In my years as a coach, I have coached with no shot clock (boys), a 35-second shot clock (as an assistant), a 30-second shot clock, and a 24-second shot clock (men & women). I prefer the 24-second shot clock. After watching the high-school state playoffs last week with no shot clock, I tweeted about the shot clock.
Just like that, it’s over. We had one practice and one game. We finally played a new team who I had never seen, so we did not have anything specific for which to prepare. Though we led for much of the game and though I felt we outplayed them, we lost. We should have been ahead by more early in the game but we were half a step late on several rotations, and they scored as a result. Throughout the second half, they punished nearly every defensive mistake with a three-pointer, whereas we missed a couple easy shots. That was the game. A missed boxout here, a missed rotation there, a missed lay-up here, and a dribble off our foot there. The basics. The fundamentals. Youth basketball is not about the plays or the schemes, the zone or man, the big or small: it comes down to making lay-ups, grabbing rebounds, and stopping the ball on defense. […]
The week began and ended with a game against the same team, the 3rd and 4th time that we played this team. We play in a year-end tournament, and in the infinite wisdom of the tournament director, one side of the bracket features teams who have been playing each other all season, and the other side features teams who have been playing each other all season. I asked to drop in seed just to play someone different, and the director opposed because the tournament was seeded. The other two coaches who we have played repeatedly said that the director does it every season so his team makes the championship game, as they felt our side of the bracket was stacked (the two teams who we played on our side of the bracket have beaten us by 6-20 points in a total of 6 games; the two teams who we played one time each on the other side of the bracket beat us by 4 and 5 points in our second and third games of the season). […]
Rough week. Due to the gym schedule, we went three days without a game or practice before our game on Monday. We started okay, but once we went cold, we were very cold. It was never very close. After the game, I asked the guys if they wanted to practice on Tuesday morning before school, as we had no practice availability after school. The majority said no. One or two players were incredulous that guys did not want to practice after such a poor performance and prior to our next game. […]
What an awful start to a week! We played again on Monday night, fell behind early, and were never really in the game. Our start against their zone was good, and we had some good possessions and good shots early. Our post hit a couple nice shots and a really nice hook. For some reason, after a couple possessions, we started to throw away the ball against a three-quarter court press. Most of the time, we made the right decision, we just threw a pass 20-feet over a teammate’s head or bounced the ball at his feet. We threw over the top to create a 2v1 and then threw away the pass rather than finishing. Once we got down, we started to hurry a little more and things devolved from there. […]
Our game schedule for the rest of the season is Monday and Wednesday due to the schedules of the other teams. It is far from an ideal schedule, but it is what it is. We do not have a league, but we play three other schools three times each, so it is like a mini-league. Monday was the first of the games in this mini-league. […]
Without a game over the winter break, we practiced four times, never with a full team. The first couple days were more about skill work and conditioning, as the guys were visibly winded after basic drills. […]
With Christmas falling in the middle of the week, and our next game more than a week away, we practiced twice this week. We had 8 and 9 players show up for the two practices. Whereas I would have been disappointed with this turnout in California, I was surprised to get that many to a freshmen practice in Utah. Sports are not as all-consuming as they are in California, which I suppose in the big picture is a positive. […]