Measure Your Success By Your Effort

Footwork Makes You Smarter

Saturday, January 28, 2012

No Time For Skills

The complaint I hear most often from coaches is that I would love to work on skills but I don’t have time. They offer a host of reasons; short season, need to get in my offensive sets in, need to establish my defensive philosophies, I need to get in my slobs and blobs in, it would be nice to teach kids how to play, but there is just not time.

I guess I would have to ask, what is your objective?
Consider this, less than 6% of high school players will play college basketball, and less than 2% of college basketball players will turn pro.
As a coach you probably will not turn out that many players going to the next level. I’ve been fortunate to be able to get some there. Some of them were a surprise, some I felt were more than capable but were over looked, and some did not last once they got there.

It has to be about more than teaching some X’s and O’s. Getting players to do the dance of what you have decided is this years flavour of offense and defense. There is always time to teach skills.

Take these suggestions into consideration.

Transition Versus Half Court Offense
Although true you must be able to execute in the half court during tight games, if you fold a piece of paper down the middle and do a lumber jack tally on each side, one for scores in transition and broken plays, and the other side points scored in the half court offense, you might be surprised that the majority of points will be in the transition and broken plays section. Teaching your players to run lanes wide, approach the rim at a 45 degree angle above the block, run and catch, give targets, communicate, run and pass and finishing at the rim are all teachable skills. You can incorporate these into your drills. Design your drills to be jam packed with skills and habits you want your team to have.

Warm Up Pre-practice
This is an excellent time to bring your teams core temperature up by using skills. Teach footwork drills. If they ain’t sweatin, they ain’t workin hard enough. Try getting players to work in pairs, and have them go through a series of skills that you want to emphasise. If you need help or would like some specific instructions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

You probably like most of us accumulated a stack of Slobs and Blobs over the years. They probably all look very different from your offense continuity or sets. If you want to save time, use your offense and break it down into chunks that can be used as a Slob or Blob. This will trim down on the amount of time you need to teach, this part of the game. Let’s face it, when it’s time to teach Slobs and Blobs the energy level of the practice drops. It’s difficult to keep the verve of the practice going during this section. You can make it more competitive by timing them, as long as they are executing it correctly and they make the time, they have no consequences.

Push Pull Rotations
It’s far more effective if you players understand how to rotate to a new position depending on the ball movement. If there is penetration, which way should you players move in a push pull theory of basketball? When you teach sets, make sure you modify them so players are not standing around, but fill in new spots so there is always the following passes available; a baseline drift, and 90 degree pass, a 45 degree pass, and a player filling in from behind.

Designer Drills
Any drill can be good, if you are teaching skills. Those skills can be specific to what you are trying to achieve in your offense or defense. If you screen in a certain area of the floor, then design a drill that teaches how to get over a screen, how to burry your defender in a screen, how to pick and roll, how to pick and pop, how to make the read on the defender, so your players know how to reject a screen, shoot over a screen, bounce off a screen, turn a corner on a screen, how to attack outside shoulders and split a screen, and how to keep your head up during all of this so you can read the floor.

Help Your Players Become Better Athletes

If for no other reason, make your players better athletes because the tangible improvement players can see will make them more confident. A better athlete will be a better player. If you increase your quickness you will be a better player. If you increase your strength you will be a better player. If you increase your vertical you will be a better player. If you develop healthy habits of exercise and eating right, these are skills you can take forward in your lives, when you are not longer playing the game you love.

If I can help you with any of these suggestions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Do You Like Coaching

Yes I know you like wearing the shirt. You like being called coach. You like the respect and revere that comes with the position. You like the company and community. Maybe you even like the TV appearance. Maybe you like the lime light. But do you really like coaching?
I observe coaches in a state of agitation. I see them angry most of the time. They are upset at practice. They are upset during games. They use foul language, and I know society has become loose with language just as it has with appearance, and behaviour, but that doesn’t mean you have to conform to that standard.
Where does this behaviour from coaches stem from? Is it the pressure to succeed? Is the pressure to keep your job? Is it a reflection, of the measure of your character? Do you have what Ernest Hemingway called "grace under pressure”. Or is it simply you feel inadequate in what you are doing. Did you spend the time to prepare your team? Are you passing the buck and blaming your team for the loss? Wait, it is a team right? You are part of it correct? Then isn’t the blame shared?
From personal experience I can say, that all but two losses I felt I had either not prepared my team, or made a decision during the game that might have produced a different outcome. Two of the best games I coached and prepared my teams for resulted in losses. But I could not have been more proud of the team, and my efforts in those games. They gave it their all, and so did I and my assistants. It stung, but it didn’t last long. It wasn’t our day.

For me coaching is teaching. Teaching is one of the most honourable professions, if your heart is in it. If you are willing to make a difference, and let the difference be your reward. If your heart isn’t in it, and you are agitated, and angry most of the time, then get out. You need to find something else to do with your time. Think of the effects you have on those players, and the role you are setting for your assistants. You can’t deny the effect you will have on both groups. I see out of control head coaches’ behaviour trickling down to their assistants. Nice legacy.

Stop looking for perfection! Look for improvements. Look for learning. Take the time to enjoy what you are doing. In the end it's about forming relationships.

Try focusing on some of these things.

1.Improve Your Players Skills
A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.
Larry Bird

2.Coaches Should Motivate Players
You only ever grow as a human being if you're outside your comfort zone.
Percy Cerutty

3.Coaches Should Be Tough But Fair
Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.
Oscar Wilde

4.Coaches Should Make It A Team Effort
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Henry Ford

5.Coaches Should Not Be Demeaning
By lifting the weakest, poorest among us, we lift the rest of us as well.
Bill Clinton

6.Coaches Should Give It Their All
The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.
Albert Einstein

7.The Sport Should Be Fun, Not Funny, But Fun
When the going gets tough, the tough do what they do, while the wise find the game in it.