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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Basketball: Random Thoughts, What You See, Asked and Answered

When you watch "your" team (as fan, coach, player, opponent) what do you see? 

That's not obvious, because a team has many structures (offense, defense), style of play, personnel, approach (attacking, conservative), and so forth. 

1. What's your first impressionSize and athleticism leap out. We can't judge skill at a glance. I don't see my team as having much size. Not everyone agrees. 

2. Where does the team want to scoreIs 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. 

3. What are your absolutes, your NOS, as in "know your NOS." 

Key concept 1. Work backwards from No Easy Baskets. Define transition philosophy (and indirectly offensive rebounding), core defense values (no direct drives, no middle), rebounding imperative, and need to limit fouls. For example the 2008 NBA Champion Celtics wanted to take away transition scoring more than they wanted offensive rebounds. 

4. What's the CARE factor? Care is an acronym...concentration, anticipation, reaction, and execution. 

Key concept 2. Does the defense arrive at the pass receiver in time and space proximity to the ball? Great defenses move on the pass, relocate quickly, and limit time and space for the offense. They 'shrink the court' and force offense to play in traffic. Great players want to play in space. 

5. What does my team need now? Take mental notes during games, share them with the team as soon as possible, and work on corrections. In our last game, we didn't contain the dribble, played handsy defense (fouled), and struggled early to make layups ("eyes make layups") by rushing. Our offense saved us. At practice last night we worked on corrections, although we don't play again until after the New Year. 

Add more tools to half court offense. Good teams limit transition offense and play better half court defense. "Basic" execution like give-and-go and back cuts out of spread offenses won't usually work. Teach 'hard to defend' concepts. 

Simple actions can limit turnovers and get quality shots. Open the middle and go to work. 


Randy Sherman shares points per possession content "Getting to 1.0." That also implies knowing where you want to score and how you want to score. 

"Turnovers do to PPP what “taking a zero” on an assignment does for your final grade. Any shot, from a high-value or a low-value area, is superior to a turnover. It at least has a chance of going in." This is the mind-killer of youth basketball. 

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