One of the keys to playing advantage based basketball is teaching players how to read the defense. A terrific teaching tool for this is using IF/THEN reactions. This simplifies decision making and allows players to easily understand the different reads in a game. On dribble penetration, here are some simple reads, with a video to break it down.
- IF you don’t see a chest in the lane, THEN go score
- IF you see a chest in the lane, THEN share the advantage
- IF the help defender helps up, THEN dump it off
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Coaches like Buzz Williams and Tom Izzo regularly reference the way that Football coaches do things. They also credit football coaches for making a positive impact on their programs. All basketball coaches should be looking around for great ideas, and other sports offer some opportunities to learn and grow. Below are three ideas, which basketball coaches should steal from their football programs.
1 – Script your first few possessions of the game
A great way to help your team find a rhythm offensively, is to script the first few half court possessions. The number of possessions is dependent on your teams ability to retain information and then execute. We like to script our first three possessions, as well as our first baseline out of bounds play. By scripting it, we are able to put our players into a comfortable position. We can select the set, based on something that we scouted on film. The players that are in a position to make a decision, or take a shot, have practiced that specific scenario the day before the game. This builds confidence. Furthermore, this is especially successful in hostile road environments, as you try to take the crowd out of the game.
2 – Put an Assistant Coach over both sides of the ball
As a Head Coach, one of the hardest things to do is to give up control. In reality, we need to recognize that we have all of the power, but no control at all. We can work on things, but it is up to our players to execute. We can ask our Assistant Coaches to be engaged, to buy in, and to help develop our team. Football coaches make the ultimate decisions, but they also hire an Offensive and Defensive Coordinator that they can trust. These Assistant Coaches play a major role in the success of the team. It also allows the Head Coach to focus on a specific side of the ball, without the other side feeling neglected. In practice, we might want to focus on the defensive side of the floor. Who is holding the offensive players accountable to do things the right way? Assigning an Assistant Coach to each side of the floor, will allow the Head Coach to focus on specific aspects of the team development, while also ensuring that nothing is neglected.
3 – Stress the importance of Special Teams
Football coaches make a huge deal about the impact the Special Teams have on the game. What are Special Teams in Basketball? We view Special Teams as baseline out of bounds plays and sideline out of bounds plays. Other coaches will add factors, such as points off of turnovers, second chance points, or free throws made. Simply using the out of bounds plays are very easy to track within the game. If your team is able to find an advantage within the “Special Teams,” it can be especially important in close games. Look back at last year’s numbers and see what impact the “Special Teams” had on your team.
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NBA rookie, Javon Carter, wrote a letter to the City of Memphis. There were a lot of great takeaways from players, and some interesting insights into the program at West Virginia. Here are some of the things that stood out to me.
“See, it was like this at West Virginia: The only thing that mattered to Coach was that we played harder, every single play, than the other team.”
“Coach’s whole philosophy was about maintaining focus, minimizing mistakes and working hard. He wanted to make sure that no matter who we were up against, we were not going to be the first ones to get tired.”
“I remember when he first scouted me at an AAU game my senior year of high school. It was an 8 a.m. game. I wasn’t being recruited by that many D-I schools, even by my senior year. I remember that after the game he told me he liked me because the other guys on the court looked sluggish — but not me. He told me that he thought I was quicker than people gave me credit for, and that he was impressed that I got my hands on a lot of balls. I had been the top scorer in the game, but he didn’t talk about that at all.
No coach had ever talked to me about deflections. Huggins was different. I liked him right away. And when he gave me an opportunity, I jumped at it. That was all I needed.”
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The WNBA Playoffs begin tonight, and coaches should take advantage of the learning opportunity these games will provide.
Coaches spend the off season looking for ways to develop, improve, and learn. What if I told you that you might be missing out on the best bargain in basketball!?! For only $16.99, you could watch some of the best coaches in the world 204 times?
Yes, WNBA League Pass is only $16.99 for the entire season – that’s just over eight cents per game for terrific basketball! While this option is available, too many coaches are not giving the WNBA the respect that it deserves. There are some tremendous XsOs being put on display in WNBA games. The action is uptempo, players are skilled, and more coaches should be tuning in. Furthermore, all coaches should be encouraging their players to watch WNBA basketball!
The WNBA Playoffs tip off tonight (8/21) with both first-round single eliminations games airing live on ESPN2 at 8:30 and 10:30 ET. The Finals will take place the first week of September. Check it out!
Below are some of my favorite plays from the WNBA regular season.
Click on a play to read full description and to download it to your FastDraw library.
The Dream have have scored multiple times using this wrinkle at the end of Floppy action. The weak side back screen has resulted in many layups, and the screen-the-screener pin down has also created open looks.
The Mercury ran this ATO to get a wide open three for the great Diana Taurasi. This has multiple options which makes it very difficult to guard. The pistol acton with a weak side flare is a nightmare for the help defenders.
The Mystics used this BLOB set to get Elena Delle Donne an uncontested game winning-three. The double stagger screen sets up a screen-the-screener action for a shot at the top of the key. This BLOB set has different looks and would be a nice addition to any coach’s baseline series.
The Sky are 3rd in the WNBA in 3PT FG%, and this set has resulted in numerous good looks. Even if it is guarded well, the action flows right into an invert ball screen, which is what happened in the clip below.
This play is named “Winner 2.0” because it is similar to the popular “Winner” set that Brad Stevens has used in the past. This set uses a zipper screen, to set up the back side flare and skip pass. The play has the screen for the shooter, and actually features a second screen (shooter was wide open in the clip).
This is just a small sample of some of the wonderful XsOs that have been put on display during the WNBA regular season. The WNBA Playoffs are going to be exciting and I urge coaches to tune in. If you have questions or are interested in more WNBA plays, you can contact Coach Doug Brotherton at: @CoachBrotherton
Also make sure to follow DYNAMIC COACHING TOOLS on Twitter: @DynamicCoaches