Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Great Nuggets from the 2015 MBCA Clinic

Last weekend was our annual coaches association clinic. It's always a fun time to see the other coaches across the state, refresh some relationships, and make some new ones. We had a solid group of presenters this year and I picked up some really good stuff. As with most clinics I'm not going to get a new offense or defense, I know my philosophy and believe in it. I'm really looking for two things. The first is "non basketball" stuff: strategies for motivation, teaching the game, team building, and teaching more than the game. The second thing I am looking for is nuggets for my system - how can I teach the Xs and Os better or add a wrinkle or two to what we do? I definitely got both of them out of this clinic. Below are some of the highlights I pulled out. 

Richard Pitino - University of Minnesota - Pressure Defense
The one thing I got from Richard Pitino was his use of tennis balls on defense. I've always struggled with finding the line between being aggressive and fouling too much. What he will do is force his defenders to hold tennis balls so they can't reach. I'm adopting that practice this year.

Tom Critchley - MBCA Executive Secretary - BLOBs and SLOBs
Coach Critchley did a great job going over some of his favorite inbounds sets. This was my favorite one.

L starts with the players in a line. Your 5 is your inbounder. The 3 is the first player in line, followed by your point guard, shooter, and 4 man. The set starts with the first player stepping out and cutting in. The point guard stepping in, cutting out, and getting it on the wing. The 4 steps out and gets the reversal from the point guard. As the 4 catches the shooter pins down for the inbounder. The 3 fills corner as the inbounder curls.

As the post (5) comes off the curl the point screens in for the shooter who set the screen. The 4 passes to the shooter. The point continues across the lane and sets a cross screen for the 5. The 4 then down screens for the 1 in a screen the screener action. 

A counter that coach threw out was to have the first player take a step out and the point take a step in. The point back screens the 3 to the basket and we run the same play.

John Tauer - St. Thomas University - Motivation
Coach Tauer did a great job talking about motivation, I really enjoyed listening to him.  I touched on the dangers of using only extrinsic motivation (Carrot and the stick/reward and punishment) and how players need to have intrinsic motivation. One of the many good things he touched on was what gives people intrinsic motivation. People are mostly motivated by three things:

  1. Autonomy
    • Choice in life. 
    • Give players choices in what drills you do (within reason). 
    • Even one or two choices per practice can be powerful. 
  2.  Togetherness
    • Players need to belong to something bigger than themselves and have a more powerful purpose. 
    • Keep your finger on the pulse
    • Team building
  3. Competence
    • Being good at things. 
    • How can you put your players in positions to find success?

TJ Rosene - Emmanuel College/PGC - Building a Culture
Coach Rosene was my favorite presenter in the clinic. He was dynamic and his stuff was excellent. There is WAY to much to put here, so I'm going to hit the highlights!

Greatest Teammate Exercise
   -Have players close their eyes and imagine the greatest teammate they ever had.
   -Call on players to share the characteristics of that teammate.
   -Make a team list of the traits of great teammates.
   -Turn it around on them - why can't EVERYONE on this team be a
     great teammate?
   -Make the list into a "commitment list" that everyone is going to
    commit to (coaches included) and everyone will be held accountable
    to for the year.

Rocking Chair Statement
   -As a coach, write a statement about what you want players to remember about
     you when you are old in a rocking chair on your front porch!

The Best At What They Know
   -Everyone is the best at what they know.
   -If you've got a problem player, they are likely exhibiting that behavior because
    that's what they know.

Communication Must Haves
   -Truth, Love, Transparency
       +Name, Information, Tone, Eye Contact
       +Simple but effective

Open Mic Monday
   -Do this as a team
   -Players can stand up and say ANYTHING that is on their mind, especially things
    they are frustrated with.
   -They can also ASK ANYTHING of teammates and coaches and will receive an
     honest answer.
   -You must speak it in love and not anger.
   *This is a GREAT WAY to make sure that issues stay in house and don't ever
      boil over.

Lion vs. Sparrow
  -Lion is content and confident. He doesn't worry about anything he can't control.
  -The sparrow is always frantic.
  -Lions play through bad calls, band bounces, etc without emotion.
  -Sparrows constantly wine and complain
  *Might change it to wolf and squirrel to fit Minnesota.

Scott Anderson - SPASH HS (WI) - Drills
Coach Anderson went over a lot of 2 on 0 motion drills and did a nice job of breaking it down. Below were some other things he did that I thought were great.

When the wing drives, the opposite guard can cut if open. This is an read action we're going to add this year.

3 on 4 Trap Ten Pass Drill
  -I've always done 2 on 2 ten pass, but this ramps it up
   a notch once we get 2 on 2 down.

Steve Brown - MN Timberwolves - Skills
Coach Brown runs the MN Timberwolves development academies and coaches an AAU team in the spring. He's one of the AAU guys who "does it right" and teaches skills - and his guys are SKILLED! He did a nice job showing a bunch of different development stuff. But what I really got out of it was how he used his footwork teaching as a dynamic warm up. I'm going to incorporate that into our dynamic warm up instead of the traditional stuff. We are going to use a lot more stops, starts, turns and learning how to plant, change direction, jump stop, pivot etc as our dynamic.

Mike Roysland - MN Crookston - 4 Out Motion
Being a 4 out fanatic I was excited to see Coach Roysland's presentation and I walked away with a few really good things.

Cutter on the Skip Rule
  -One of the things I was never sure about was what to do with the
    cutters on the skip pass.
  -He has the player who was skipped cut to the basket.
  -The one thing I would add is cut early or late. So you cut either
   while the ball is in the air or after the receiver has it for a 2
   count. I would add that rule because I don't want to clog up
   the drive with the cut.

Four Corners
  -He kept telling the players that the ball should "touch the four
    corners" and I loved that visual. It's one I will use.

Post as Facilitator
   -He did a lot more than I've normally seen with the post as
    the facilitator.
   -It's hard to guard when you put the ball
    inside and run purposeful cuts and screens.

Zach Goring - Apple Valley HS - Ball Screen Continuity and Program Building
It's easy to see why Zach Goring wins - outside of having more talent than he knows what to do with. He's organized, explains concepts very well, and runs a system where his players have freedom to be players. I'm not a huge ball screen guy, but I really enjoyed listening to his presentation. He gave a very detailed presentation on the ball screen continuity that Florida and Team USA run. That offense is well documented, so I won't put it in here, but I will put in some gems that he talked about with the organization of his program.

Eagle Update
   -This may have been the most important thing he talked about.
   -He writes a weekly newsletter in season that gets sent to players, parents,
     alumni, school staff, and friends of the program. 1800 people in all!
   -It was upcoming events, highlights the previous week, etc.
   -Great way to communicate with people and keep everyone feeling
    connected to the program.

Travel Teams
  -Each team gets a night to come in the locker room, get introduced, etc.
  -Each player adopts a team and must visit them 2x a year.
  -Eagle Hotshot Program

There you go! It was a great clinic and as always I am grateful to the MN Basketball Coaches Association for putting it on. I know a lot of work and effort goes into putting something like this on.

Lastly - it's almost that time of year! I know we start on Monday. I wanted to wish everyone that reads this (the brave few) good luck this season. Enjoy the ride because it goes fast. We've got a great opportunity to work with young people, let's not  waste it!

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