Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gameify Your Open Gyms

Image Courtesy of
I was at an open gym recently and saw something different. I've been to a lot of open gyms. Many of them start with a good game or two of 5 on 5 and quickly dissolve into cherry picking and jogging up and down. After the first 30 minutes or so no one is getting much out of the experience. So why don't we do open gym differently? The open gym that I was at did it differently and I thought it came with outstanding results.                                                                                                               Instead of a typical 5 on 5 open gym, the players at the one I attended decided to play 3 on 2 with a chaser instead and I thought it went really well. It involved more players, kept the tempo up, and had kids playing hard. Everyone handled the ball, everyone got to take shots, etc. I found it far more effective than typical open gym. They did play some 5 on 5 after and that went well also.

This got me thinking - instead of 5 on 5 why not run open gyms with small sided games? Why not give your players a list of different 1 on 1 to 4 on 4 games and let them pick what games they want to play during that time. Players would get a lot more out of it and would really improve on their skills during the times you can't work with them. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Seal Zone Offense

This offense comes from Karl Salscheider, who was the former head coach of Bemidji State University. I got the notes from this video that Coach Salscheider did.  I've had the video in my collection for a while and hadn't watched it. Today I finally did and am glad that I did. It's a great offense that I think I'm going to run this year.

It's a simple, yet deadly, zone offense that is predicated on sealing the middle of the zone and trying to get the ball inside. It might be one of the better zone offenses I've seen, especially because of it's simplicity and the emphasis on inside play.

Basic Action
The offense is run from a basic 3 out 2 in look.

The point should attack and try to engage both the top defenders. The easiest way is to attack one and then attack the gap forcing the other one to commit to a pseudo trap. It will force the defensive wing to guard the first pass. The guard is looking to try and get to the rim here.

The point guard then fakes a pass and makes a pass out of the double. The guard can pass either way. If he's only being guarded by one of the top defenders, then he should go to the side that is guarding him.

As the ball is on the way to the wing, the ball side post steps in and seals the middle of the zone. The opposite post then comes across UNDER the sealing player and looks for the ball.

The wing can pass to the sealer, the cutter, or skip to the backside if X4 were to come across to take the cutting 5.

If there is no play there, The 1 steps out and gets the ball, the posts separate out. The ball is reversed to 1 who attacks the opposite way.

The ball gets swung to the backside wing. The action repeats.

If the wing drives, the ball side still seals and the backside seals on the backside.

This is a GREAT counter to the offense, called "Twist". The offense starts the same way. The guard attacks the top and forces the double. He then pitches to the wing. The ball side player runs at the middle hard like he's going to seal, but he runs by. He then runs and seals the opposite wing. As this happens the backside post cuts up to the mid-post and gets the ball. He can score or dump it in.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The ONLY Two Things That Matter

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I've been thinking a lot lately about what "coaching" is really about. When you Google the definition of "Coach" all the definitions are about modes of transportation. And for me that's what coaching is - getting a group of people from one place to another place. It might not be from one physical place to another but more from one place to another as a group of people working together.

Along with that, I've been thinking a lot about "great coaches" and the common threads that bind them. Honestly when you look at great basketball coaches at any level, and coaches at any sport, there are two consistent threads. These two common threads are relationships and high expectations, in that order. If you don't have relationships with your players, especially today's players, you are going to struggle to do what needs to be done.

Great coaches come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and philosophies. There are great coaches who were great players, terrible players and everything in between. There are great coaches who are player centered and coach centered. There are great coaches who are stern disciplinarians and some who are loosey-goosey. Some great coaches love defense and some love offense. Some play fast and some play slow.

All the different coaching philosophies listed above, to me, are not important. You could be a disciplinarian who plays fast or a "players coach" who plays slow. You could be a defensive minded coach who was a former NBA player or an offensive genius who got cut from the JV team in high school. What's truly important is what I mentioned above. Do your players know you care about them and have you built a culture of high standards? If you do those two things, that's where the magic is.