Saturday, July 21, 2012


Another Saturday means it is time for another COACHES SHARE.  The coaches who have emailed ideas in the past two Saturdays have had some great ideas.

All you have to do is read the question below and then email your idea to and your response could be posted to share with other coaches on this blog.  This gives coaches a chance to help other coaches.  Responses can be as short or as long as you choose and will be listed in tomorrow's (Sunday) blog.

Saturday Coaches Share Question:   What motivates you as a coach?

EMAIL your response to

Friday, July 20, 2012


Coaches are always looking for ways to promote their basketball programs.  Today's article will show you a way to promote your program in a way that honors people outside your basketball world.  It's about honoring teachers.  And this can be done at one of your games. 

Teachers have the ability to make a positive impact on our players just as much as a coach can.  Why not let your players publicly honor those teachers that have made a positive impact on their lives?  The following are reasons why you may want to consider doing this:
  • Good teachers deserve the recognition in your community.
  • It gives the coaches and basketball program a chance to facilitate a positive bond between athletics and the teaching staff at your school.
  • Your players will realize the importance of and the power of recognizing someone for their good work.  
  • This is a great public relations activity for your program.
  1. Have each player choose one teacher to recognize.  It could be a current teacher, a teacher from elementary school, or any teacher from their past.  Have each player choose a different teacher.
  2. Each player will write a 2 or 3 sentence statement as to why this teacher made a positive impact on them.  These statements will be typed up and placed as an insert to the game program.
  3. Have a form letter for each player that will serve as an invitation for the teacher.  The letter will include all the necessary information to help the teacher understand the process.  Let them know the player has chosen them as a teacher to be recognized at a game.  Give them specific information (date, game time, when they need to arrive).  Also include a free ticket to the game for the teacher and their family.
  4. Prior to warm-ups is a great time for the recognition of the teachers. Have the teachers introduced on the court along with the player who is honoring them.  The PA announcer can introduce the player, the teacher they are recognizing, and read the short statement the player the player wrote (that is also in the game program).  
  5. After the game you can have a social gathering at your school for the players and the teachers they recognized.  Serve cake and refreshments.
This can be a tremendously positive event for everyone involved.  Not only are your players recognizing some deserving individuals, but you are also helping your players understand the power of recognizing others.  Another potential result is that it can create a positive buzz about the basketball team amongst the teachers in your school district.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


As every coach knows, free throw shooting is a big part of every game.  Win The Game drill can be beneficial to your players as it puts some pressure on the players while they are shooting in hope of making it more game-like.  Shooting free throws in this manner keeps your players from going through the motions in practice while shooting free throws. 

*Shooting form
*Pressure free throw shooting

*This drill can be done individually, in small groups, or as a total team.

*For this example assume we are doing this drill individually.
*Coach sets up a game situation. "The score is 70-70, and it's late in the game."
*Player shoots ten free throws. Every free throw made equals 1 point for your team. Every free throw missed equals 2 points for the opposing team.
*After ten free throws you should want your team to have more points than your opponent.


*If this is done as a team, each player will shoot one free throw. Keep score the same way.
*If in small groups of 3 or 4, keep score the same way.
*To add more pressure the coach can designate the player(s) or team runs __ sprints if you lose they end up having a lower score than the opponent during the drill.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


If you were to ask ten coaches about their philosophy on scouting an opponent it is likely you would get ten different responses.  There will be similarities but many many differences.  The reason?  Because scouting is personal.  Each coach scouts an opponent and sees things they do and how it applies to their own team.

One of the areas to study when scouting an opponent is how they execute their man-to-man defense.  Below are some questions to consider when scouting your opponent's man-to-man defense.

1. Where do they pick up the ball?  Full court? Three quarter court?  Half court?
2. Defending the ball:  Pressure?  Do they attempt to force ball a certain direction or to a spot?
3. Defending offensive player one pass away:  Deny?  Sag?
4. Defending the high post:  Allow catches?  Deny?
5. Defending the low post:  Full front? Three-quarter front? Play behind?
6. Defending ball screens:  Switch?  Hedge?  Go under?  Go over?
7. Defending screens:  Switch?  Help & recover?  Follow?
8. Defending cutters through the lane:  Free cuts?  Physical with cutters?
9. Help defense:  Protect the lane?  Rotate slow/quick?
10. Transition defense:  Do they get back and get set slow/quick? 
11. Individual defenders:
  • Poor on-ball defender(s) on point or at wings?  
  • Poor post defender(s)? 
  • Specific move/fake perimeter defenders can get beat on?
  • Specific move/fake perimeter defenders can get beat on?
Take the answers to the questions listed above and see how you can apply it to your game plan to give your team an advantage when your opponent plays man-to-man defense.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


"Get back!"  It's a command from coaches you can that can be heard at every game.  All coaches would agree that one of the goals on defense is to force your opponent to work for their points.  One way the offense tries to create an advantage is to get a numbers advantage and run in transition.  Teams that play faster in transition put a lot of pressure on the defensive team.  Obviously it is the goal of the defensive team to force the offensive team to play 5-on-5 basketball.  The more you can force your opponent to play 5-on-5 (when they have the ball) the better chance you have to keep them from scoring.  Forcing your opponent to grind out games when they have the ball can be frustrating to them and take them out of their game or style of play.

Listed below are 3 different tactics to help your team to slow down your opponent when they get a defensive rebound.

1. Mirror the ball on the rebounder.  Teach your players that if they are nearest the opponent who gets a defensive rebound that they must mirror the ball.  This will slow down the outlet pass to a guard.  Every additional second you force the rebounder to wait to make an outlet pass is giving your teammates a chance to get back and get set in your half court defense.
  • This can be practiced in all of your rebounding drills and scrimmage situations in practice.  If you are executing a defensive rebounding drill - add the outlet pass as part of the drill to give your players practice at mirroring the rebounder.
2. Don't send every player to the offensive rebound.  Offensive rebounding can be a big part of your team's offense.  Some teams have a philosophy of sending all five players to the boards. Depending on your opponent, and the priority you place on slowing down their running game you will have to decide on how many players you will "keep back" and not attack the offensive boards.  You might have to make the decision not to send all five, but to send only four, or three players to the boards.  It is important NOT to designate the specific player or players to keep back. You wouldn't want a player who might be in perfect rebounding position to start sprinting back on defense because they have been designated to do so.  Instead of players designate spots on the floor that do not offensive rebound.  For instance, a player at the top of the key will not go for offensive rebounds.  Think about this in relation to the offense you run as to which spots would be best to keep back.

3. Anticipate the outlet and pick up the ball handler in the backcourt.  Once the defensive rebound is secured your players will be sprinting back on defense.  One thing you can do is designate a player to stay in the back court to defend the ball.  This will keep the ball handler occupied and more concerned about taking care of the ball instead of advancing it at a faster pace.  And while this is happening the rest of your team is getting back and set into the half court defense.  A variation would be to designate two players on your team to stay in the back court, and the defender nearest the ball will guard ball while the other will then get back on defense.  This will allow you to cover more of the back court until the ball is being guarded.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Passing the ball into the post area is an overlooked skill that needs to be practiced just like you practice all other areas of the game.

*Passing to an offensive player in the post
*Ball fakes
*Creating space (pivot or dribble) to make a successful pass into the post player.
*Post moves

*To maximize space there can be two groups working on each wing and post. For the description of this drill from here on out we will refer to the right side of the court. The left side will be doing the same thing.
*1 has the ball at the three point line area on the wing.
*Defender 1 guards 1 "live" out on the wing.
*2 starts just above the block.


*1 will attempt to make a post entry pass to 2 as Defender 1 is guarding 1 closely. Defender 1 is attempting to tip any pass that 1 makes.
*1 will have to use ball fakes or step through pivots to clear space for them to enter the ball to 2. 1 can also use one or two dribbles to improve their passing angle.
*2 must remain in good post up position, and calling for the ball.
*When the catch the pass 2 will execute a post move and score the ball. The coach can designate a particular post move to be worked on. This can vary from player to player.
*Rotate passer (1), to defense (Defender 1), to post up player (2). The post up player now becomes the new passer.

*The passers can be moved to the lane-line extended area to give a high-low pass to practice.
*Have a defender play "live" defense behind the player posting up to make it a 2-on-2 drill.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Yesterday coaches were asked to write in to share some of their ideas on team bonding activities.  Below are some of the responses.  Thanks for sharing with others!

"We have our high school players work at our elementary basketball camp in the summer.  The varsity players take turns bringing lunch for each other throughout the week of camp."
~Coach T.L. (KS)

"This idea actually came from one of our assistant coaches. On a day we don't have a scheduled game or practice we go bowling (twice during our season).  Each time we draw names to form teams.  The winning team enjoys bragging rights at the following practice."
~Coach Megan (MA)

"One of the team bonding activities we do is we have our players create a team scrapbook together.  They do add articles and pictures from the newspaper.  But they also add post-it notes where they add specific practice or game memories."
~Coach B (MI)

"Once a week a family of one of our players will host a team meal."
~Coach M.G. (NE)

"Each summer our players take part in one community service project. We have done things like clean one of the city parks, yard work for senior citizens, and carry grocery bags for customers at a local supermarket."
~Coach P (TX)