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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Attack and Finish

Excellent video from BasketballHQ. Emphasis on spacing, aggressive footwork, and finishing. 

This drill would fit exceptionally well as the finish to "continuous dribble handoff." 

"Lean into the Suck"

Remember that Jon Gordon tells us, "Feeling is much more powerful than hearing." Do our players have a special feeling about the lessons or are they just hearing them? 

Sheryl Sandberg discusses resilience in the Cal commencement address above. After her husband's sudden death, during her recovery her rabbi advised her to "lean into the suck." Many of her lessons translate to coaching and to basketball. 

Events transform our lives, but our opportunity arises to transform our players' experiences. Do we choose to effect change or just watch? 

There's much to be learned in analyzing her address. I'm providing "Cliff Notes" for those who can't spare twenty-five minutes to listen. 

Sandberg makes it personal (family experience). She sprinkles humor into her speech. She connects with her audience emotionally through her personal suffering. She introduces the direct wisdom of Martin Seligman and indirectly references Catholic author Matthew Kelly. She shares herself. 

Sandberg connects with her audience in other means, understanding failure, relationships, and cultural literacy.  She conveys a critical series of message, "You will be defined not by what you achieve but by how you survive."

Personalization, the belief that we at are fault. "Not everything that happens to us happens because of us." Coach Popovich would say to find players who are "over themselves." 

Pervasiveness. "There's nowhere to hide from the all-consuming sadness." We have to dissociate other aspects of our life from the tragic ones. 

Permanence. This will never end. Loss and struggle feel interminable. But they will end

She encourages students to learn these dimensions of suffering while young. She didn't introduce Viktor Frankl's messages from "Man's Search for Meaning", that however good we are at relationships and work, few of us excel at suffering. 

"Finding gratitude and appreciation are the keys to resilience." She writes down three moments of joy before going to bed. 

She asks students to grasp rhetorically how precious each day is when we don't know how long we have to live. 

This is the classic photo of Dean Smith and North Carolina after they WON an NCAA title. Winning is never easy. Passion often represents suffering. We should appreciate the journey. 

She asks students to build resilient organizations and to speak up when they see problems. As coaches, we have a chance to fix things that are broken. Why wouldn't we? 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Generate Ideas for Improving Your Program

"I have a personal goal of reading at least two hours a day." - Kevin Eastman

Teams demanding success willingly share, sacrifice, and collaborate. 

"We don't know when the next best message is in that book." - Kevin Eastman

WAIT. Why am I talking? We can only say what we know. We can hear concepts and information that we don't. 

Kevin Eastman shares three pillars of Celtics' culture (2010) - 
Personal sacrifice

At our (developmental) level, we focus on teamwork, excellence, accountability. Every practice should reflect those values. 

General concepts for the summer:

1) Activities are voluntary. "You make you." 
2) Every evolution should translate to game actions. 
3) More teaching, less coaching. 
4) Use time wisely. Practice at a high tempo
5) PLAY basketball. Make it fun. 
6) Add value continuously. 
7) Cultivate buy-in. 
8) "Be warm and demanding." 
9) Only repetitions done right count. 

Build relationships.
1) "The players liked, respected, and trusted the other players." - Kevin Eastman
2) Strengthen relationships with players and families. Change lives not players. 
3) The good of the team must supersede egos. 

Increase knowledge. Know your system and how to teach it. 

Organize, improve, and enhance your "drill book". I use a spreadsheet on Google Drive. We all have drills but not everyone has a drill book. I'm updating my drill book to help me create better summer workouts. 

My best opportunity to improve our team is growing our players. So if the success of the team matters, improving the players matters. 

Jon Gordon Shares Positive C's

Jon Gordon overflows with truth. Here are a few excerpts from his 2015 lecture at Coaching U Live. 

"We live in a world that likes to focus on the outcome (the fruit)...if we ignore the root the tree dies."

"Culture needs to come first." 

"Your culture determines whether your strategy is successful." 

"Feeling is so much more powerful than hearing." 

"Optimism is a competitive advantage." Contagious

Jon Gordon's favorite book he authored is The Energy Bus. 

"Leadership is the transfer of belief."

We can effect big changes with smaller actions. 

When we are busy we can fail Communication. It has to work at 1-on-1 level. 

"Winning teams have great communication."

Invest in Connection with your team. "It is more powerful when a team wants to play for each other."

"What are the great moments in your life?" 

He discusses exercises like "Hero, Hardship, and Highlight" and "if you really knew me, then..." 

"Commitment says I am putting the team first."

"Swen Nater never started a game in college...and was a first round draft choice," because he competed to make Bill Walton better every day. 

"To work harder, you have to Care more." How do we show that we care? Do we have a "caring trademark?"

"If you're not Consistent, your team doesn't know what to expect from you." We have to earn trust through our consistency of attitude, behavior, and leadership. 

More than anything else, Gordon's talk illustrates the value of reciprocity. It gets back to that concept of "are we building a program or a statue?" 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Love Your Losses

"Every losing trade is there to teach you something." - Brett Steenbarger "The Daily Trading Coach"

Analyzing outcomes is insufficient. Be specific and be detail-oriented. What went wrong? Why did it go wrong? How can we correct the problem? Create a 'play journal' or a spreadsheet to track corrections. 

Here's the link to the video instruction

Early data from Dean Oliver (Basketball on Paper: Rules and Tools for Performance Analysis) found turnovers to be the second most important determinant of outcome. 

That's still not enough. We need to verify that players understand the error and the correction. "Tell me in your words what I just explained." Then we need to close the loop with review of whether adjustments worked. 

"Prepare for every game as though you lost your last game." - Lon Kruger

For example, maybe we committed twenty turnovers. Were they traveling, fumbles, bad passes, violations, bad fouls? 

Some of the best companies set aside time for employees to brainstorm how to improve. Ideas like Gmail (Google) and Post It Notes (3M) came from time so reserved.

“What vulnerabilities do we have and what can we do to minimize them, to get around them, to survive them—and give ourselves a better chance to win?” - Bob Knight, The Power of Negative Thinking

For our teams to become successful, we must teach them not only what to do but what to stop doing. "Do more of what works and less of what doesn't." 

Fast Five: Summer Musts

Offseason voluntary workouts begin soon. Priorities and emphasis should be clear FROM the coach to the players. Education is about effecting behavioral change but demands a "performance-focused, feedback-rich" environment. 


1. Keep it simple, stupid. Pete Newell emphasized that basketball was about getting "more and better shots than our opponent." Part of simplicity is bring ENERGY and EMOTION to practice. Emotion facilitates memory. Emotion sears events into memory. Think about the most emotional experiences in your cannot forget them. 

2. Defense begins with ball pressure. As coaches, WE MAKE THE RULES. I'm not going to run a team this summer, just practices, because so many girls are already on AAU teams. But when we scrimmage, I'm considering a NEW RULE...if you're not pressuring the ball (capable of touching the player), then on my command, you have to run to the sideline and then get back into the play. 

I hate "dead man's defense" (playing 6 feet under the ball). We must create the habits we want. I've seen another coach (via a FIBA video) who forces a turnover anytime that players aren't advancing the ball/attacking the basket. WE MAKE THE RULES. 

3. "It's not your shot, it's our shot." Jay Bilas' article and subsequent book, Toughness, remind us of many key dimensions of play. Everyone must know what is a 'good shot' for everyone else on the team. "Shot accountability" matters. I have a lot of respect for a coach who used to pull a player aside and say, "that is not how we play." 

4. "Small-sided games." Defense demands involvement from all five players. But offense often gets run 3 on 3, 2 on 2 (two-man game), 1 on 1. 

We can enhance this by forcing players to play within a confined area (e.g. on one side of 'the split' - a line bisecting the length of the court). This translates to game action where 'help side' defense lives. 

5. "Keep it interesting." Vary the drills. My kids love playing "ultimate", full court press, 5 on 5, NO DRIBBLE. If the ball hits the floor, it's a turnover. We might change it up to allow bounce passes. But the game demands passing and cutting, offense and defense, and is tremendous at conditioning...and FUN

Shivek drive and kick drill...vary the finishes - 3, pullup, drive, floater. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

2 on 2 Drill with Coach from FastModel

"Feed a man a fish and he eats today; teach a man to fish and he eats every day." 

Players need to learn basketball 'actions'. For example: 

Pass and basket cut.
Pass and screen away.
Pass and screen the ball. 
Pass and move to an open spot.

The salient phrases include:

"Movement kills defenses" and "make yourself hard to guard." 

FastModel shares a 2 on 2 drill with Coach. Done properly, it 'forces' cutting and screening. One very important phrase to remember is "the screener is the second cutter...and the second cutter is almost always open." Screening isn't "scut work", it's OPPORTUNITY. But the recipient has great responsibility...reading the screen, setting up her cut, and cutting with purpose. 

Remember, you play the lion's share of the game without the ball. Successful players figure that out while developing their ball skills, too. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Difference Makers - Readers

"The differences between the person you are today and the person you will become in five years are the people you meet and the books you read." - anonymous

This post from Coach Starkey discusses reading.

Kevin Eastman, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the LA Clippers, reads at least two hours a day. Over three months, he notes that gives him 180 hours of information and knowledge over a non-reader. Eastman notes in Starkey's article:

Steve Forbes, entrepreneur, reads at least fifty pages a day.

John Calipari, cited in Coach Starkey's post, says he usually has three books going at a time.

As coaches, we model behaviors for our players and their families. What kind of model do you want to establish.

I recently finished Black Box Thinking

Currently, I'm reading:

Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed 

The Daily Trading Coach - 101 Lessons for Becoming Your Own Trading Psychologist

I'm reviewing highlights from: Tuesday Morning Coaching 

On deck I have: Management Secrets of the New England Patriots

I believe in creeping incrementalism. Become a little better every day. Track your progress. Control what we can control - our attitude (The Positive Dog), beliefs (recommendations based on facts and best practices), and values leading to better choices.

Over forty percent of Americans do not read one book in a year. They are being left behind by the Information Age.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Reach Out: Techniques for Gathering and Harnessing Interpersonal Support

“In Africa we having a saying, 'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." - African Proverb

Yale mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot tells the story of his father's daring escape from wartime Germany. There is a time for bold independence but it's not every day. 

Humans survived as social animals because we are poorly adapted physiologically for extreme environments. We don't have protective fur, much insulating fat, excessive speed, or threatening claws and teeth. Populations expanded via shared roles...hunting, gathering (food, firewood), shared child raising, clothing manufacture, shelter construction abetted by developing sophisticated brains. Independently, a small group had too much work and too few hands. 

We can grow in both strength and resilience by adding life dimensions of MENTORING, a PERSONAL BOARD of DIRECTORS, and SELF-COACHING. 

We can all find mentors. In Stronger, the authors tell the story of Donald Tyson, a troubled youngster who enlisted in the Navy at age 17. He quickly got into a problem with underaged drinking, but after punishment (without inclusion in his service record), rebounded with new commitment because a mentor gave him a chance. Remarkably, he became a Navy SEAL, although when he joined the Navy, he was unable to swim. 

Our mentors don't even have to be alive. In A Game Plan for Life, Coach Wooden discusses his mentors, including not only former coaches, but Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa. When we learn from the people we meet (even through social media) and the books we read, that education can change our behavior. It can help erase bad habits and reinforce positive attitudes (see Jon Gordon's "The Positive Dog"), beliefs, and values. 

In Players First, Coach John Calipari discusses his personal Board of Directors. He periodically meets with a small group of advisors/confidants and discusses life and choices. Few of us can always see "the other side of the trade." 

We can become our own coach. Brett Steenbarger writes in The Daily Trading Coach, "It begins with you and what you want from your life. Trading, in this context, is more than buying, selling, and hedging: it is a vehicle for self-mastery and development." Great coaching flows from great sharing. 

We should also avoid toxic personalities. When those around us thrive on envy, narcissism, negativity, and selfishness, we cannot reach our potential. Appreciation does not spring full-grown from psychologically-hazardous waste. 

Take intelligent risk. Teddy Roosevelt said, “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” 

'No Man is an Island'

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man's death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Coaching reflects teaching, leadership, communication, organization and preparation, and fairness.

In Up the Organization Robert Townsend writes, "everybody must be judged on his performance, not on his looks or his manners or his personality or who he knows or is related to." 

We have to "hire tough", selecting players as objectively as possible. I know one coach who includes speed, strength, and jumping ability as part of his evaluation. When a parent asks why his daughter didn't make the team, he can say that she was last in each area in addition to more subjective tryout metrics. 

Fairness means praise for praiseworthy performance but not false praise. When possible, I prefer to critique effort and play privately and with another adult (ideally a parent) present. 

Statistics help objective analysis. Shot charts can illustrate what is working and what needs reassessment. 

Distribution of 'minutes' will ALWAYS produce some unfairness. Minutes aren't carrots and sticks. More skilled and experienced players can view more playing time to less experienced players as unfair. As a coach in a developmental setting, I favor more equally shared minutes during games as preferable. I see practice as the most vital part of basketball growth. 

Coach Wooden's "Letter to Players" shares his approach. It includes, "the coach has many decisions to make and you will not agree with all of maturity and years of experience enable me to be more accurate in the selection of playing personnel, the style of play most suitable to the abilities of the players available, and to what is in the best interest of the 1972-1973 UCLA team, than the judgment of any player or other interested third party."

Fairness, like coaches, is imperfect. The best we can hope for is to convey our intent to do what is in the best of the team and communicate why we do what we do. 

Moving on Up from Horns

Jefferson goes backdoor out of horns. 

Great offense is multiple actions. 3 hits 4 backdoor. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

This Time Is Different

Every time we step on the court to coach, ask "what do we bring to the team and to the individual players?" Are we adding value, bringing energy, and deserving of buy-in? I believe that we have a constant obligation to earn their respect, their trust, and their loyalty.

Players are entitled to ask, "How are you going to be different than my other coach?"

"Never be a child's last coach." The experience should increase players' interest and knowledge and their desire to improve. If a child abandons a sport because of the quality of the coaching or the personality of the coach, they can still look in the mirror.

"The coach has to bring her 'A' game every day." There's seldom an excuse. I remember one practice last summer when I had nothing. I got home and had a fever over 101 and a developing infection. The players deserved more than I gave that day.

"Players need priorities and emphasis." If you want to have a successful program, you need clarity of culture, philosophy, and identity. "This is who we are. This is how we play." When you played John Thompson's Georgetown Hoyas of the 1980s, you knew exactly what you were going to face.

"Performance-focused, feedback-rich." Everything we do should have a clear purpose and how we do it deserves comment comment and correction. Focus on the details early and demand proper execution. If you learn how to shoot a basketball incorrectly and practice a lot, you will excel at shooting incorrectly.

"Nothing should be lost in translation." I've never seen a player should ten consecutive free throws in a game. If you'll probably never shoot more than five in a row, why practice shooting twenty uninterrrupted? Make every evolution in practice meaningful.

"Make practice hard so games are easy."

"Play is children's work." Practice can accomplish much without drudgery. Practice at a high tempo. Value the players' time. They're away from schoolwork and family. Make it fun.

"Variety truly is the spice of life." If we practice closeouts, run different drills. Get as many players involved as possible. Nobody gets better standing in line. Condition within drills or scrimmages.

"Would I want my child to play for me?" If so, why? In not, why not? Am I the same person every day, or am I moody or brooding, selfish, or withdrawn? Can I teach with clarity and compassion?

"Where are my blindspots? Am I addressing them? We all have need areas. Are we open to the reality of our areas for improvement? 

The Power of Perseverance

Winston Churchill led Great Britain as Prime Minister from 1941-1945 and 1951-1955. As much as anything, he is remembered for perseverance, the unwillingness to give in. 

Cal Ripken, who played in 2632 consecutive games for the Baltimore Orioles, listed eight dimensions to perseverance. 

1. The Right Values

2. A Strong Will to Succeed
3. Love What You Do
4. Preparation
5. Anticipation
6. Trusting Relationships
7. Life Management
8. The Courage of Your Convictions

Others will not always agree with what we believe, what we do, or what we say. But when in good faith we act on our beliefs to 'do the right thing' we enjoy peace of mind. That doesn't equate to ignoring others, to disrespecting other opinions, or being contentious. 
MacArthur's speech defines goals for all of us. 

Great character demands perseverance.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Run the Floor

In Jay Bilas' landmark article "Toughness", RUN THE FLOOR is one of his toughness criteria. What does that mean? 

It's synonymous with playing hard and playing smart. "Play with purpose." Running the floor is more than a mandate, it's a mentality. 

Offensively, wings "run wide". In the classic "Laker Break" the wings were expected to have their outside foot at the sideline at half court. This helps spread the defense and keeps passing and cutting lanes open. 

Offense also demands running but both change of direction and change of pace. Short-burst running regularly occurs during a variety of classical cuts and Floppy sets. 

Running the floor demands superior conditioning. Players must be ready to go on the first day of practice. The Boston Celtics have a legendary conditioning and effort test at the end of their tryouts. Another workout test is a series of eight by 220 yard runs among guards, forwards, and centers with time requirements for each 'set'. Three separate groups are tested with one running and two resting until their next set. Depending on your age group, you establish "baselines" per set.

Defensively, we first think of running in transition. That demands top speed within three steps, running and thinking, communication ("communication is a skill") and shaping up (protecting the basket as first priority), beating your assignment to half-court, and no "buddy running." 

Drill: 5 on 5, shooter must touch baseline (miss or make)...creates 5 on 4 

Drill: 3 on 3 (continuous transition)

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Success begins with character. High character individuals have honesty, integrity, discipline, and inspire trust through action. Model character. 

Former Speaker of the House John McCormack didn't like everyone...but he held everyone in high regard. But some he viewed with "minimal high regard." 

Coach Starkey shares thoughts from Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich. Here are a few excerpts: 

"Being able to enjoy someone else’s success is a huge thing."

"For potential draft picks, we go to high school practices and to college practices to see how a player reacts to coaches and teammates. The phrase that we use is seeing whether people have “gotten over themselves.”

"The worst thing you can do is let it go when someone has been egregious in some sort of way. The young kids see that and you lose respect and the fiber of your team gets frayed a bit."

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why Are Players Hard to Coach?

The Hardwood Hustle podcast. Annotated. 

1. Stop being selfish.
"We empower...there is entitlement...selfish players destroy team chemistry." Build chemistry by thanking teammates. Avoid celebrating self. 

Recognize unselfish plays, actions, and players. Celebrate unselfishness. "That which gets praised gets repeated."

Praise what you value...unselfishness, energy, enthusiasm. 

2. Stop being so sensitive.
"Evaluated experience makes champions." 
"Great players want to be coached." 
Create buy-in. 
How would you describe the player you most liked to play with? Imagine that player. 
"Do you want to have the same values and style of that player?"

3. Stop being lazy. 
Are you working your hardest? Are you taking plays off? Are you fully mentally engaged? Understand, as a coach, the distinction between coaching and teaching. Some players don't understand the difference between hard work and something less. Players don't always know what hard work looks like. Talent will not overcome laziness. "It is disrespectful to teammates and coaches when you only work hard for a visiting coach or recruiter."

4. Stop being ungrateful.
Entitlement is unacceptable. Model gratitude and servant leadership. 

"Is your agenda ahead of the team?"
"Are you working at the highest level?"
"Are you entitled?"

Zipper Option High Ball Screen

You see a lot of teams inbound the ball off SLOB with a zipper cut on the ball side. They sometimes run this into a high pick-and-roll. 

Here's a variation off the same theme, just spitballing. Same church, different pew. Vary personnel to suit your needs.

Instead of screening down, 3 gets the entry. 
2 clears to the opposite corner. 
4 sets a long, delayed diagonal screen. 
5 sets the high ball screen. 
We have several lefthanded 3s which gets them going to their strong hand with middle ball screens and both corners opened for possible threes. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

"Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed"

"Stronger" by Everly et al. gives concrete ideas on becoming more resilient. Here are a few quotes:

“Taking personal responsibility requires courage, perhaps more courage than being decisive. After all, most of us believe that mistakes are who we are, rather than what we did."

“Resilience is the ability to personally rebound from adversity.”

“Optimism is more than a belief, it’s a mandate for change.”

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” –George Eliot

“We suggest that the moral compass for resilience consists of four points-honesty, integrity, fidelity, and ethical behavior.”

Resilience starts with character. It flows through attitude, action, and persistence (tenacity) and is supplemented with interpersonal support of mentors, coaches, and teams. 

Sherri Coale Attack Drill

I prefer to run this type of drill closer first and have players use only one dribble. Then move it back and try to extend the distance with a one-dribble drive. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Change attitudes to change thinking.

Change thinking to change behaviors.

Change behaviors to change habits.

Change habits to change actions.

Change actions to change lives.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Simple Youth Leadership Concepts

Wow Factor

Wow factor. You know it when you see it. 

A simple science experiment demonstrates a chemical reaction. 

Sports reveals and rewards extraordinary performance. 

Our daily task in coaching combines algorithmic (set action) and heuristic (creativity-based) action. In Drive, Daniel Pink reveals that our traditional views on motivation (surivival and extrinsic - reward and punishment based) insufficient to produce highest performance. 

He shows that algorithmic (task-oriented) processes (e.g. free-throw shooting) can be enhanced via rewards. But he also shares the numerous times (e.g. commissioned versus self-produced art) that intrinsic motivation produces superior work. 

Our expectations don't match reality with respect to the "hot hand". 

Perhaps the ultimate blend of algorithmic versus heuristic approach was revealed by Dick Fosbury. 

Sometimes, to touch the sky, we need a different perspective. 

Conventional wisdom will most often produce conventional results. Take a few moments to dream what might be. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Running Floppy Through

It's not about what you 'run' but running it well. The NBA features many types of actions - on ball screens, Horns, cross screens to get post entry, Triangle, staggered and elevator screens, screen-the-screener action and more. 

Another popular action is "floppy" which we'll examine today.  

Often run as a "single/double" action. 

Plenty of options if the initial cutters are unavailable. 

Continuation options if post entry to back door cut are not open.

Coach Nick shows the details, including the footwork on the dribble pitch that can open up drive or shot options for the ballhandler as well as the pocket pass. 

Excellent explanation of how "simple" can create multiple options. 

Lawrence Frank Notes


1) Sprint back and get defense set
2) Shrink the floor (take away gaps) and protect the paint (no middle, no paint) and closeout aggressively and challenge shots and don't commit stupid fouls
3) Paint consequences (block, charge, deflection, steal, verticality, foul, basket)
4) Drop to the level (5 on the ball)
5) Help like you like to be helped
6) Multiple efforts (magic is in the work)
7) Finish the possession

- take away layups, free throws, corner 3s, open 3s 
- what's left (hard 2s) 
"No layups, no free throws, no threes."

Triangle defense:
- when players covering the pick-and-roll, remaining 3 are in 'triangle' protection
- communication is central to confirm roles
"Nail" man must protect ball side elbow
Theme is "two on the ball" and "triangle protection" behind the ball with rotation 

Same principles (looks like triangle behind the ball). If the big (5) pops on a trap, then X4 rotates to him and X5 recovers to protect the basket. He reiterates guard on the ball to use high hands and the big's inside hand down to mitigate the pocket pass to the roller. 

X4 and X5 have to work to protect each other (big and big). X3 has to protect the gap and stunt to prevent the corner 3 (deadly).

Elbow and block protection are fundamental. 

When fronting the post, if ball entered, rotation into triangle (depends to a degree on the scoring perimeter threat how you deploy x1). Remember the 'theme'. 

When the side pick-and-roll is covered, can create vulnerability to 'short roll' and the roller has to be bumped to deny great entry. Talk is critical as is the coordination between the "nail man" and the "low man". Order of priority is BALL, PAINT, and WEAK. 

The top 5 NBA teams were the top 5 successes in making 3s. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Heat Horns Slip and Pick

Wade couldn't finish but got a clean look off the high ball screen. The 'reads' depend on how the defense approaches the play (ICE, show) or if defense helps from the corner (generally considered a no-no) from 2. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Role Players

"85 percent of NBA players are role players." - anonymous

Hall of Fame players have begun as bench players, starring as the 'sixth man'. John Havlicek and Kevin McHale made that leap. James Harden has breached that challenge as well. But 'limited' players, for example Bruce Bowen, transitioned a role "three and D" into multiple championships. 

Unhappiness soars when we magnify differences between expectations and reality. Spend a dollar on a lottery ticket, win a thousand? Eureka. Buy a new car and have it stall on the way home? Aarrgghh. And those emotions don't involve our strongest desires or our families. 

First, many of us have unrealistic expectations. I'm not talking about setting extreme goals, but rather SMART ones (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely). Taking up jogging isn't the same as winning the Boston Marathon. Also, our family and friends may be in our ears fueling our fantasy. I've heard a parent tell a player, "you're just as good as she is, you can score just as much, get your shots." That's not helping. 

"Just because I want you on the floor doesn't mean that I want you to shoot." - Bob Knight

As coaches, part of our job is defining roles and informing players about them. But that's not enough. A player needs to "know her role", embrace the role, and work to excel in that role. Coaches can facilitate that by praising players who fulfill their role, individually, to the team, and in the media when appropriate.

"It's the scoreboard, not the scorebook", that matters. Find a way to help the team succeed. Finding a niche as a dominant defender, an impactful rebounder, or outstanding distributor can earn a player outsized minutes. But coaches can't preach roles and play scorers at the expense of other skills. When we do, we're hypocrites. I'm not saying not to put players in who can make free throws when fouling strategies are in play or that defense alone win games. 

"Shooters shoot, passers pass, and everyone plays defense." - Bob Knight 

When you abandon your area of specialization, then you're cheating yourself and devaluing your teammates. We don't need or want cognitive dissonance (the emotional state where our reality and beliefs conflict). But if you want a bigger role in your business, school play, or sport, then you must become more. "Do more to become more; become more to do more." 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

You Win in the Locker Room First

I finished You Win in the Locker Room First by Mike Smith (former HC of the Atlanta Falcons) and Jon Gordon. 

They share a common sense approach to team building and individual development. Individual chapters discuss: 

Contagious (attitude)

They sum up with thoughts about coaching. 

They could have easily added some more C's - confidence, character, courage, and community. 

Here are a few quotes:

“Culture consists of the shared purpose, attitudes, values, goals, practices, behaviors, and habits that define a team or organization."

"Leadership is the transfer of belief."

"You need everyone to be aligned with the same beliefs, expectations, behaviors, and habits."

"One of the keys to listening and communicating is to ask the right people the right questions." 

“Transformational coaches invest in the root and, over time, it produces a lot of fruit.” 

“Culture drives expectations and beliefs. Expectations and beliefs drive behaviors. Behaviors drive habits and habits create the future.” –Jon Gordon