Saturday, February 11, 2012

Teaching End Game Situations - A Little Prep Pays Off

One of the things I like to do in practice to reinforce concepts is to use "2 Minute Games". Play for 2 minutes live and losers run.  After you teach and drill a concept you play a few two minute games where you only focus on the concept that you drilled. Most drills don't translate because you focus on that skill during the drill but it's easy to forget the skill when all of a sudden you have to incorporate the other 100 things you need to do in live play along with the emphasized skill. Playing 2 minute games shortly after drills helps translate the skill to a game because you put that skill in with the other 100 things you need to do live immediately and still have a focus on that skill.

Anyway, onto the main point of my post....

This year during our 2 minute games we've also really focused on end game situations. When you are up, what do you do? When you are down, what do you do? When do you start to foul? When do you pull the ball out? When do you stop going in for free throws? And so on and so fourth.

This is the first year I've done this as a coach and it's paid off for us. At first I wasn't sure how much they were getting from it (we lost three games by 1 point early on in the year), but down the stretch here we've started to execute what we've worked on and won some close games. All of a sudden, in a close game when we are down 2, we've got guys screaming that we can't give up the three. They pull themselves back on free throws, know when to foul, etc. I've also noticed that when the game is tight we have confidence because we have been here so many times before and we know what to do - you can see it in the guys faces. We are blessed with a pretty smart group, but I think this can be successful with any team and most importantly this isn't something that I've had to invest huge amounts of time on.

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