Close games become a way of life for coaches and teams on all levels. Successful teams are prepared for end of the game situations. It is often this five or ten minutes a day which coaches spend on end of the game situations that makes the difference between a district title, a berth in the state tournament or a disappointing trip home. It is very important to not assume that your players know what to do! Try to work on special situations every day.
Here are some questions all coaches should ask themselves. The answers will vary according to your personal philosophy and your team’s strengths. Then share those answers with the team and prepare them to execute:
Do you push the ball and play or call a timeout to set up the last shot?
How do you intentionally miss a free throw?
With a three-point lead, do you want to foul before a three-point shot is taken?
Do your players know when to foul? How to foul?
Do you have a sign or call so your players know to foul without alerting the other team – or the officials?
When do you start taking 3’s in order to catch up?
Do you have a hurry- up offense designed to get you quality shots in less time?
Do you have an offensive system to "milk the clock' and protect a lead?
Do you save your timeouts or do you use them early to keep your team in the game? Do the players know how many you have left?
Do you want players to call a time out to save a possession early-or fight their best to preserve it and let you call the time-outs?
Do you have last second plays for each time and score?
Do ALL players know ALL positions they may play in crunch time?
Do the players know whether or not you want to call a time-out after a score?
Do you have your list of special situation plays on the bench with you so you can refer to them in pressure situations - so YOU don't forget?
Do they know the rules?