Friday, February 19, 2016

Using the SCHAPE Board in Practice

Over the last six months I've become enamored with PGC Basketball (Formerly Point Guard College). I'm heading to Chicago to this spring to attend their PGC/Glazier Clinic and want to attend a summer session if it's in the budget. I really appreciate and enjoy their approach to the game and their belief that basketball is about more than simply putting the ball in the basket.

One of the tenants of PGC is their philosophy of "SCHAPE". SCHAPE stands for Spirit - Communication - Hustle - Approach (I use attitude) - Enhancement. It's encompasses all the things that truly great players should have as part of their character. It's dirt simple and powerful at the same time.

We've used SCHAPE as a team all year. We do periodic SCHAPE check ins, talk about having SCHAPE, and hold players accountable for SCHAPEing the gyn. But mid-way through the year I did not feel like they were truly internalizing and embracing the concept. In light of that, I came up with the SCHAPE Check In Board (as seen on the right) to try and boost our SCHAPE.

The shape board is made from a dry erase board.  The board consists of a two column chart. On the left is each part of SCHAPE. On the right is a rating for each category. All the black lines on the board are drawn in with permanent marker and the green is written in with dry erase marker so it can be erased and updated as we progress through practice.

Periodically during practice I update our SCHAPE board based on how we are performing in each category - especially if I feel like we are slipping in an area or areas. When the board is updated, we stop and talk with the players about what we are seeing. We hit them quickly with highlights and then what we need to improve on and how we can accomplish that. Each stoppage takes 15-45 seconds from practice. I hate giving up ANY time from practice, but I've found that the investment pays dividends.

Immediately I noticed a positive change in our practices. Players were embodying the characteristics of SCHAPE and correcting issues more quickly. Personally, I was doing a much better job of monitoring how we were doing and holding us accountable. I can say with 100% certainty that it made a difference in our practices this year.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Communication - Not Just Talk!

I didn't realize that I wasn't teaching communication well - until this year. I've always been a coach who's "preached talk", demanded our team talks, I've even shown them what to say. But this year I realized in some ways I was missing the boat - I was not teaching them meaningful communication. They were "saying things", but they weren't COMMUNICATING. Sure they were calling "ball", "help", "man", but it wasn't to anyone and was not being acknowledged or used by anyone else on the floor. It was empty words that were not being heard by others. In short, I taught them to talk, but not to communicate. 

This year I started preaching something different. I started teaching them to "have a conversation". Instead of just talking, say something important to someone. Some of the ways I have done that are below:
  • Talk about EVERYTHING that is happening, all the time. 
  • RESPOND to other's communication by repeating it or responding with something else. 
  • Use NITE (PGC acronym) and LEO Communication. 
    • NITE
      • Name
      • Information
      • Tone
      • Eye Contact (When possible)
    • Leo
      • Loud
      • Early 
      • Often
What does "having a conversation" look like? I will use our defensive transition conversation as an example. It illustrates how the conversation involves everyone and forces action. 
  1. Everyone yells "PAINT" on the way down the floor, communicating that we need to get two feet in the paint. 
  2. Once the player gets in the pain they (an everyone else in the paint) start yelling "who's got rim?"
  3. A player takes rim by yelling the response "I've got rim". It should be the first player back theoretically, but they need to hear "I've got rim" before moving on. 
  4. After a player has taken rim - all the players in the paint yell "who's got ball?". 
  5. A player responds by saying "I've got ball". 
  6. Once the ball is stopped they point and talk their match up. 
No brain surgery going on here, but I do think the simple things are powerful. If you are yelling "who's got rim?" more than 2x, you better get to the rim - same with the ball call. Communicating helps players really understand what needs to be done on the floor. 

Getting players to "have a conversation" has helped our communication this year. Are we were we need to be yet? Of course not, but I've noticed that we are doing it better than teams I have worked with in years past - so at least I've made a step in the right direction. I'd love to hear other's feedback on communication with their teams.