Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Five Minute Game

When your team is struggling a lot, I have found this strategy to be effective for keeping your players focused and working hard. It also works in a big game when you feel you may be over matched by an opponent. I got this from Coach Bowen at Bemidji State and I think it's a neat idea.

Before the game starts, tell your team that you are going to call a timeout every five minutes throughout the entire game. Your team's ONLY job is to try and win that five minute segment. They shouldn't worry about the last five minutes or the next five, just the current five. Then after each segment, you call timeout, and talk about what happened in that five minutes. I like to go over what we did we did right (and want to keep doing right) and what did we do wrong (and what to change). It's great to really teach a struggling team about basketball on the fly. And when I use this, I see less dropped heads and disappointed faces because they are too busy getting ready to win that next five minutes. It gives them a goal and a focus so they are not thinking about a lopsided score.

With my Bagley team last year, I started this after the first few games (when we were getting beat hard) and slowly weaned them off it as the season went. I think it was part of the reason that after an 0-13 start we finished 6-2 in our last 8 games. They started to play in the moment and worry about what was going on presently instead of what happened or was going to happen.

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