What It Means To Be A Players First Coach

by Paul Cortes
Assistant Varsity Boys Coach, International High School
Youth Basketball Coach, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department
AAU Coach, Bay City Basketball

What is a players first coach? Now that I’ve written this post, and as I read over it before I click the publish button, I realize that it’s much longer than than I expected it to be. That’s because while the phrase “players first coach” might seem simplistic in nature, there’s so much more that goes into it than meets the eye.

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The Role of Joy in Attracting Top Talent

by Paul Cortes
Assistant Varsity Boys Coach, International High School
Youth Basketball Coach, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department
AAU Coach, Bay City Basketball

People have come up with numerous narratives for why Kevin Durant, in one of the biggest free agent announcements in NBA history, chose to join the Golden State Warriors. I’m not going to pretend to know any better than anyone else what Kevin Durant’s motivations are. However, a recent press conference introducing former Golden State assistant Luke Walton as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers offers a glimpse into what makes Golden State so special—the environment that Steve Kerr has helmed as head coach. Walton said: […]

The Press and Youth Development

Here’s a poll I just posted on twitter and I’m interested in hearing people’s opinions. This is in regards to coaching kids in the 3rd-5th grade. Better for lower youth (u8-u11) development: Press and turn into game of transition, or focus on hc principles early — Paul Cortes (@pcortes64) April 17, 2016 If you have Read more about The Press and Youth Development[…]

Some Thoughts on Playing Time

by Paul Cortes
Head JV Boys Coach, Jewish Community High School of the Bay
Youth Basketball Coach, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department
AAU Coach, Bay City Basketball

Disclaimer: These thoughts relate to coaching youth players. My approach would certainly change if I was coaching a high school varsity or older squad.

As an AAU coach, one of the issues that comes up frequently is playing time. There are certainly many trains of thought when it comes to how to manage rotations and get kids in and out of the game. I’m not arguing that my way is best, as there are many other coaches I work with that manage rotations differently and very successfully as well. Here I’m going to talk about some of the things I do with my player rotations and why I do them. There is no perfect way and with anything you choose there will be both pros and cons—the main thing is making sure your style aligns with your overall philosophy, whatever that may be.

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Small-Sided Game: Swing and Attack

by Paul Cortes
Head JV Boys Coach, Jewish Community High School of the Bay
Youth Basketball Coach, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department
AAU Coach, Bay City Basketball

I have a lot of different small-sided games and competitive drills that I like to use with my teams. Most of them are ones that I’ve stolen from other coaches, but here’s one that I created myself to work on reversing the ball into a 1v1 situation.

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When to Use the Triple Threat

by Paul Cortes
Head JV Boys Coach, Jewish Community High School of the Bay
Youth Basketball Coach, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department
AAU Coach, Bay City Basketball

This is to piggy-back off Brian’s last post on “Problems with the Triple Threat“. Brian may or may not disagree with something I post here, because my thoughts are my own, but we share similar philosophies and I agree with many of the sentiments in his post. I originally started to respond in the comments section, but as my post grew in length I decided to make a separate post. The topic that came to mind is when to use the triple threat, and how to use it correctly. […]

Decision-Making Reps in the Pre-game Warm-Up

by Paul Cortes
Head JV Boys Coach, Jewish Community High School of the Bay
Youth Basketball Coach, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department
AAU Coach, Bay City Basketball

One common lament from coaches is that players don’t come out “ready to play”. We complain that our players don’t start playing hard until the game is well under way. While this could be due to player work ethic, the coach’s motivation skills, or simply a disparity in talent, a key factor in whether players are ready to play is the nature of the pre-game warm-up. Part of that is getting players to warm up hard, to work up a sweat. The other part of it is mental. […]

Thoughts from a Long Time Reader

First of all, I’d like to thank Brian for allowing me to post on his site. Over the years, I’ve been a regular reader of Brian—whether through his books, the Hard2Guard Newsletter, or this blog—and I’ve had the chance to have many discussions with him in the comments section of this site, on Twitter, and through email. I’m honored to have been given the chance to contribute to this blog and look forward to doing so moving forward. To give some background, I don’t have outstanding credentials. No PhD here. I’ve been coaching youth basketball for the last 5 years, and I don’t really have a list of achievements that I can give you. Hopefully whatever Brian sees in me, maybe someone can detect it and let me know because I’m way in over my head with this. […]