How do we develop talented players?

The NBA is not a development league; it is a competition, and most teams strive to win as many games as possible to reach the playoffs and ultimately win an NBA Championship. However, few players are finished products, and many players enter the NBA barely out of their teens, which means that continued player development is imperative for continued team success. Therefore, coaches not on the 76ers have a balancing act: Win games and develop young players to continue to win games.  […]

The Peak by Friday Mentality in High School Basketball

Prior to my game this week, I spoke with the opposing coach. He made a comment about another team in our league. He said something about their players being talented, but undisciplined, and how they just needed the coach to work with them. I joked that I imagine outsiders say the same thing about me and my team. Especially here, where most teams like to slow down the game and run set plays or Flex every time down, since there is no shot clock, we look wildly out of control in comparison. You never hear me calling out a play or telling them to slow down. Definitely different, and oftentimes we make mistakes or look disorganized because we have versatile players who play multiple positions and I encourage every player to push the ball rather than slowing down to give the ball to the point guard. In fact, I have gotten on bigger players for not bringing up the ball, but haven’t gotten on any for a turnover created when they did attack. From the outside, however, I imagine that we oftentimes look like we have a clueless coach. […]

The perceptions and reality of playing time

I track wins and losses in every practice. On the day of a game, the first five on the cumulative leader board start the game, and number one on the list is our captain. From a continuity and competitive standpoint, it may not be the best way to decide on starters and captains, but I’ve rarely had a complaint in three seasons of using this method.  […]

Playing time and performance benefits

Games frequently are compared to academic tests, and practices to classroom teaching. In this analogy, practices are viewed as the learning experiences, and games as the performance experience. One aspect of Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is that she tests her children frequently. testing is not just an evaluative task, but a learning task. […]

Coaching the End of the Bench

Playing time is one of the hardest issues of coaching. Last season, I struggled with my commitment to play every player, as it is hard to make that many substitutions in a game and to give players enough time to get comfortable on the court. While there are reasons to play everyone, when I started as a coach, I tended to stick to an eight-person rotation. […]

Playing Time: Why Do You Deserve to Play?

After my last game, several players looked dejected. We have no shot clock, and games fly. I play 14 players per game while remaining somewhat competitive. It is hard. I know players are not playing as much as they want. They are not playing as much as I want them to play. But when a team holds the ball for 90 seconds running the Flex and refusing to shoot anything but a lay-up, the time moves pretty quickly.  […]

Finishing the Season: Three Approaches to Late-Season Practices

The March 8, 2010 ESPN the Magazine has an article titled “Too Much of a Good Thing” about the Texas Longhorns. In the article, Elena Bergeron compares Rick Barnes’ mid-season strategy to that of some other coaches. “We think the human body can take only three high-level, hard workouts a week,” Barnes says. In the Read more about Finishing the Season: Three Approaches to Late-Season Practices[…]

Does Every Player Deserve Playing Time?

This season, I coached in a program that believed every player deserves to play in every game. I never coached this way. I usually stuck with an 8 or 9-player rotation. From the outset, I told the players that they were not guaranteed playing time; they earned their playing time through practice. However, I played Read more about Does Every Player Deserve Playing Time?[…]