30 second time outs

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Where do you want to go?

Change of pace...change of direction....change the rhythm of your dribble - and get wherever you want to go on the basketball court.

My oldest son was very good at this and used angles to get into the lane at will versus some very good defenders. I particularly remember a fairly one-sided matchup between him and a pretty athletic looking defender. After a number of penetrating drives leading to baskets or assists the other coach yelled,
"LOOK AT HIM! ... LOOK AT YOU! ... HOW?!?"
Change of pace...change of direction....change the rhythm of your dribble ... Thats how!

Monday, January 25, 2010


I don't believe in Quantum Physics when it comes to matters of basketball.
While reading - think "Crash Davis " in Bull Durham
(remember - Bull Durham comes with an "R" rating.)


I believe in the basketball.
I believe in running the floor,
the first open man,
the ball reversal,
the open shot,
the jump stop,
and the pivot foot.
I believe in setting screens,
using screens,
dribbling for a reason,
good passing angles,
being "shot-ready"
and catching passes with two hands.
I believe in spacing, court vision, the"assist/turnover ratio", and the concept of "relative motion".
I believe that there oughtta be a constitutional amendment outlawing the dunk and the hand-check.
I believe in a good, defensive stance,
pressure on the basketball,
influencing to the sideline,
preventing penetration,
fronting the post in the "red-zone" and playing behind in the "smile".
I believe in the "ball-man-line",
help-side defense,
checking cutters,
committing to the basketball,
taking the charge rather than blocking the shot,
team rebounding,
and I believe in the beauty of long, solid possesions that always result in a shot on offense and a contested shot on defense.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Runner vs Odd Front Zone

We ran this against all Odd Front zones (3-2, 1-2-2, 1-3-1)

I've found out that the best attack was also the simplest. Here goes:
2 post players at the block-who may flash a step or two when the ball is at the diagonal guard - no farther.
2 guards in a 2 guard front who should not move more than a step or two. Be a threat to shoot off the catch I always told them that "the second best thing that can happen in this offense is that you are guarded!"
Your best player (read "smartest") goes WHEREVER HE SHOULD, basically - "go where they ain't", and the other players need to FIND HIM.
The runner needs to go to the wing, corner, flash in the middle, wherever he needs to go to get open - but KEEP MOVING! The players just need to be in tune with the runner and at least every 3rd pass should find him (or her).

He should be a threat to score, but maybe having good vision, being a good passer, and knowing WHERE to go is more important. Often times the "runner" gets far more assists than baskets. If you choose the right spot and someone steps up or out to guard you - someone is always open! Imagine flashing into the middle and a touch pass to one of the 2 posts if that defender stepped up to defend. Draw it up and see the possibilities.

If the defense stays in their 3-2, being in the gaps and the runner finding a spot should be fairly simple. If the defense "matches up" you've gotten them out of their 3-2. With the runner working to find the "right spot" and the passers occupying their a defender then working to find the runner - a shot will materialize shortly.

How simple was that? Have 4 guys just stand in the right spots and tell your best player to go wherever he should. Seriously.I liked this offense so much that my only problem was that we didn't get to run it for very long. A few possessions and easy shot opportunities and the opponent got out of it !;?)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Mismatch Etiquette

In light of the 170-35 blow-out victory by Yates High School over Lee High School in Houston, I though I'd repost a newsletter topic I wrote first back in 2004, with a few additions/edits.

Coaches should try to schedule games against teams that will present somewhat of a challenge. While padding the schedule with wins may seem attractive, playing teams of inferior talent will actually hinder a teams development. However, many times in preseason tournaments obvious mismatches between two teams occur or a league may be set up where you have to play someone far inferior. The tough thing for coaches in this situation is figuring out a way for their team to get everything out of the game that they can, without humiliating the opponent.

Coaches, in the 1st half - do your thing, play your game, anything goes. If the lead starts to get real big, your regulars may not be benefiting anyway, so play your substitutes a little more. Mix up some lineups and play a couple of subs with the starters. You may find a diamond in the rough. Try a player at a different position. You may get a pleasant surprise. If you know ahead of time it might go this way, it's not a bad time to reward someone and give someone a start

When playing against teams or players who are not quite as talented, it is still important to play at YOUR best. Do not drop your level of play simply to defeat the opponent. Compete against your own personal best every time out, and try to achieve that. To do that AND respect your opponent, there may be some additional strategies that you employ.

2nd half (or at least the 4th quarter) Adjust your strategy to practice specific situations that you may face somewhere down the line. *The key point is to EXPLAIN this to the players so that they realize that they ARE NOT letting up but actually working on strategies that will make them better.

1) Play everyone and mix up your lineup. Insert a few subs with a couple of starters. The starters work hard and still deserve to get some time. This mixes it up.

OBJECTIVE:you never know when an injury or foul trouble (maybe both) may force those players into an increased role. Prepare them to play with the regulars

2) Don't press full court. I don't care if you are a pressing team and you "need to work on it". What kind of work are you really getting against that type of inferior competition?

OBJECTIVE:pressing bad competition causes players to take gambles that may not work against better teams, and those are the teams that you are supposed to be preparing to beat. Continuing to press may develop bad habits that hurt you down the road. Avoid those bad habits by calling off the press or changing to a different type of pressure.

3) Don't get steals and shoot uncontested layups. Do that in layup lines. Pull it out and work on some sort of offensive set or continuity

this will help you run out the last possession of a game when you have a one point lead. Or better yet when it's tied with 35 seconds to go and you want to take the last shot. And then demand only inside shots. THAT will help you get better.

4) Play a tight zone or a pack m2m

OBJECTIVE: play as if you need to stop some big post player or a team that can't shoot outside, on at least a crucial possession.

5) Don't deny passes and get steals in the half court. Force THEM to take time off of the clock.

OBJECTIVE:play as if you were playing a team much quicker than you that might be able to beat you on some backdoor plays. Against those teams the deeper you get in the shot clock-the bigger advantage the defense has.

6) Block out and rebound - then WALK IT UP!

OBJECTIVE:play as if you were protecting an 8 pt lead in the final minute. At that point in a game you don't want to play a fast pace and create more possessions and opportunities for the opponent to come back.

If a team did that for an entire half using 35 seconds and even assuming that the losing team didn't 'play along' and shot in their first 10 seconds, the team would have to shoot 100% just to score 40 pts in the 2nd half. A more normal 50% and they score 20 pts. Maybe the other team scores a few and you only win by 40.

I loved winning by 15-20. Safe enough lead not to blow it in the last couple of minutes and big enough to get all subs in the game. Does not demoralize the opponent and lets you work on the parts of the game that you need to improve to beat the good teams. Under 10 pts - anything can happen. Who cares what you do against the bad teams, you'll beat them anyway!

Practice what you need not just to win the game - but to beat the best.

Lok's Ledger