My coaching journey

When I conducted coaching clinics in Canada last month, several coaches asked how I ended up different than most coaches. There is, I suppose, a presumption about most coaches implied in that question, and my answer obviously reflected my bias of a stereotypical coach or the representative of most coaches. Despite these implications, I feel confident that people who know me from coaching or my writing about coaching put me towards a different end of a spectrum than most coaches. So, how did I become different? […]

Where is the development in youth basketball?

In the last two weeks, I have officiated 10 middle-school and freshmen basketball games, boys and girls. The complete lack of everything is astonishing. Many of the players are not fit (asking to come out after two minutes because they are tired). Basic coordination is lacking. Because the players are fatigued easily and uncoordinated, basic skills like dribbling and shooting layups become far more challenging than they should be for 13 and 14 year-olds, many of whom started to play on teams when they were six or seven years old.  […]

The growing disparity between good and bad in girls basketball

I picked up the USA Today featuring this week’s high school girls top 25 and looked though the scores. I focused primarily on the California schools, as those are the ones who I know the best. The scores are outrageous (I left out the names so as not to embarrass the losing teams): […]

Planning a Youth Basketball Practice

A friend emailed and asked for advice, as he volunteered to coach his son’s youth basketball team. As in many leagues, most of the players are beginners, and teams only practice for an hour or two each week before playing their weekend games (and people wonder why youth leagues are overly-competitive with a 1:1 practice:game ratio; leagues are teaching parents and players that practice is unimportant, and games matter most, primarily because practices are inefficient from a profit standpoint). Here is a sample practice plan. […]

Developing Better Game Passers

For drills to be effective, they must transfer to better game performance. Many coaches spend a lot of practice time on drills like three-man weaves or two-line passing drills, yet continue to complain about their players’ passing skills. The problem is the constraints: the constraints of a three-man weave differ from the constraints of completing a pass in a game. […]

Coach Education: Is it worth the time and effort?

When I last coached high school basketball, I was forced to attend a mandatory “coach education” seminar. It was a three-hour lecture by a septuagenarian athletic director. Most of the clinic resolved on how to ignore parents. It was a complete waste of time and had no real relevance to actual coaching. […]

2v1 Transition Situations

NoteOriginally published in the Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletter 5.3.

I attended two college basketball games and watched several others last week, and the decision-making and execution in 2v1 situations was deplorable. When I played, we generally practiced 2v1 situations in the less-emphasized aspect of a 3v2/2v1 drill. However, our junior varsity coach Jim Peth constantly stressed that a 2v1 was just like a 1v0 and should be finished with a lay-up every time. […]