Offensive Basketball: Caught Between Two Minds

In previous seasons, I used very little structure offensively. I was coaching high-school freshman, so I wanted them to learn to see the game and to make plays, rather than running plays. I wanted to provide freedom to make and learn from mistakes of decisions rather than mistakes of not running the play correctly. My goal was developmental, not winning, and I felt the relative lack of structure enhanced the development, as all the players had opportunities to practice all the skills – passing, shooting, dribbling, cutting, posting, etc.  […]

Coaching a European Club – Week 18

We returned to the basics this week. We started with a lot of 1v1 and 2v2 to focus on defense. Simple things: jumping to the ball, denying cuts to the strong side, etc. We also needed the offensive practice to get open when overplayed, as we were not physical or tough enough against switches in our last game.  […]

Tag Ball Passing Drill

One skill that I am trying to emphasize with our players is to make faster decisions, to anticipate the next play. Our speed of play is too slow, and as I wrote, it is often due to the speed of thought. In this game, rather than steal the pass, the defense has to tag the player with the ball. This is only the second time that we played the game. In the top video, the offense has a three-person advantage (yellow and red); in the bottom video, the offense has a one-person advantage (yellow). Thus far, with this age, I think a two-person advantage works best, but we had 11 players at the workout. […]

Speed of Thought in Sports

Originally published by Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, November/December 2013.

“Speed kills” is a mantra popularized by an anti-drug campaign in the 1980s and by former Oakland Raiders head coach and owner Al Davis. The mantra, in part, has led the NFL to obsess over 40-yard dash times by NFL draft prospects even though few plays require players to run 40 yards in a straight line. In team sports, speed is a valued quality, but our understanding of speed in team games often is misunderstood.  […]

Coaching a European Club – Week 17

Trying to incorporate a new player in the middle of the season is difficult, especially with limited court time. Even with a fairly realistic practice plan each day, we failed to get through everything that I hoped to cover in each practice because of time spent reviewing old plays and defensive calls for our new guy. It’s not his fault, but in a week where we were preparing to play the best team in the league, it was not ideal either, especially when he ended up fouling out in less than 8 minutes of action.  […]