Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Coaching Philosophy - The Short Version

Working hard, being passionate, and developing skilled players are the cornerstones of my coaching philosophy. If you are willing to work hard and work to develop the skills of your players you are going to be successful in my opinion. You can run a ton of different things in terms of Xs and Os, as long as you have a passion and the players to execute. For example, Rushford-Peterson (MN) is a small town team that has a big tradition. They've routinely been making trips to state for over a decade now. Rushford likes to play a more slow paced game typically. They run man to man defense and usually play run a flex offense. On the other hand, Cass Lake-Bena (MN) is another small school Minnesota team that has seen it's share of success in the last decade. Cass Lake plays a free wheeling uptempo offense and a zone trapping defense which starkly contrasts the style of RP. Even though they have different styles, both teams have experienced success proving that there is no magic formula for success - it's more about what you believe in and are comfortable teaching.Working as hard as I possibly can is something I take a great deal of pride in. Watching tapes, reading books and magazines, attending clinics, talking with other coaches, reading message boards and the like are ways that I try to learn as much as I can about the game. I am hungry for knowledge and have adopted the saying "I know enough to know that I don't know anything!" I'm constantly on a quest to better myself as a coach. Working my tail off as a coach in practice another source of pride for me. I try to make sure my players get the most out of practice and I LOVE practice to death. I bring that drive and passion to the practice floor on a daily basis and spread that passion to the players I coach. I believe if you are passionate as a coach, that passion is contagious and will catch on to other people. One of my biggest goals is the be as passionate and hungry, if not more, on my last day as a coach as I am now.

Player development is another passion of mine. I firmly believe in making players that I coach as fundamentally sound as possible and believe that being fundamentally sound is going to win more games than having a great, complex offense and a bookful of plays. I heard a quote from Pete Gaudet when he was talking about Duke practices, Coach Gaudet said "At the end of the season would you rather have three better plays or three better players?" When I ask myself that question I always answer players. That is also why I am a big believer in off season work and development. I'll spend as much time working with players in the summer as they want to. I want every player that comes though a program I'm involved in to leave the best player they can be.

As far as the Xs and Os go, I'm not a very fancy guy. I like to keep things pretty simple. Teaching kids HOW to play as opposed to teaching them plays, is something that I enjoy.

When it comes to offense, motion is what I love to run. There isn’t' any better way to teach kids how to play than motion. To be specific, I like the 4 out 1 in because most of the time it's easier to find 5 guards or perimeter players (4 starters and a backup) and 2 posts (1 starter, 1 backup) than it is to find 3 good posts (2 starter, 1 backup) at a given school. I also like the idea of playing as many kids as possible on the perimeter from a player development standpoint. Of course I'm not completely set in my ways and am open to change. For example, after watching various tapes about the dribble drive motion that is all the craze, I've worked in more drive and kick action into the motion because I like the looks it gives. Also, after watching the Read and React stuff I like the way the teaching is on that, so have started to organize the motion teaching into layers which I think will help teach it.Along with motion in the half court, I LOVE to push the ball in transition at every available opportunity. I don't think there is another more fun or better than beating your opponent down the floor for easy baskets. I don't run to much in terms of structure, just fill lanes and pitch that baby up the floor!! It's my personal opinion that running the fast break as much as possible gives your team an attacking mentality that I love - it also gets you some easy baskets!As was stated above, I don't think there is any magic formula. With that said, I believe that you have to tweak what you run to fit the team you have -especially in high school when you can't recruit talent to fit your personality. If I had two 7 foot 350 pound stud posts would I be pushing the ball and running a lot of guard stuff? Of course not! At the same time if I was blessed with 7 great guards would I put one in the post just to stay 4 out 1 in? No. The principles of the motion would stay the same, only the set up would change. While I have a philosophy, I feel it's a philsophy I can adapt to whatever I have in terms of players. Is what I run the "best"? Of course not, but I think it's the best for me because it's what I believe in and what I like.

On the defensive side of the ball, I'm pretty plain as well. I believe in having a good man to man base for the team and program because at some point, usually in a critical game, you are going to have to guard people man to man. If you can't do that you are going to be in trouble. I've watched many great teams that were based in zones get beat by teams that forced them to go man. I do, however, like to employ a couple of zones, one trap and one pack it in, to change the tempo of the game as I see fit. Also love to press and get out in the full court when I have the players to do so.

Well, that's a simple run down of my coaching philsophy. It's definitely not complete and I am sure I've left some important things out in it (rebounding, turnover difference, etc,etc). But I thought since this is a coaching blog that sharing my philosophy made sense!! At the same time I didn't want to get too long winded about all the little things that go into it. Also hope I didn't come off sounding arrogant or know it all because that was not my intention either. Hopefully I achieved what I was looking for...

1 comment:

basketballcoach said...

I thought your analysis of the game is the same as mine and it is great to see someone with experience like yours expressed out there. I am an up and coming coach and looking to make my mark in either men's or women's basketball at the college level. I just want to make an impact in a players career.

good luck to you coach,

Melvin Allen Jr.
Canisius College
Assistant manager
Women's basketball