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Ball Screen Reads: Derrick White

Who is the most efficient ball screen player in the NBA (minimum 100 possessions)?

Most people would guess Damian Lillard, Luka Doncic, or Chris Paul? While all three of those players are really good, the correct answer is Derrick White of the San Antonio Spurs. Including his passing, the Spurs have a PPP (Points Per Possession) of 1.13 when he is the ball handler in pick and rolls. That is the best in the NBA.

Below is a video that shows three basic reads from Derrick White.

  1. Defender goes OVER the screen
  2. Defender goes UNDER the screen
  3. Derrick White REJECTS the screen

 

Spurs | Advantage Based Basketball

The San Antonio Spurs were referred to as playing “the beautiful game.” This style of play was an elite level of “advantage based basketball.” The Spurs created “the beautiful game” with skilled players, quick decision making, and a collective buy-in to find the best shot possible on each possession.
The Spurs often times used a simple ball screen as an “initiating action.” We call it an initiating action, because it initiates an offensive advantage. Once that happens, the Spurs force the defense to scramble and chase, until a great shot presents itself. Here is a video of the Spurs playing “advantage based basketball.”

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Louisville WBB | Transition Offense

The Louisville women’s basketball team was one of the best transition teams in the Country. They scored 1.108 PPP, which put them among the Nation’s best. Below are a few of the reasons that they were so successful in transition.

  1. Wings sprint and get wide
  2. Rim Runner gets in front of the ball
  3. The point guard advances the ball (on a sprint dribble or pass)
  4. There is skill behind the ball | Trailer can shoot

The combination of the four factors above stretches the defense horizontally, but also vertically. As the wings and rim runner put pressure on the baseline/rim. The trailer puts pressure on the defense to also extend to the three point line. The other key is that Louisville’s guards do a great job of advancing the ball with tempo. They will attack off the dribble, but also show a willingness to throw the ball ahead. Below is a video of some of the different ways that Louisville scores in transition.

 

Teaching with IF/THEN | Dribble Penetration

 

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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Instantly Improve Your Offense

Every off-season, coaches spent countless hours researching and studying different ways to improve. Too often, this leads to coaches completely hitting the reset button on their program’s offensive plans. Here are a few simple ways to instantly improve your offense!

  1. Offense starts the moment your team gains possession. TEACH the game this way.

    • When teaching our half court offense, we stress things like spacing, player movement, ball movement, and we provide structure to help players read the game. Why not teach transition the same way?
    • SPACING | There two ways to stretch the defense. Vertically and horizontally. If we can get multiple bodies in front of the ball, we will stretch the defense vertically. If we can get our wings to run wide, we are now stretching the defense horizontally. This should be an instant reaction, the moment your team gains possession of the ball.
    • PLAYER MOVEMENT |  Win the first three steps! If your players will sprint the first three steps, you will get players in front of the ball. When you throw the ball ahead, have you taught your team how and where to space around the ball? Do wings run to the corner and spot up or bounce off of the baseline and lift to free throw line extended? Transition offense includes player movement and should be taught.
    • BALL MOVEMENT | One of our favorite phrases is that we want “two early shares” in transition. If we can get two direct passes in transition, we are likely to have tremendous flow and rhythm on that offensive possession.
    • PROVIDING STRUCTURE | We want to provide spacing rules, simple secondary actions, and then teach our kids to flow seamlessly into our half court offense.
  2. REMOVE “set it up” from your vocabulary

    • One of the most under taught parts of an offensive attack is “FLOW.”
    • Teaching FLOW requires a coach to get creative in practice, abandon static starting points, and requires teaching players HOW TO PLAY.
    • The benefit is that the defense is unable to use the “setup time,” to also get themselves organized.
  3. Create an ATTACKING mentality, with an understanding of IF/THEN responses.

    • The easiest way to create an attacking mentality in your players is to view mistakes in practice as teachable moments.
    • The best teams are confidently attacking, as opposed to having “paralysis by analysis.” In simple terms, they are too busy playing basketball, to stop and think about what is next.
    • If you can create aggressive basketball players, you will see improvements in your offense.
    • To learn more about IF/THEN responses, check out THIS BLOG POST.

Lastly, what does this look like? Here is a video of our team putting these three simple concepts on display.

NCAAW Sweet 16 Project | First Round Sets

The NCAAW Sweet 16 Project started off with eight great matchups. Our video contributors did a tremendous job of selecting sets from each of the teams.

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Below are the sets from the first two days of the project.

 

NCAAW Sweet 16 Project | Best Unused Sets

The 2020 NCAAW Sweet 16 Project highlighted some Xs and Os from the top 16 teams in women’s college basketball. Below are the best unused sets from our video contributors.

CLICK HERE to see more of the Xs and Os from the NCAAW Sweet 16 Project.

 

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DCT | Chalk Talk | Episode 5

In Episode 5 of our “Chalk Talk” series, we show an example of SEQUENCING. This is a tool that coaches can use, to set up their team for success on back-to-back possessions. When using sequencing, a coach is running a set or action. On the very next possession, the coach calls for a similar set or action, but uses the defenses response to generate another scoring opportunity. Below is Episode 5 of “Chalk Talk,” as well as the sets that are featured being used in an actual game.

 

 

 

TELLING vs TEACHING | Being a Great Teammate

We all want our players to be great teammates. We are constantly telling our players to put the team first, but are we intentional about teaching players how to do it? If you are teaching players how to be a great teammate, then it should be explained, players should learn how it sounds, as well as what it looks like to put the team first. Below are five steps to create great teammates in your program.

 

EXPLAIN WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A GOOD TEAMMATE

If this is important to your program, then it needs to be outlined within your core values. For example, two of our core values connect to being a great teammate. The first is RELATIONSHIPS. We talk about what it means to develop relationships and how it connects everyone within our program. The second is SERVANT LEADERSHIP. The purpose is to seek ways to serve others, which includes our teammates. By connecting being a great teammate to two of our core values, it empowers the fact that being a great teammate is more than an expectation. It is who we are and what we do.

 

TEACH PLAYERS WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE TO BE A GREAT TEAMMATE

One of our favorite activities to do is the “Rock, Paper, Scissors Challenge.” In this activity, players do a best of three series of the game Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner finds another teammate to play against. The loser becomes a “HYPE GUY” for the winner. You continue this until you have two players remaining in the Championship. At that point, they have a team of “HYPE GUYS” behind them. It creates a fun environment. At the conclusion of the Championship, we let our players know that we expect our bench to be full of “HYPE GUYS.” Now that we have taught our players what it sounds like to be a great teammate, it can be an expectation for the players.

 

 

TEACH PLAYERS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE TO BE A GREAT TEAMMATE

Similar to teaching players what it sounds like to be a great teammate, this lesson allows us to hold players accountable. The best tool for teaching players what it looks like to be a great teammate is film. We will use clips from other teams at the beginning of the season. As the season continues, we will use clips of our own team. It could be all four players sprinting to help up a teammate who has gotten on the floor. It might be our bench celebrating a positive play. It could be a teammate giving positive reinforcement to a frustrated teammate. Too many coaches want to point out the negative behavior on the bench. While this is a form of accountability, it is also highlighting the behavior that we do not want. It can be much more powerful to show positive examples, and then find a way to reward that behavior. Another way to teach players what it looks like to be a great teammate is to meet them on their level. In this case, we are talking about social media. A tweet or instagram post that promotes being a good teammate will reach some of your players better than a lecture. A social media post is a great way to utilize messaging that players want to absorb.

 

 

SHARPEN THE SWORD

Like a fundamental skill, being a great teammate requires repetition. If you want your players to be great teammates, you must continue to “sharpen the sword,” to avoid the message becoming dull. Like any fundamental skill that we teach, you should be constantly looking for positive examples to reinforce your expectations.

 

ACCOUNTABILITY

After you have taken the steps to teach and reinforce the expectations of being a great teammate, it is time to hold your players accountable. One common mistake is that coaches hold their bench players more accountable for this behavior. While all players must be held accountable, your best players must be held to the highest standard. This will resonate with your players and it highlights the importance of being a great teammate.

 

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TELLING vs TEACHING | Communication

We are launching a new series that we are calling TELLING vs TEACHING. This is motivated by a recent video that was posted by Brian Kight. Check out the video below, to learn about the most under-coached profession.

 

How is it possible that coaching is the most under-coached profession? The answer is very simple. There are no clearly defined requirements to get into coaching. To take that a step further, we are seeing more coaches TELLING players what to do, as opposed to TEACHING players how to play the game. Below are some of the examples that you might hear in a gym:

“You’ve got to finish that!”

“Talk on defense!”

“Take care of the ball!”

These are all examples of TELLING, when experienced coaches understand that the key is to spend your time TEACHING your players. Here are some “teaching” examples, which align with the same “telling” statements from above.

“Keep your eyes and chin on the rim!”

“Talk it, touch it, switch it on the ball screen!”

“Get to two feet in the paint and throw to what you see!”

While these are general examples, it is most important that coaches recognize the value of TEACHING players how to play the game. TELLING players what to do is counter productive for an experienced coach, because the goal is to create an environment that is conducive to learning and improving.

The topic of the first blog post is to discuss communication. One common misconception is that players do not want to talk. In most cases, the problem is actually that players do not know what to say. Most coaches have been around teams that talk, laugh, make jokes, and are loud off the floor. As soon as players get into a practice, they stop talking. It is not an unwillingness to talk. The problem is that no one has taught players what to say. How much would your team improve if all of your players communicated like PJ Tucker in the video below?

Before we can teach our players how to communicate effectively, we must equip our coaches with a process to break it down with their teams. If we don’t coach the coaches, then we will be back in the habit of telling our players, instead of teaching them. Here is a great way to break down communication into three phases for your team.

PHASE ONE: What are you doing?

In Phase One, players are encouraged to simply talk through what they are doing individually. This might sound like, “I’m in help. I’ve got the ball. Jump to the ball. I’m in a gap.” This is the starting point for players. The key is to correct terminology, but never tell a player that they are wrong. We want to build confidence!

PHASE TWO: What do you see happening?

In Phase Two, players are talking about what they are doing, but also what they see happening. This is where the communication starts to involve their teammates. This might sound like, “I’m in help. Cutter coming through. Ball screen right. Ball screen right. I’m hedging. You’re back. I’m here.” It is being able to communicate what is happening in that particular moment. Once again, as a coach, we want to hold players accountable to communicating with our terminology, but we do not want players to ever feel like they are wrong. Furthermore, this is where you will see breakdowns in communication between teammates. It is essential that you encourage players to work through it. Coaches should take the role of mediator, to keep communication productive, but should not shut down the back and forth between players.

PHASE THREE: What is going to happen next?

In Phase Three, players reach an elite level of communication. This involves being able to recognize and call out actions before they happen. It is unlikely that you will get your entire team to this level, but the best teams have a couple of these types of communicators on the floor at all times. Phase Three communication might sound like, “Ball screen coming. Ball screen coming. Be ready to switch it. I’ve got help on the slip. I’ve got help on the slip.” In this example, it is recognizing an action early, communicating the plan to teammates, and also acknowledging coverage for a potential counter from the offense. 

As you look to create better communication with your team, the key is to TEACH players how to talk. If you find yourself saying, “we need to talk,” then you should consider stopping and going one layer deeper to discover why your players are not talking. A mediocre coach tells the players what to do. A great coach teaches the players how to learn what needs to happen. If you take ownership for becoming a better teacher, your teams will improve, and your program will be on the path to sustainable success.

Do you have thoughts on TEACHING vs TELLING? You can share them by connecting with us on social media (@DynamicCoaches). You can also e-mail us at: INFO@dynamiccoachingtools.com

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