Sunday, January 30, 2011

When to Slip a Ball Screen

At practice the other day, Coach Liesener came up with a great rule for players setting the ball screen. Our new rule for ball screening is as follows: As you sprint over to set the screen, you need to slip the screen to the rim if you can't see your defender. If you can't see your defender it means he is behind you and you can cut in front to the basket. Pretty simple rule that is very effective. It also really kills teams that get out to hedge early because you are always slipping screens and beating them for layups. It forces them to hedge later or softer to protect against the slip. This allows your guard coming off the pick and roll to have a better driving angle at the rim.

When NOT to Get On a Player

I have the privilidge of coaching an 8th grade team with the Minnesota Magic this spring. I chose to coach at the 8th grade level because then I can really focus on player development instead of "exposure" at this level.

Because of this, I have been watching a lot of 8th grade basketball. I have seen some really good things, lots of good team work, good attitudes and sportsmanship for the most part. A little too much zone and guys coaching in tee shirts, hats, and sweatpants, but that's another post and another time.

Something I saw a few weeks ago frustrated me though, and I have been meaning to blog about it. In an 8th grade game a team was down at half to a team they should have been beating and the coach was irritated - understandable. But then he proceeds to berate a player for missing shots. There is no teaching point there like "your shot selection needs to improve" or "you need to be shooting different shots". It was just you need to make shots.

I have no problem with a coach getting on a player at all, I get on my guys as much as anyone. But it was WHY he got on his guy that left me shaking my head. In my opinion, we as coaches need to get on guys about things they can control. It wasn't like when the kid was missing on purpose, he was doing his best to knock down shots and they were not falling.

Some things that I think are important to get on players about:
1. Lack of effort - without question this is the one that always gets me.
2. Mental lapses - not doing something because they just were mentally lazy.
3. Execution of What You've Taught - If you have taught something well, then there is no excuse for them executing it. I have a problem with this one as a coach at times because I always think I have not taught it well enough.
4. Dumb Fouls - Fouls because they are not moving their feet, they are reaching, or gambling.
5. Poor Attitude - This one is a no duh. But many coaches appear to be more worried about shots going in than how guys carry themselves. This is an opportunity for coaches to teacha life lesson.
6. Poor Shot Selection - Not that the shots are not going in, but the shots they are taking. Shots that are outside their range or not in the best interest of the team.

Some things I don't think you need to get on your guys about:
1. Shooting - They know the point is to put the ball in the hole. They are not missing on purpose! Are they good shots? Are they shots you want shot? If the answer is yes then let the misses go.
2. Effort Fouls - Anytime they foul going hard (loose balls, rebounding, etc) it's ok.
3. Things You Have Not Taught Them - If you haven't taught it, or taught it well, they are not going to do it. And don't assume players know something, teach it so they know. If they are not doing it, it may be because you haven't taught it well enough or they haven't practiced it enough.

So there you go. Although I noticed it at a youth tournament I am sure it happens at the high school, college, and NBA levels as well. What do you think?? Comments?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stan Van Gundy Video on

This is a short video clip from Orlando Magic's Stan Van Gundy on youth basketball. I think it's spot on and everyone needs to see it - especially youth coaches.