Should we fix unusual technique?

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, January/February 2017.

When we watch children play sports, we see errors. Their skill performance differs from our mental models, which tend to be based on our own experiences or our images of expert performers. When we see a young basketball player with an awkward-looking shot or a baseball player with a funky delivery on the pitching mound, we see mistakes and a need to correct. […]

Teaching skills the non-traditional way

In The 21st Century Basketball Practice (available for kindle, paperback, or downloadable e-book), I contrast the traditional approach to skill development and practice with the 21st Century model. This week, I worked with the perimeter players for a college team, and below is an example of skill development from the 21st Century model, based on ideas from the book. […]

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. […]

Coaching Frosh Basketball 2.0 – Week 15

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. […]