws between aerobic activity. Track your progress. 

Finish. Mikan  and Reverse Mikans, box drills, wing series moves, catch-and-shoot while competing, and play one-on-one with constraints. 

Build your range. Start with the Curry warmup series and track your progress.

“But it’s too much work.” Gregg Popvich says that it’s your job to force the coach to play you. Kevin Eastman advises, “your paycheck is your responsibility.”  It takes nothing to languish on the bench, if you even make the team.

We choose what kind of person, student, athlete, friend, coach, and leader we want to become. When we’re good, we make ourself better. When we’re excellent, we make others better.

Lagniappe: Don’t say, “I wish” or “I might.” Say “I can and I will.” 

Lagniappe 2: Read at least thirty minutes daily and write a brief summary of the enduring message of what you read.

Lagniappe 3: Before bed, write down three items you worked on or achieved today. Write one area that you will work on tomorrow.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

"#Basketball : Stolen Wisdom, "Extreme Ownership"

"Good artists borrow; great artists steal." - Picasso

Jocko Willink doesn't apologize. Apologies mean lives lost. Here's a checklist from Extreme Ownership...stolen from a summary from Paul Minors

What is the main thing? How are we keeping it the main thing?

Are we all operating at a high tempo, efficiently, and focused? 

Teach players to manage the game, find mismatches, and understand situations. Commander's intent relies on distributed leadership.  

Break the game into smaller pieces, playing small sided games

Get everyone on the same page. The best players have to be the hardest workers. 

Cut down mistakes. 

When everyone is engaged, commitment translates into higher effort. 

Be flexible enough to adjust to changing circumstances. 

Be self-aware to make corrections. 

Lagniappe: “The experience is part of the food” - Roy Choi, chef

You can not eliminate the player experience in coaching.

Lagniappe 2: Draymond helps and closes

Friday, June 21, 2019

Basketball: MasterClass, "Can't Miss" Chapters

"Be a learn it all, not a know it all." - Kevin Eastman

I love MasterClass ( Luminaries share their craft. Great teaching never goes out of date. These messages that spoke to me. And yes, many women share in abundance...Jane Goodall, Mira Nair, Annie Leibovitz, Helen Mirren, Serena Williams, and more. 

Brilliance and inspiration cross disciplines. Over fifty experts present five or six hours of their expertise. 

The first seven of Steph Curry's 17 chapters. 

I've taken eight of these classes. 

Samuel L. Jackson, Auditioning.  

1. "Be your best self." 
2. "Make an impression." Maybe this job isn't yours, but the next one could be. 
3. "Be off book." Know your lines. 
4. "This is a LOOK AT ME business." Show what you do. 

Summary: Excellence delivers high performance every day

Ken Burns. The Drama of Truth

1. How far can you go with art before you mess with truth? 
2. We seek "higher emotion." 
3. "We have access to our veterans military records" (to verify their participation).
4. "There is no objective truth...this is human experience." 
5. "We have to be in pursuit of a larger truth..." 

Summary: Recognize that manipulation is part of everything we do. Raising funds, shooting, promoting...all are manipulation. 

Spike Lee. Putting Words on Paper

1. Commit to the best writing possible...whether individual or collaboration.
2. Do your homework (research). Spike organizes ideas into scenes using a box of index cards. And yes, the NYK drafting R.J. Barrett excited him last night. 
3. Eliminate distractions. You can't write while on the phone, watching television, etc. (Dan Brown has a writing area, David Mamet a cabin in Vermont, Hans Zimmer a studio with a blank score every day). 
4. Know your stuff (inside and out). James Patterson says that male readers especially tune you out if you present inaccuracies. 

Summary: Be demanding and detailed when selecting material crafting your story. 

Ron Howard, Best Film Editing Tips. 

1. During editing, "execute your final rewrite." 
2. "Editing is the process where the movie is actually made." (Editing practice schedules often defines how we play.)
3. A great collaborator (assistant) can help the director spot new ideas. 
4. "Watch film you love with the sound off to pinpoint inspiring edits."

Summary: Use quality cuts to write our narrative. Everything must advance the story and be willing to "kill your darlings," that distract from your story. 

Malcolm Gladwell, Research. 

1. Get off the Internet. Find more depth, something "new and unexpected." 
2. Google ranks by popularity. Is the most popular information what we want?
3. Go to the library. Books nearby a book you like explore different neighborhoods. If you get stuck, librarians are delighted to help.
4. Footnotes broaden your search. This reminds me of Usher's advice to "study your mentor's mentors." My mentor's mentors were John Wooden and Dean Smith. 

Summary: Have an open mind, a beginner's mind willing to explore new concepts. 

Bob Woodward, Writing the Story.

1. Write a premature draft, a summary about the story..."what's interesting, what's clear, what's new." 
2. The Rule of Six...about six things that are important 
3. "Talk the story out." 
4. Don't bury the lede (the major idea).  

Summary: reveal great stories through investigation..."find the best version of the truth." 

Lagniappe: Conventional wisdom falls distressingly short. @HalfCourtHoops
Lagiappe 2: Move the defense, relocate. "Movement kills defense." 
Collapsing defenses open other opportunity. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Basketball: The Dis-ease of Us, How It Arose, and Possible Solutions

"You'd rather look good and lose than look bad and win." - Woody Harrelson, White Men Can't Jump

Pat Riley wrote about The Disease of Me. Self-interest derails the innocent climb. This became the Disease of Us. Prima facie evidence is the college admission scandal with poster children Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin. Pay to play, not their acting careers, will define their legacy. 

Advocating for our children makes sense. We all do. But there's the "Goofus and Gallant" way of doing it. Cheer for our child and for everyone's children. 

...from Wikipedia. 

In its most extreme form, recall the Texas Cheerleader Mom scandal, where Mom plans to execute the mother of her daughter's rival. In The Politics of Coaching, Carl Pierson shares how established players' parents work to exclude rising freshmen from summer activities. I heard a story about (before a state championship game) parents counseling their child, "get your shots. That's what matters. Show you're the best." At least nobody had to die. 

What prompted parents to become so invested in their children's success? Julie Lythcott-Haims explains the transformation, migrating from safety concerns (Adam Walsh), to parent-supervised scheduled play, culture shifts emphasizing self-esteem, and parents taking direct anteambulo functions on college campuses. "In 1990, child development researchers Foster Cline and Jim Fay coined the term "helicopter parent" to refer to a parent who hovers over a child in a way that runs counter to the parent's responsibility to raise a child to independence.

Societal shifts promoting child safety, oversight, and success amidst tough competition changed norms (going to the park) to continuous supervision. It wasn't the kids' fault or truly the parents' either. Circumstances created a New Normal...more parental oversight and intervention.

But some of Riley's Disease of Me principles remained: feelings of underappreciation, jealousy, frustration, and resentment. And behaviors arose to preserve ego and status (making the team, getting playing time, and media recognition). 

What solutions can we offer as coaches? 
- Educate each other and parents about origins of this real tectonic shift. 
- Maintain an open dialogue with parents, players, and administrators. 
- Show appreciation for the efforts of players and families. 
- Emphasize the contribution of every player to the culture and success of the team. "How does the 12th player on the team feel?"

We won't make everyone happy, but understanding behavioral psychology helps us approach finding better solutions. 

Lagniappe: I'm the guy with The Masters polo on our most recent cable sports show with co-conspirator, friend Ralph Labella. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Basketball: Leadership Lessons from Gregg Popovich

Reviewing notes taken from Leadership Lessons of Gregg Popovich, I found some quotes worth sharing. 

"Build a culture where everyone is focused on the goals of the team and not on individual recognition." (We hear so many stories of the opposite...players or families whose world focuses only about them.)

He advocates for an organization based upon "strategy, structure, people, and process." Consistently bring clarity of "how things are to be done." 

Find overlooked talent. "Analyze the situation and tap into any resource that will help their organization." (Note how he brought in Etorre Messina and Becky Hammon as assistants.) 

He builds trust. "...has the rare ability to combine his demanding nature with the most sincere care for everybody in the organization." 

Empower everyone. We discussed "POUND THE ROCK..." and "we can't skip any steps."

Open communication..."players and staff constantly offer their suggestions and ideas to make the team better...communication and self-empowerment by the players is very important to winning." (This recalls Steve Kerr adopting advice from videographer Nick U'ren.) 

Be resilient. "It's a game of mistakes. That's why people score because you make mistakes." Express "gratitude in being able to compete, should give a person all the motivation they need." 

Bottom line in gaining respect and trust, "you have to give the message that the world is wider than a basketball court." This reiterates the What Drives Winning message of the person comes before the player. 

Lagniappe: This is another spin (from Chris Oliver) of overloading the BOB. Everything we do translates into gaining an advantage...or falling behind. 
I teach the girls, "bigs away will come back in to play." 

Lagniappe 2: (via Steve Collins) the confidence of Larry Bird

3. "Yes, it can always be better." 
- What are our MUST HAVES? 
- What SOLUTIONS can we orchestrate?
- Ask ourselves, "How are we narrowing the gap TODAY...a knowledge gap, perspective gap, teaching gap, communication gap?"  

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Basketball: Where Is it Time to Move On? Do You Mine Gold or Make Gold?

"A fool is a wise man's ladder." - South African Proverb

Annie Leibovitz shoots digital. Why not? "I embraced the idea that I'm interested in content and not so much the technical side of photography." 

Are there aspects of basketball from which we're reluctant to move on? For example, are we tied to Brian McCormick's Fake Fundamentals? "But we did layups lines as kids and dammit we're going to keep doing them." 

Many players on our team lack the strength to shoot 3s consistently. But if they're taking them in games, for whatever reason, how can we not practice 3s? I have to move on. Maybe we can get our three point percentage up to 25 percent, which becomes competitive in context. 

How do we teach rebounding? Do we sell conventional blockouts with defensive position and toughness and offensive anticipation and aggressiveness? Words don't get rebounds. "Hit and get." Make contact; get the ball. Have you made a bad rebounder into a good one? Do we more often coach rebounding or find rebounders? It's the alchemy question. Do you mine gold or make gold? I'm not saying rebounders can't improve; putting a guard at the foul line might get you three extra rebounds a game. 

Games over practice. Kids like games. Parents like games. Nobody goes to school to take tests 8:00 to 3:00 (that's what "work" is). Move on from all games all the time. We don't scrimmage much...but we practice O-D-O (offense-defense-offense, 3 possessions starting from a BOB, SLOB, or free throw) and small-sided 3-on-3 inside 'the split'

"Sets" are lines on the page - horns, triangle, 1-4 high, spread. Figure it out; they write their script. Having at least a second coach allows developmental offense to run at both ends. 

Yes, situations arise all the time where you teach and learn 'whole' not 'part-whole'. 

Teams need to see and learn how to run and defend many actions. It's too late to learn in the last three minutes of a postseason game. 
Lagniappe 1. Work on ourselves. "Watch" practice for five minutes with a blindfold. Judge the energy, intensity, and communication. 

Lagniappe 2. No good team is bad in the half-court. Learn to play half-court defense and half-court offense well. I can't overstate this. 

Lagniappe 3: Don't presume that we're right. Are we always right? 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Basketball: Turnovers Kill Coaches

Turnovers drive every coach nuts. Ball security is the seat belt and air bag of basketball. Win or lose, turnovers age coaches. 

Losses often feel like chance discarded. We lament close losses more than we question close wins (we're entitled to close wins and undeserving of close losses?).  I know how often we lost close games...yet conveniently forget close wins. 

Study turnovers seeking low hanging fruit. Turnovers compound low shooting percentages to cripple offense in youth basketball...Scylla and Charybdis. 

I think these are the most common youth basketball turnovers. 

These were the highest frequency NBA turnovers during the past season up to January 27, 2019. 

Shot turnovers are especially vexing, whether skill-based or decision-based. Each player should know what shots are good shots for every teammate. In a "numbers" advantage, players need to vet the best shooters/finishers to decide the highest percentage play. We evaluate this during practice continually during the 3-on-3 chase drill. 

Adam Grant's Give and Take explores reciprocity styles - takers, matchers, and givers. Givers bring energy to the court and energize teammates. Givers are about helping. A team of givers moves without the ball helping to limit turnovers and moves on the pass to create takeaways. Givers make everything possible

Winning the turnover battle matters. "The NBA team with fewer turnovers wins about 58 percent of the time. If field goal percentages are about equal, the team with fewer turnovers wins 69 percent of the time."

We focus excessively on what happens late in games. Train teams to win this possession. A turnover or poorest quality shot automatically loses a possession

I define a close game as a margin of six or fewer points (two possessions). I suspect that in two possession games, turnover margin is second to field goal percentage in determining outcome in youth games. 

Lagniappe: How do you ruin your excellent defense?