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10 Creative Ways Athletic Programs Can Use a Video Board to Raise Money

10 Creative Ways Athletic Programs Can Use a Video Board to Raise Money

Fundraising is the lifeblood of high school athletic programs. Without it, our teams wouldn't have the equipment, uniforms, and facilities they need to compete and shine. But let's be honest, selling chocolate bars and washing cars can get a little old, right? One piece of equipment that can revolutionize your fundraising game is an LED video board (or a digital scoreboard).  And if it’s not in your gym and your outdoor stadium, it should be!

This underutilized gem can boost school spirit and engagement while also driving fundraising efforts. How, you ask? Well, buckle up because we're about to dive into ten inventive ways to turn your school’s video board into a fundraising powerhouse.

To succeed with these unique fundraising ideas is that you first have to present them to potential sponsors.  The first sponsors you talk to will need to know that their business is going to be presented in unique ways to your fans on GameDay.

Experience shows us that once other local businesses see how you are using your video board to promote your initial advertisers, they will begin calling you to support your program with their sponsorship!

Use our ten suggestions to generate your own ideas for what will benefit your athletes, sponsors, and fans!

The Fundraising Game Changer: Video Boards

1. Quarter/Half-Time Challenges

Picture this: the buzzer sounds, signaling the end of the quarter. Instead of everyone checking their phones, the video board lights up with an interactive challenge. Sponsored by a local business, a chosen fan gets to participate in a fun game with the chance to win prizes. It's entertainment for the crowd and a great advertising opportunity for the sponsor. Win-win! You are only limited to the challenges you have by your creativity. Here's one example of a halftime challenge: We call it “15 seconds of fame.”

The members of each sport that uses your video board record 15 second videos answering a “name as many as you can” question.  Name as many as you can: Olympic sports, state capitals, rivers, European cities, etc… One topic per athlete.  

The player should not know the question in advance.  They get the question and then the 15 seconds starts.  At the end they get a score of how many they named. Say they get 8 correct responses in 15 seconds.  If the player has trouble with their answers, give them a new topic and a new chance.  Again, this athlete’s part is recorded, not live.

At the break, a fan is randomly chosen from the list of fans who registered.  When the fan is announced, they should come down to the scorer’s table.  They will not know the question until their time starts.  Put the video feed of the fan on the video board (along with the sponsors name and logo).  Give them the same question that the players answered and 15 seconds to name as many as they can.  After the fan gets their score, play the pre-recorded video of the player answering the same questions on the video board.

If the fan beats or ties the player’s score, they receive a prize from the sponsor—gift certificate, swag, or whatever you workout with the sponsor.  If the fan doesn’t beat the player, they receive a consolation prize from the sponsor.

2. Sponsor-Featured Trivia

Who doesn't love a good trivia question? Displaying trivia on your digital scoreboard or video board related to a sponsor's products or services keeps the audience engaged during timeouts and quarter breaks. 

You can then pick a fan to answer the question (Display their answer on your board) and win a gift certificate or another prize from the sponsor. This not only promotes the sponsor but also adds an interactive and fun element to the game.

3. Live Social Media Feeds

In today's digital age, everyone's looking at their phones at timeouts. Why not leverage that? Display live social media posts from sponsors during game breaks on the video board.  It creates instant connections between the audience and the sponsors. 

Sponsors can offer deals and discounts for fans who connect with them on social media during the games.  Plus, it's a super cool way to use technology, right?

4. Instant Offers

How about turning your video board into a billboard that actually benefits your audience? 

Display QR codes for exclusive discounts from your sponsors that fans can redeem during or after the game.  For example, local restaurants offer a discount that is good only after the game.  Another in game discount could be to sign up for a free session at a local gym.  

Once you get the ball rolling, your sponsors will be able to tell you what will benefit them.  All you have to do is provide them with the opportunity by featuring them on your videoboard.

It's a win for the fans, a win for the sponsors, and a win for your fundraising efforts!

5. Virtual Contests

Virtual contests or sweepstakes sponsored by local businesses will create a sense of anticipation and excitement for your sponsor and for your school. Have the businesses run a contest for the week leading up to the game and announce the winners on the video board at the next home game for an added touch.

Just think of the buzz this will create!  It is a way for sponsors to promote themselves and it is also a way for you to increase attendance at your events!

6. Sponsored Fan Challenges

Fan challenges like the loudest cheer or the best sign can really pump up the school spirit. Feature the video feeds of these challenges on your scoreboard.  Add in prizes from local businesses, and you've got yourself a recipe for an unforgettable game night.

7. Spotlight on Sponsors

Dedicate a segment of the game to showcase the community involvement or philanthropic efforts of your sponsors. It's a feel-good segment that lets your audience see the core values of your sponsors businesses.

8. Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Take your fans on a virtual tour of a sponsor's facilities. It creates an interactive experience that can bring a sponsor's services closer to your audience, fostering a deeper connection.

9. Interactive Polls

People love to share their opinions. So why not engage fans with live polls related to your sponsors' products? Ask multiple choice questions regard the fans favorite products or other sponsor related questions. Reveal the results on the video board near the end of the game, stoking curiosity and participation.

10. Virtual Fan Cam

The virtual fan cam showcases fans watching from home. You can connect with family and friends who are not close enough to attend your games in person.  Or feature fans who have a hard time attending in person due to age, physical challenges, or work schedules.  Incorporating sponsor logos into this can provide added exposure for your sponsors.

Now, for how to select fans for these interactive experiences. Why not have a registration booth right at the entrance to the game? Fans can sign up for free or for a small fee, and you can randomly select participants during the game.

What Will You Do to Be More Creative in Your Video Board Fundraising?

Each of these revenue generating strategies not only adds to the excitement of the game but also provides unique advertising opportunities for sponsors.

By leveraging your video board in these creative ways, you can ensure continued support for your high school athletic programs while injecting a healthy dose of school spirit. Creatively harness the power of your video board and take your fundraising game to the next level. Your teams, your fans, and your sponsors all win! GameDay will never be the same!

Mastering Basketball Defense: Techniques, Drills, and Strategies for Success

Mastering Basketball Defense: Techniques, Drills, and Strategies for Success

Are you looking to take your basketball game to the next level? To become a true force on the court, you must master the art of defense. With the right techniques, drills, and strategies, your team can become an elite defense capable of shutting down even the toughest opponents. 

Defense is often an overlooked aspect of the game, overshadowed by the glamour of scoring and offensive prowess. However, a team's defensive performance can make all the difference between average results and achieving greatness on the court. As a basketball coach, educating your team on multiple defenses such as zone defense, press defense, and packline defense can give you an advantage.

Developing a strong defensive mindset and instilling effective defensive principles in your players can lay the foundation for success. In this article, we will explore the drills and strategies that can help elevate your team's defensive capabilities to an elite level. From individual defensive skills to team concepts and game planning, we will provide valuable insights and practical tips to enhance your team's defensive prowess. 

2023 NBA Draft: Skills and Technique from Top Prospects

2023 NBA Draft: Skills and Technique from Top Prospects

The NBA Draft is a pivotal event that shapes the future of basketball, and this year's class of prospects is filled with incredible talent and potential. Join us as we analyze the top prospects' strengths, such as elite ball handling, sharpshooting, transition offense, and lockdown defense, providing valuable insights and lessons that can be applied to the game of basketball.

We will explore the diverse skill sets that distinguish these prospects, from scoring prowess to defensive toughness, playmaking talents, and shooting accuracy. This article will provide essential insights into the talents and tactics that define the NBA's future stars.

Victor Wembanyamayama

The 7-foot-4 basketball phenom Victor Wembanyama is making waves in the basketball world with his exceptional skills and a towering presence on the court. Wembanyama, who is only 19 years old, has already established himself as one of the game's most promising young players.

Wembanyama's versatility is what truly sets him apart. With the ability to alter games, Wembanyama is a dominant force as an elite rim protector. His shot-blocking abilities are nothing short of incredible, and he has the timing, awareness, and length to consistently disturb opponents' shots near the rim. To understand more about defensive positioning, click here to become an elite rim protector!

From College to the Pros: Transitioning the Dribble Drive Offense

From College to the Pros: Transitioning the Dribble Drive Offense

The Dribble Drive Offense is a game-changing basketball strategy designed to optimize scoring opportunities and disrupt opposing defenses. With its emphasis on dribble penetration, kick-outs, and spacing, this offensive system has gained significant popularity among coaches and players alike. 

By mastering the Dribble Drive Offense, teams can unlock their full potential on the court, utilizing aggressive drives, precise passes, and strategic positioning to create open shots and exploit defensive weaknesses. Understanding the concepts and strategies of the Dribble Drive Offense is crucial, whether you're a coach hoping to change your team's offensive strategy or a player looking to improve your abilities. Join us as we explore the core concepts, successful implementations, and notable coaches associated with this dynamic offensive strategy.

Positionless Basketball: Redefining Roles on the Court

Positionless Basketball: Redefining Roles on the Court

In recent years, the basketball landscape has witnessed a remarkable shift in playing styles and team strategies. Traditional positions have become less rigid, making way for the rise of positionless basketball. This innovative approach emphasizes player development, adaptability, and skillful players who can excel in multiple roles on the court. 

We will examine the idea of positionless basketball, consider its effects on the game, and talk about its promising future. Join us as we uncover the key elements of this evolving playing style and its potential to revolutionize the sport.

Embracing Versatility and Creativity in the NBA NBA

Chris Johnson, a player development coach who has trained with athletes such as Jimmy Butler, LeBron James, and Dwayne Wade, mentions that positionless basketball is the future of the league. In today’s NBA, it is not about positions 1-5 on the court, it is simply learning how to play the game of basketball. 

Positionless basketball is a style of play that is gaining traction in the NBA. It is based on the idea that players should not be restricted to playing a certain position on the court. Instead, players should be allowed to move freely and play multiple positions. 

The idea of positionless basketball is to create a more dynamic and open game. Players are encouraged to be versatile and to take advantage of mismatches on the court. This allows for more creative and unpredictable offensive and defensive play. It also encourages teams to develop a more well-rounded roster, as players are expected to be able to play multiple positions. This shift can be attributed to several factors, including the increasing emphasis on skill development, the influence of analytics, and the desire to exploit mismatches and create versatile lineups. To learn more about Chris Johnson and his theories of positionless basketball, click here!

Revolutionize Your Offense: Proven Concepts to Elevate Your Basketball Game

Revolutionize Your Offense: Proven Concepts to Elevate Your Basketball Game

The offense is a critical aspect of any basketball team's success, and there are various offensive concepts that teams use to score points. The goal of any offense is to create easy scoring opportunities, whether that be through pick-and-rolls, isolation plays, or fast breaks. 

Coaches also focus on teaching their players the importance of ball movement and spacing to create open shots. Overall, the offensive strategy is just as critical as the defense, and teams must develop a well-rounded and efficient approach to ensure success on the court. In this article, we will delve into motion offense, zone offense, and 5 out offense to expand your knowledge on these offensive concepts. 

5 Essential Fastbreak Drills Every Basketball Coach Should Know

5 Essential Fastbreak Drills Every Basketball Coach Should Know

The Art of the Fastbreak

The fastbreak is a dynamic phase of basketball that can quickly shift momentum, turning the tide of a game in your favor. Fastbreaks provide a significant advantage for teams looking for a quick bucket, emphasizing the game’s modern tenets of pace, athleticism, and quick decision-making. Allowing for rapid transitions from defense to offense, fastbreaks provide an opportunity to catch opponents off-guard, preventing them from establishing defensive sets and matchups. Fundamentally, fastbreaks capitalize on speed, quick ball movement, and increased spacing, enabling teams to find numerical superiority and wide-open driving lanes to score easily before the defense can react. 

Since the game has evolved to be faster and more high-scoring, transition offense has become a major aspect in modern basketball, as teams such as the Golden State Warriors have placed immense emphasis on transition offense. This emphasis has trickled down to all levels of competitive basketball, making fastbreaks an essential component for any team aiming to excel and dominate their opponents.

While they may look effortless and free-flowing, a successful fastbreak requires speed, coordination, and flawless execution. To help you and your team unlock the potential of this efficient, high-octane offensive strategy, we’ve curated a collection of insightful articles and videos from renowned coaches that provide valuable guidance on fastbreak drills.

Transition Drills

Rebound, Outlet, Long Pass- Tony Bozzella

The first step to any successful fast break is a rapid transition from offense to defense. To achieve this transition seamlessly, a fast recovery and outlet pass to quick-start the offense is paramount. 

Here, Seton Hall Women’s Basketball Head Coach Tony Bozzella describes how he teaches comfortability and speed with passing ahead to create spacing through the Rebound, Outlet, Long Pass Drill


Game-Changing Strategies: ATO Plays in the EuroLeague and Olympics

Game-Changing Strategies: ATO Plays in the EuroLeague and Olympics

ATO plays, also known as "after timeout" plays, are a crucial aspect of basketball coaching. When the game is on the line and every possession matters, a well-executed play can make all the difference. ATO plays are designed to optimize offensive opportunities after a timeout is called by the coach. 

These plays are strategically developed to exploit the weaknesses of the opponent's defense and create scoring opportunities for the team. Whether it's a well-timed screen to free up a shooter, a quick dribble drive to the basket, or a clever play to catch the defense off guard, ATO plays can completely shift the momentum of a game.

The coaching staff meticulously crafts these plays, taking into account the team's offensive strengths and the opponent's defensive vulnerabilities. ATO plays are not only important for the immediate offense situation, but they also provide an opportunity for skill development and team cohesion. Over the years, ATO plays have become an integral part of basketball strategy, utilized by coaches in both college and professional basketball. The success of ATO plays lies in their ability to capitalize on valuable timeouts and maximize the team's offensive potential.

Off-Ball Movement Tips and Strategies: Lessons From the NBA Finals

Off-Ball Movement Tips and Strategies: Lessons From the NBA Finals

Why is Off Ball Movement Important?ant?

Denver Nuggets MVP Center Nikola Jokic’s eye-popping stat sheets have consumed much of the discourse surrounding the NBA Finals. With 33 points, 9 assists, and 14 rebounds per game, Jokic’s Finals play has been lauded as generational, with his playmaking skills generating astronomical hype. 

ABC’s Mike Breen even went so far as to call Denver Nuggets Star Center Nikola Jokic the “best passing big man of all time”.

While Jokic’s greatness is undeniable, how much of his success can be attributed to his supporting cast and team strategies?

The truth is that the Nuggets’ read-and-react offense leverages off-ball movement to create wide-open, high-percentage shotsa296fab">read-and-react offense leverages off-ball movement to create wide-open, high-percentage shots through complex screen actions, cuts, weak side movement, pin-downs, and more. 

Denver’s success highlights the importance of off-ball movementcoachtube.com/courses/basketball/motion-offense?a=f8c5a18145b44d5faaa296fab">off-ball movement in an increasingly individual basketball landscape. 

Off-ball movement adds a layer of unpredictability and complexity to an offense, keeping the defense constantly engaged, and forcing them to rotate constantly and communicate effectively. Additionally, off-ball movement creates opportunities for the offense to exploit defensive breakdowns, create mismatches, find open shots, and generate advantageous scoring chances. 

By emphasizing off-ball movement in offensive strategies, teams can optimize offensive efficiency, increase spacing, create multiple dynamic scoring options, and capitalize on uncoordinated defenses focused on man-to-man.ple dynamic scoring options, and capitalize on uncoordinated defenses focused on man-to-man.


Key Takeaways

-Nikola Jokic’s playmaking ability is accentuated by Denver’s stellar Off-Ball Movement

-Off-Ball Movement creates spacing and mismatches, placing stress on uncoordinated defenses

-Off Ball strategies create complexity and diversify methods of scoring 

-Players can find open shots and scoring lanes, supplementing on-ball offense

-Teams can implement off-ball strategies to place players in advantageous spots


To help improve off-ball movement, we have compiled breakdowns of five effective offensive strategies and sets, including those implemented and inspired by the Denver Nuggets. 

International Set- Stagger Screen & Back Screenreen

Motion offenses//coachtube.com/courses/basketball/motion-offense?a=f8c5a18145b44d5faaa296fab">Motion offenses place an emphasis on constant and layered off-ball movement to avoid stagnation. 

Polish player turned coach Pryzemyslaw Frasunkiewicz has implemented many layers of off-ball movement and screening into his motion offense, including his Stagger Screen & Back Screen set. rse_lesson/international-basketball-best-international-sets-vol-1/przemyslaw-frasunkiewicz-stragger-screen-back-screen/13127218?a=f8c5a18145b44d5faaa296fab">Stagger Screen & Back Screen set. 

In this set, Frasunkiewicz implements a series of screens to free a three-point shooter on the wing.

At the top of the key, the point guard and shooting guard begin with a DHO leading to the elbow, where a big man sets an off-ball stagger screen at the elbow. The big then moves to set a pick and roll with the ball handler. 

A wing player moves in from the corner to screen the shooting guard’s trailing defender at the low block, and the big rolls down into a double consecutive screen at the elbow. The Shooting guard becomes option one for a three-point shot. The big man can also duck in for a layup after the initial screen at the elbow.

Player Development: Scott Drew’s Tips for Producing NBA Guards

Player Development: Scott Drew’s Tips for Producing NBA Guards

The game of basketball is in the golden age of dynamic point guards. As high-level players such as Memphis’ Marcus Sasser have shown, point guards have to be all-around playmakers able to read defenses, distribute the ball with a notable basketball IQ, and space the floor with a knockdown jump-shot. 

Having a reliable Point Guard who can score, facilitate, and distribute the ball is a necessity for any championship team. 

There are many ways to develop an average player into a force to be reckoned with. Incorporating advanced player development drills is arguably the most effective way of enhancing a player’s ability to produce for the team at a high capacity. 

As Head Coach of Baylor Basketball since 2003, Scott Drew has compiled a lengthy list of achievements, including three Big 12 Coach of the Year awards and an NCAA National Championship in 2021.

Drew has a track record of developing productive, pro-level guards having produced 4 NBA draft picks at the guard position including 2 top-ten selections in Sacramento’s Davion Mitchell and San Antonio’s Jeremy Sochan. Drew will soon add to the tally with Keyonte George and Adam Flagler, both highly regarded prospects in this year’s draft. 

Drew and former Baylor Assistant Coach Mark Morefield stress that a developing point guard must become proficient in these main attributes, among others, to be successful:

-A sheer desire to win

-Ability to focus on others and direct the game plan

-Ability to Direct the Fastbreak

-Value each and every possession 

-Ball handling skills

-Take care of the ball

-Facilitate- make teammates better

-Situational Understanding 


To help instill these winning characteristics and skills in point guards, Drew and Morefield detail key player development drills and strategies in their Baylor Guard Development Workout and Baylor Advanced Guard Workout. 

Click here to view the full Baylor Guard Development Bundle.

Warm-Up Shootingting

In the first leg of their Baylor Guard Development series, Drew and Morefield incorporate shooting while focusing on laying the foundation for a successful point guard training workout: an efficient warm-up. 

The elbow-to-elbow shooting drill is a surefire way to ensure players are warmed up and ready to go for the rest of the workout while allowing them to get shots up simultaneously.  surefire way to ensure players are warmed up and ready to go for the rest of the workout while allowing them to get shots up simultaneously. 

The elbow-to-elbow jumper drill begins with a shooter at the elbow and a rebounder below the basket. After receiving a pass from the rebounder, the player at the elbow will take a jump-shot and immediately move to the other elbow. The key is for the shooter to be ready to receive the ball in the pocket and transition into the jump-shot without dipping the ball below the waist. 

This 30-second partner drill will get players’ legs warmed up and allow them to get some shots up without putting them under stress with long-range jumpers or full-speed movement.

Four Quality Quotes From Four Final Four Coaches

Four Quality Quotes From Four Final Four Coaches

Spring is a great time for basketball coaches to reflect on how their season went. These quiet moments off the court and out of practice present the perfect opportunity to analyze what went well so that it can be built upon in the future, and what went awry so that it can be fixed quickly. 

Yet, even if the season ended in resounding success, great coaches can always find a way to improve. Just take it from Dan Hurley, Nate Oats, Jay Wright, and Kim Mulkey. 

All four of these college coaches have made it to the Final Four, with three of them leading their teams to the Final Four of the 2024 NCAA Tournament. And they’re still discovering ways to become a better version of themselves with each passing day.

CoachTube has courses from all four Final Four coaches, and we have pulled four quotes that any coach can learn from. We’re going to take a closer look at each one, allowing you to unpack the wisdom within and take tidbits to utilize in your own coaching strategy.

Dan Hurley - “Having good transition defense, ball screen defense and closeouts are the easiest ways to having a winning team.”

Dan Hurley is fresh off of winning the 2024 NCAA Championship with the UConn Huskies. He also won the 2023 NCAA Championship, and is the most in-demand college basketball coach in the world right now. 

It’s no secret that Hurley prides himself on defense. His teams are always some of the most disciplined on defense, especially when it comes to the fundamentals. And the above quote — which comes from his ‘UConn’s Defensive Principles’ course — is a testament to that. 

Hurley emphasizing transition defense, ball screen defense and closeouts make a ton of sense, especially in the college game. Because college basketball is a game of momentum and features exceptional athletes, solid transition offense and defense can be the difference between winning and losing. If a team can stop easy transition baskets and make their opponents work for every point that’s shown on the scoreboard, they’ll often find a way to win. This is also why closeouts and ball screen defense. 

Perhaps most important is that these defensive techniques are something that should take place every practice. Yet, it’s easy for players to go through the motions in practice, because they’re done it so many times. But coaches who keep their players accountable in practice will see them shine when it matters most. 

Nate Oats - “These are our five non-negotiables: Talk, Sprint, Stance, Ball Pressure, and Finish.” 

Alabama head coach Nate Oats just led his team to a Cinderella run during March Madness, where the Crimson Tide made it all the way to the Final Four before losing to Hurley’s Huskies. 

Oats tries to keep it simple when it comes to his defensive philosophies, which is proven on his Coaching School - Play Fast’ course from back when he was the head coach at University of Buffalo.

We want to focus on the first and last of Oats’ non-negotiables, because these are cultural pillars that every coach needs to employ. Talk between players isn’t just important because it helps with defensive alignment. It also instills camaraderie and cohesiveness between a team. And teaching players to finish everything — the play, the game, their homework assignments — is teaching them discipline. And teaching discipline is teaching them what it takes to be a successful man or woman in the world. 

A Guide to the Pack Line Defense

A Guide to the Pack Line Defense

Pack Line Defense: The Best Defense You’ve Never Heard ofd of

As a basketball coach, implementing effective defensive strategies is essential for the development and success of your team. The pack line defense is a proven system that emphasizes positioning, help defense, and denying easy scoring opportunities.

The simplicity and effectiveness of pack line defense makes it especially effective among youth basketball teams. This Coaches Clinic course has detailed instructions for executing a perfect pack line defense for your youth basketball team.

History of the Pack Line Defenseense

The pack line defense was popularized by Coach Dick Bennett and his son, Coach Tony Bennett, who implemented the system during their coaching careers. Dick Bennett, known as the architect of the pack line defense, first introduced it during his tenure at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He continued to refine and develop the system throughout his coaching career. Under the guidance of Coach Tony Bennett, the Virginia Cavaliers men's basketball team achieved remarkable success using the pack line defense. Known for their suffocating defense, the Cavaliers have consistently ranked among the top defensive teams in the NCAA. Their commitment to the pack line principles, coupled with disciplined execution, led them to win the NCAA Championship in 2019.

Another notable team that employed the pack line defense is the Butler Bulldogs, led by former head coach Brad Stevens. During Stevens' tenure at Butler, the Bulldogs became a defensive force, earning back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances in 2010 and 2011. Their disciplined pack line defense played a pivotal role in their tournament runs and established them as a defensive-minded program.

One of the most well-known teams to use the pack line defense was the NBA Championship 2004 Detroit Pistons. Widely regarded as one of the greatest defensive basketball teams of all time, their strong help defense, aggressive double-teams, and success in forcing difficult shots through clogging passing lanes made scoring on their basket extraordinarily difficult. These actions and goals on defense are because they ran a strict, disciplined pack line defense.

Under the guidance of Coach Brown, the Pistons embraced the Pack Line Defense and transformed their team into an impenetrable fortress. Led by defensive stalwarts such as Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, and Chauncey Billups, the Pistons developed a reputation for suffocating opponents and stifling offensive schemes. The success of the pack line defense is evident from the Pistons' defensive statistics during their championship-winning campaign in 2003-2004. They faced a stacked Lakers roster in the finals, including the greatest 1-2 punch in basketball history with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Despite facing some of the greatest players of all time, they held the Lakers under 100 points for every game in the finals and won in just 5 games. They held opponents to a league-leading 84.3 points per game and allowed a mere 41.9% shooting from the field, both remarkable feats in a high-scoring league. Not all of their defensive success can be attributed to the pack line defense, but the 2004 Detroit Pistons showed the sheer power of a well-executed pack line defense. 

Pack line’s primary distinction from man-to-man defense is the lack of the denial aspect. Pack line instead focuses on just helping and recovering. So your team knows that on defense, if they aren’t on the ball they should be in the help position. The simple strength of this defense makes it easy to understand. If you coach youth basketball, the pack line is the best intersection of simplicity and effectiveness for your team to run. A tried and true staple in basketball defense, teaching your team how to run the Pack Line Defense. 

The Pack Line Defense Breakdowndown

The pack line defense is a team-oriented system that aims to disrupt the opponent's offensive flow by denying dribble penetration and contesting shots. It focuses on maintaining proper positioning, help defense, and closing out on shooters. The key principles of the pack line defense are:

Positioning and Spacing: Defenders position themselves just inside the three-point line, forming a compact formation that discourages driving lanes and forces opponents to take contested shots.

On-Ball Defense: Defenders apply pressure on the ball handler, staying in front of them and denying easy drives to the basket. Closeouts on shooters should be aggressive but controlled, preventing open jump shots.

Help Defense and Rotations: When a teammate is beaten off the dribble, defenders must provide timely help by sliding into help positions and rotating to cover open players. Quick and precise rotations are essential to maintain defensive integrity.

Denial and Ball Pressure: Defenders actively deny passing lanes, disrupt offensive plays, and make it difficult for opponents to receive the ball comfortably. They use active hands and anticipation to force turnovers.

Rebounding and Transition Defense: Players must prioritize rebounding to secure possessions and limit second-chance opportunities for opponents. After securing a rebound, players quickly transition from defense to offense to prevent fast break opportunities.

Our Pack Line Defense Certification Course features drills like the 5/4 Defense Drill, that works on the rotations of the pack line defense with a special emphasis on stopping penetration down the lane from the top of the key. Developed by Coach Jim Boone, his 600 career wins, 2 Final Four appearances, 6 Sweet 16’s are more than enough references to his capabilities as a coach.

Battle of Two Great Coaches: Best Plays from the NBA Finals Contenders

Battle of Two Great Coaches: Best Plays from the NBA Finals Contenders

Erik Spoelstra and Michael Malone, two excellent basketball minds, are prepared to lead their teams, the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets, in an epic battle for the championship title.

Spoelstra has proved his strategic brilliance and ability to harness the talents of his players as the Heat's head coach. Malone, on the other hand, has expertly managed the Nuggets with his tactical brilliance and excellent leadership. 

This blog post delves into the coaching theories and techniques of these two coaching masters, examining their impact on the success of their individual teams as well as their impact on the game of basketball.

Zone Defense In the NBA Eastern Conference Finals

Zone Defense In the NBA Eastern Conference Finals

The 2023 Eastern Conference Finals was a rollercoaster. Two star-studded rosters battled it out through 7 games as the 8th-seeded Miami Heat pulled off the upset to keep their miraculous Finals run alive, and the 2nd-seeded Boston Celtics fell short of becoming the first team to overcome a 3-game deficit.    

Through all 7 action-filled games, both Miami and Boston implemented highly effective defensive strategies to counter the other’s offensive strengths. Specifically, both teams utilized zone defenses to great effect. For instance, Miami’s use of zone defense helped limit Celtics star Jayson Tatum to 14 points in Monday night’s Game 7, spelling Boston’s 3-game comeback effort. 

The implementation of zone defense disrupted the coordination and flow of opposing offenses, forcing them to adjust their strategies in seek of alternative scoring opportunities. Zone Defense proved effective in limiting dribble penetration and protecting the paint, forcing lower percentage outside shots. This proved to be the deciding factor in the series, as the Celtics shot only 30.3% from behind the arc, leading to their elimination. 

The heavy use of zone defense in the Eastern Conference Finals indicates a broader trend of utilizing the zone as a method to combat the movement toward positionless basketball and explosive offensive strategies. 

To examine this trend, we’ve compiled a breakdown of the different zone defense strategies used by the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Matchup Zone Defense

Perhaps the most effective and prevalent zone defense used by the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals was the Matchup Zone. 

As former NBA G League and Duke Women’s basketball coach Hernando Planells details, matchup zone combines concepts of man-to-man defense and zone defense, making it an on-ball, off-ball hybrid defense. Matchup zone assigns specific defenders to guard specific offensive players while maintaining the positioning and rotational principles of the zone defense. 

While the on-ball defender plays tight, close-out defense, similar to a man-to-man, the off-ball defense remains similar to help side man-to-man defense. While the matchup zone resembles a man-to-man defense, the defenders have the flexibility to switch freely with one another, allowing defensive big men to stay down low, protecting the paint, while quicker guards and wings defend the perimeter. 

The matchup zone is versatile and difficult to prepare for, providing the defense with a key advantage. 

The matchup zone has become a core tenet of Miami’s defensive strategy, as it provides an element of unpredictability to their defensive schemes. Using the matchup zone, the Heat are able to adapt to different offensive strategies, counter offensive threats, and create and maintain favorable defensive matchups through individual assignments, rotation, and active communication. This defensive strategy allowed the Heat to gain favorable defensive matchups and force low-percentage shots. 

Here, Planells breaks down game film explaining the matchup zone. 

Mastering Court Mobility: Tips for Effective Movement in Basketball

Mastering Court Mobility: Tips for Effective Movement in Basketball

Speed training, agility, and vertical training are crucial components of any basketball player's skill set. In the fast-paced and dynamic nature of the game, athletes need to possess explosive speed, sharp agility, and an impressive vertical leap to excel on the court. These important characteristics not only improve an individual's performance but also contribute to team success. 

The ability to shift directions quickly, drive past opponents, and leap above the rim may be game-changing. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of speed, agility, and vertical training in basketball, exploring effective techniques, drills, and strategies to help you improve your game and training fundamentals. Whether you're a seasoned player or just starting out, mastering these aspects of basketball training will give you a competitive edge and make a significant impact on your overall performance. 

5 Basketball Shooting Drills: How to Develop a Sharpshooter

5 Basketball Shooting Drills: How to Develop a Sharpshooter

Why Shooting is Important and How to Develop Itp It

While high long-range, shooting offense is generally associated with high-level basketball players like Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, shooting is vital for an offense at any level of play. 

Good shooters pose a constant scoring threat, forcing defenders to guard them closely, and creating opportunities for teammates to move the ball, drive and find open spaces. Ultimately, since it stretches the defense, high-percentage shooting is a catalyst for offensive spacing and increased versatility, resulting in easier scoring. 

To develop an effective jump shot, a player needs to learn proper shooting form and technique, ensuring proper balance, alignment, efficiency, and repeatabilityfaaa296fab">shooting form and technique, ensuring proper balance, alignment, efficiency, and repeatability. Repetition is crucial for a player’s jump shot, as muscle memory creates reliability and consistency.


Key Takeaways

1. Shooting can improve offensive versatility, increasing scoring opportunities

2. Shooting improves offensive spacing, opening up the court and making the defense cover more ground

3. Good shooting is based on fundamentals and technique 

4. Repetition and muscle memory are essential in developing good shooting skills

5. Shooting skills and consistency can be improved through structured drills

Shooting can be developed by implementing structured shooting drills, as shown by NBA players such as Lonzo Ball- who improved his 3pt FG% from 30% to 42% in a few short years.

To aid this development, we have compiled detailed breakdowns of 5 essential shooting drills for instilling proper technique, form, and muscle memory to grow your team into a sharpshooting, championship squad. 

Click here to view more basketball shooting drill resources.

1. Georgetown Warmup Drillrill

Since shooting is one of the most crucial aspects of basketball, your team’s practices should reflect its importance. Incorporating it into all phases of practice, including the warmup, can help build shot comfortability and increase shooting reps while helping to loosen up your players.

In his clinic, current Florida Gulf Coast and former Georgetown basketball Assistant Coach Kevin Sutton details the Georgetown Warmup Drill, a repetitive series of shots that helps build comfortability taking spot-up shots coming off of ball screens. 

In this drill, a player takes a shot at the lower block. The player then runs around a chair simulating a pindown screen up towards the elbow and takes a spot-up jump shot. The player then rolls down to the block and takes a third shot. The sequence is repeated for a total of ten shots. 

As the player comes around the screen, maintain a low hip position, and elevate straight up for a balanced jump shot. Proper footwork is vital; make sure the player is set and jumps vertically for a consistent shot.

6 Points of Emphasis for a Successful 5 Out Offense

6 Points of Emphasis for a Successful 5 Out Offense

In 2021, Oral Roberts became the second No. 15 seed ever to earn a spot in the Sweet 16. ORU's 5 Out System is one of the best in college basketball. 

Per Synergy Sports, Oral Roberts is a top 15 offense once again this season.

Russell Springman, ORU Assistant Coach, explains that one of the biggest keys of the offense is keeping it simple.

He understands that having a few key points will drive the effectiveness of the offense compared to overcomplicating it with 100’s of points. 

Here are 6 Points of Emphasis of a very successful 5 Out Offense that ORU and other coaches/organizations preach:

#1 - Screener

The screener had two jobs in regards to their set up: step away or looping under. 

The second step for a screener is sprinting into the ball screen. The first 3 steps of the sprint is to create separation. The goal is to arrive alone. 

The third step is the screening angle. ORU’s goal is to force defenders over the screen or put the player’s chest into the shoulder blade. 

The last step is separation after the screen. The goal is to get away from the screen. 

(Click on Image to Play Video)

Effective and Efficient Methods to Practice During the Basketball Season

Effective and Efficient Methods to Practice During the Basketball Season

As basketball season swings into action, it is crucial for athletes and teams to optimize their practice sessions for maximum effectiveness and efficiency. By implementing well-planned practice routines, athletes can sharpen their skills, enhance teamwork, and make improvements to their physical and mental capabilities. Investing time and effort into purposeful practices can give athletes a competitive advantage and help them perform at their peak when it matters most.


In this article, we will explore proven methods that will take your basketball practice to the next level. From sharpening fundamental skills to strategic drills and conditioning exercises, we’ll guide you through a variety of methods to help you make the most of your time on the court. Get ready to embrace the power of effective practice methods and become a force to be reckoned with this basketball season. So, lace up and get ready to unlock your full potential as we dive into the most effective and efficient basketball practice methods.

Organizing an Effective Practice

Coach Bobby Gonzales, former head coach for Seton Hall, has extensive coaching experience that sets him apart as a highly credible basketball coach. With over two decades of leading teams at various levels, including collegiate and internationally, he has achieved reputable results.


Coach Gonzales emphasizes being organized during practices, by creating a culture of organization and togetherness. Recognizing the significance of a cohesive and unified team, Coach Gonzales instills the value of player-led teams through captains by setting expectations before and after practices. You can do this by hosting meetings with your players and staff and listening to your players before they actually step on the court.


Gonzales has transformed the concept of efficiency in basketball practices through his strategic implementation of terminology, filming, and statistical analysis. Implementing a well-defined system of offense, defense, and communication, Coach Gonzales ensures that every player is on the same page by minimizing confusion on the court. Furthermore, Coach Gonzales emphasizes the importance of keeping statistics during his practices to enable objective evaluation, this can be focusing on things like rebounding, blocked shots, etc.


Additionally, Coach Gonzales incorporates filming practices to provide valuable feedback and enhance player development. By analyzing filmed practices, both individual players and the team can identify areas of improvement and refine their skills. Discover more here on how Coach Gonzales organizes his practices.

5 Components to Creating a Winning Basketball Program

5 Components to Creating a Winning Basketball Program

Are you struggling to establish a culture within your team? In the basketball world, building a winning culture is vital to long-term success. A strong basketball culture sets the foundation for teams to excel, attracting fans and sponsors alike. It promotes teamwork, trust, and commitment among players, resulting in better on-court performance. 

A winning culture emphasizes continuous improvement and accountability in everything from strategic game plans to player development. Coaches and players who prioritize the development of a winning culture gain a competitive advantage in their league, increasing their chances of winning and championships. Begin developing your basketball program's winning culture today and witness the transformative power it has on your team's success.

Creating Culture

Queens University basketball coach Bart Lundy is well known for his outstanding leadership skills and the winning culture he has fostered there. As a highly accomplished coach, Lundy's strategic approach and dedication to his players have propelled the team to extraordinary success. 

Lundy, for one, is aware of the significant influence of factors outside of the basketball court. He understands the importance of providing a supportive and nurturing environment for his players off the court. Lundy ensures that his athletes feel valued, motivated, and prepared to excel academically and personally by cultivating a positive and inclusive environment. 

Second, Lundy prioritizes recruiting players and staff who share the program's values and vision. He builds a cohesive and driven team by carefully selecting individuals with the necessary skills, character, and work ethic. 

Guide to Becoming a Lethal Scorer in Basketball

Guide to Becoming a Lethal Scorer in Basketball

Scoring ability is a valued skill that can have a significant impact on game outcomes. This guide is designed to provide you with expert insights, ideas, and methods to become a dominant scorer on the court, whether you're an aspiring basketball player looking to improve your scoring abilities or a seasoned player aiming to take your game to the next level. From mastering shooting techniques to developing offensive moves and understanding the art of creating scoring opportunities, we'll cover all aspects of scoring in basketball. 

If you aspire to be the go-to player who consistently puts points on the board and leads your team to victory, this is the guide for you. You'll learn how to create separation from defenders, navigate through tight defenses, and unleash a variety of scoring methods, both inside and outside the paint. We will also go over the mental side of scoring, teaching you how to read defenses, exploit weaknesses, and maintain focus even in high-pressure situations.This guide will turn you into a lethal scoring machine with experienced instructors ideas, extensive drills, and real-game examples. 

4 Defensive Technique Drills from Boston Celtics Assistant Coach Brandon Bailey

4 Defensive Technique Drills from Boston Celtics Assistant Coach Brandon Bailey

As the Boston Celtics are getting ready to take on the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, it gives us a great opportunity to study some basic fundamentals of the game. 

The Boston Celtics have been known for their effective and tough defense for the past couple of years, whether with Coach Brad Stevens or Coach Ime Udoka. 

I am really excited about this one, so today, I want to go over a few drills I have from Boston Celtics Assistant Coach Brandon Bailey, who gave us a great look at Celtic’s defense and techniques to improve fundamentals of individual defense.

5 Drills to Improve Ball Handling

5 Drills to Improve Ball Handling

Steph Curry has gone from an overlooked high school scorer to an NBA MVP.

Why? Steph has the unique ability to create his own shots. Not only is he a premier shooter, but he handles the ball as well as any point guard in the league. And it’s this ability to handle the rock that makes way for his legendary shot.

Think you have what it takes to dominate? In this article, we’re going to look at 5 ball handling drills that can turn you into a Steph Curry-esque guard.

With each drill, remember to stay low, keep your back straight, keep your head up and never let the ball come above your waist.

1. Zig Zag Drill

The Zig Zag dribbling drill is one of the simplest, most effective drills in basketball. The key to this drill is keeping your form solid while practicing a variety of moves to switch direction and develop multi-hand dexterity.

Let me start by emphasizing that the whole point of this drill is to develop BOTH hands. Don’t favor your good hand. The key to great ball handling is equivalent skill in both hands.

Start in the back right corner of the court and dribble with your left hand to the elbow. Use a simple crossover to switch the ball to your right hand and dribble to the sideline.

Next, use a crossover again to switch the ball back to your left hand and dribble to the half court line. Crossover again and make your way to opposite elbow, and then finish off with one last crossover and a trip to the far corner.

This drill takes you from one end of the court to the other, practicing a change of direction move each time.

You should continue running this drill alternating through the following moves with each cross-court trip:

Basic crossover

Between the legs crossover

Spin move

Behind the back

Quick stop

The key to any basketball drill is to treat it like a game situation. In fact, if you find yourself or your players loafing during the drill, have them pair up and go against a defender. You will want to practice these moves at 100% so when the game has started, you feel comfortable using these moves with either hand. 

2. Two Balls, Two Hands

Ball control is key to becoming a better ball handler. The next few drills all focus on ball control and strengthening your wrists, forearms and confidence in controlling the ball at all times.

There are many variations to a drill that I call 2 Balls, 2 Hands. The key to this drill is to 

become more confident in your ability to handle the ball with both hands.

You can practice this drill by simply sitting on the bottom bleacher at your local gym, grabbing 2 basketballs and just dribbling them by your side. You are going to want to keep them low to the ground and make sure you feel comfortable with the ball in your off hand. I used to do this every day for about 5 to 10 minutes before practice or a game while other teams were using the gym floor.

The second variation of this drill is to take 2 basketballs and practice dribbling while walking down the court. Again, you want to make sure you stay low and stay in control at all times. Go slow to begin with and focus on form and control, then, as you get more comfortable, you can speed up the pace.

During these drills be sure you keep your head up, so that you can see the court around you while dribbling.

3. Low Dribble Drills

The final drill may be the most important. The biggest mistake I see among young guards is dribbling the ball too high off the ground. The higher you dribble the ball, the more time it takes to move between your fingertips and the floor, which allows the defender more time to knock it away. When dribbling the ball, you should always stay low to the ground with a good bend in your knees, your back straight and your head up.

Start the drill off slow by walking down the court, making sure to maintain good form. While walking, be sure to practice some change of direction moves like a cross over or between the legs crossover. You will notice how much quicker the change of direction is happening when you keep the ball low.

Once you get to half court, simply turn around and come back. As you run through subsequent reps of this drills, speed up the pace and add a defender. Instruct the defender to reach in and attempt to steal or knock the ball away anytime they see a small opening. You want your offensive players to realize the value in keeping the ball close to the ground.



One of the best parts about professional sports is that the camera is almost always on the players. That means that when something funny happens, it’s easy for it to become immortalized into a legendary animated GIF. We spent time scouring the Internet and found these great 13 funny basketball GIFs.

1. Raptor

This hilarious GIF is somewhat representative of this franchises history…



CoachTube Basketball Training Advisor Chris Corbett recently had the chance to interview renowned speed & agility expert Rich Stoner on the topic so many ambitious young athletes seek answers to.

How can you gain an edge this offseason?

Check out Rich’s answers below and then head on over to his industry-leading CoachTube course.

Defensive Strategies for Basketball

Defensive Strategies for Basketball

Much like choosing your offensive strategies in a basketball game, calling the right defensive plays can be crucial in a win. When choosing a defense, you must evaluate both your team and opponents on the court and choose the best defense that fits their size, quickness and strength.

Although some coaches decide to go with the same defensive strategy throughout a game or season, having multiple strategies can give your team an edge and keep your opponents guessing.

However, you must be certain that your team is well prepared; otherwise they will only end up confusing themselves.

There are a lot of different defensive plays and strategies out there. Listed below are a few tried-and-true strategies I recommend adding to your defensive playbook.

The Man-to-Man Defense is Simple, But Important to Understand

The main principle when defending man-to-man is to make sure every player on your team defends one opponent. Another big component of a man-to-man defense is a term called “help side defense.” This happens when a defender that is “two passes” away drops off his man to help offenders that are cutting or setting screens.

The whole point of a man-to-man offense is to keep pressure on the ball at all times. However, for the defenders away from the ball, the defense is treated a bit like a zone defense. This makes it a very important defense to learn and memorize. It teaches great on-ball defense, which includes moving your feet, staying on your toes and knowing where to be at the right time.

4 Keys To Turning Your Program Into Championship Contender By Dallas Mavericks Coach Sean Sweeney

4 Keys To Turning Your Program Into Championship Contender By Dallas Mavericks Coach Sean Sweeney

As the Dallas Mavericks look to close out their series tonight against Utah Jazz Game 6, one name keeps being mentioned by basketball experts as one of the rising superstars in the coaching business: the Mavericks’ Assistant Coach Sean Sweeneyps://coachtube.com/seansweeney">Sean Sweeney. 

Coach Sweeney is being mentioned as an instrumental part of developing The MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in his early days, and so far has been a key component in turning around the Dallas Mavericks as they are attempting to bring Championship back to Lone Star State.

Sean Sweeney helped to transform Mavericks in just one season by developing these components into team culture: 

1. Head First Transition Defense

One of the keys to Mavericks success throughout the whole season has been transition defense. Mavs Assistant Coach Sean Sweeney teaches transition defense in 5 key steps:

Get Ahead of the Ball

Stop the Ball Above the Three Point Line

Match Up and Communicate

Lower to the Basketball

Think Help! 

The main goal is to force offense to go against the set defense, without giving any open looks or forcing any unnecessary fouls.

To fully implement these 5 key components into game situations, Coach Sean Sweeney uses “5 on 4” and “Coaches Transition” Drills in every practice. Watch the breakdown here:

What You Need to Know About the 2 Side Break

What You Need to Know About the 2 Side Break

While there has been lots of discussion about half-court actions and offenses like 5 Outef="https://coachtube.com/courses/basketball/5-out-offense">5 Out and Dribble Drives://coachtube.com/courses/basketball/dribble-drive-motion">Dribble Drive, you also hear a lot of coaches talking about playing with pace. 

We know that analytics show the advantages of scoring in transition but it leaves some unanswered questions coaches face such as

What does pace mean exactly?  

How do you teach it?  

The pace concept has been linked to a transition offense system known as the 2 Side Break.  

Yes, the 2 Side system was used by the Houston Rockets but it can be adopted to all levels of play. You can get layups and 3’s in this system, based on your talent level.

Coaches such as Zak Boisvert have mentioned it in clinic presentations but nothing has been produced that goes into greater detail.

Thankfully, Brent Tipton has put together a clinic breakdown of this offensive system and is now available here.

2 Side Transition: How To Trigger Offensive Advantage goes into detail discussing

How 2 Side Transition impacts pace

How to go Early and Opposite

How to go Early and Up

When to Dribble Push

How Stretched Spacing Rules create multiple closeouts

Incorporating 45 cuts and DHOs in transition

Here is Coach Tipton showing examples of early and opposite ball movement and how it disrupts transition defense.

5 Out of Bound Plays vs. the 2-3 Zone

5 Out of Bound Plays vs. the 2-3 Zone

It’s that time of year as you are starting to prepare for the playoffs or state championship run. Here are 5 OB plays against the zone that are designed to get you a good shot. 

This is the time of year where everyone is scouting and one of these might help you in that crucial moment at the end of the year. If you can win the OB battle vs your opponent it could be very well the difference between advancing to the next round.

Repeat after me: Shooting is about practice, practice, practice

Repeat after me: Shooting is about practice, practice, practice

Watch some of the best shooters in the game of basketball, and it becomes pretty evident that the way they shoot is a systematic approach that never, ever changes.

If you’ve been playing basketball for a few years, chances are you’ve been taught the proper way to shoot a basketball. You know – triple-threat stance, dominant hand under the basketball, elbow in, eyes on the target, etc. But the ability to shoot a basketball well doesn’t just come to a player overnight, and it doesn’t occur the split second a player develops the proper shooting technique.

Proper shooting becomes an art form and, like many things in this world, requires plenty of practice in order to master. When the end result is finally reached, however, shooting a basketball can be compared to riding a bicycle – no matter how often a player gets on a court, the muscle memory is there and the skill, though it may get rusty, can’t be unlearned. 

Practicing your shot is the best way to develop the repetition that is needed to build up proper shooting habits. The reality of the game is this: as a player’s body develops, her shooting technique will change. It’s roughly when a player hits middle school that the necessary muscles for repetitive shooting start to take shape. But a player is never too young to get a feel for the style of shooting on a 10-foot rim.

3 Keys To Shooting Better Off The Pass

3 Keys To Shooting Better Off The Pass

Some of the best shooters in the game today are amazing at shooting the ball off the pass.

Being able to quickly receive a pass when you are already in an ideal shooting position allows you to quickly get a good shot off before the defender can challenge the shot. Follow these 3 keys and allow your teammates to set you up for great looks at the basket, whether you’re coming off screens or on a fast break.

Square Your Feet, Hips & Shoulders To The Basket

 Every good shot is taken with your body being square to the basket. Having your hips and shoulders facing the basket allows for greater accuracy and a higher percentage of made shots. While this is fairly easy to do during shooting practice, it takes concentration to square up before shooting in a live-game situation.

 In practice, pay close attention to your feet, as the rest of your body will follow their path. When pivoting into shooting position, step first with the foot closest to the basket and then rotate your body, swinging the outside foot into a square-to-the basket position.

When moving off-ball, you should be squared, with your feet, hips and shoulders all pointing directly at the basket, by the time you receive the pass.

Be sure to run drills coming off the pick from both sides of the court and pay close attention to your footwork so that it becomes second nature once you get in the game.

Have Your Hands Ready To Shoot

Every good shooter always has his or her hands ready to shoot the ball.

These scorers want the ball and expect the ball when coming off a screen or coming down the wing on a fast break.

When you always have your hands in a ready-to-shoot position you let your teammates know that you are looking for the shot and can quickly go into your shooting motion once you receive the ball. As you progress through the ranks of youth basketball to high school and college, it becomes more and more important to be able to quickly get off your shot.

Your opponents become quicker and taller, so as a shooter, you must also refine your game in order to keep being successful. Always have your hands ready to shoot so your teammates will keep feeding you the ball.

Keep Your Body Tight

Everyone wants to take the ‘Kobe Shot’. You know the one I am talking about, where he is on the baseline at the 3 point line with his back to the basket and he turns, fading away from the basket, and knocks down the shot. These are called low percentage shots, because there is very little chance of you actually making them.

 The more your body is turning or moving, especially away from the basket, the less likely your shot is to go in. When shooting off the pass, always keep your body tight. Running off screens and shooting the ball makes it easy to fall away from the basket or to the side as you shoot. Instead, keep your body square to the basket and your body tight and balanced during the shot.

10 Shooting Tips That Will Increase Your Shooting Percentage

10 Shooting Tips That Will Increase Your Shooting Percentage

Every basketball coach I’ve ever had said the easiest ways to find yourself on the bench is to miss shots, turn the basketball over, and to not give 100%. Although a missed shot is perhaps better than a turnover with the chance for an offensive rebound, coaches don’t want to see their players throwing up contested jumpers when there are better options. With these ten shooting tips, I’ll look to provide you with techniques and tips to improve that field goal percentage in a hurry.

TIP #1: Become a student of the game

There is a lot of value to be learned through watching some of the greats do what they do best. Watching NBA games or collegiate matches can offer an opportunity to closely observe how the pros shoot and apply it to your own game. Follow how these shooters are working both with and without the ball and look for the elite shooters on each team. Another tool would be to watch basketball instructional videos or watch YouTube of guys like Ray Allen and Stephen Curry.

TIP #2: Watch your shot on film

Seeing your shot on film can be a real eye-opener. It makes it easier to understand where you are succeeding and what areas still need some seasoning. This drill will really provide benefits into making some finishing touches on your jumper to prevent any mechanical issues.

TIP #3: Get to the basket

The majority of young players today all want to be the ones knocking down threes. However, if you become overly reliant on shooting from distance, your field goal percentage will likely suffer as a result. To offset this, you need to possess the ability to attack the basket. Not only will this get you some easier looks, but the chances of earning a trip to the free throw line increases as well. In practice you can work on penetration looks to improve this trait.

The Best Ways to Practice Dribbling

The Best Ways to Practice Dribbling

When we talk about basketball, there’s no need to describe dribbling. It’s the lifeblood of the sport; moving with the basketball isn’t possible unless the player in possession is dribbling.

Players learn how to properly dribble at a very, very young age. While a child’s motor skills develop, some of the simple concepts of dribbling aren’t instilled until later years.

For example, traveling and double dribbling – both violations of the rules when they are strictly enforced – don’t necessarily come easy to those learning how to play the game.

When players are young, there’s only one focus: get the ball in the basket, regardless of what it takes.

As players get older, dribbling and passing become the two functions of moving the ball on offense. While it’s not every player’s strong point, dribbling should be something in which everyone, even the big men or women, should be fluent.

It is the point guard’s responsibility to get the ball up the court every single play, which means dribbling the ball effectively is a large part of the position’s game. But dribbling isn’t always everyone’s favorite thing to practice.

But it has to be done, and there are plenty of players that take more pride in making the pass that leads to a pretty basket, or making a defender look silly with a great crossover move. Naturally, the best way to improve dribbling skills is to practice heavily. For those looking to improve, there are dozens of ways to do so, and all you need is a ball and some space.

Try These Dribbling Exercises

Start with the simple right-handed low dribble.

When a player is dribbling the ball, it’s always best to stay low with much of his or her body shielding the ball from the defender. So it’s important to do the same in practice to get familiar with the feeling.

Dribbles should be quick, short and with force. And a player should never be looking at the ball when dribbling – there are far more important things that should command their attention. A player needs to develop a feel for the ball and know where it’s going to be when he or she is dribbling.

Then switch to high bounces, using excessive force to pound the ball into the floor. The dribbles should come up to roughly the player’s shoulders. He or she wouldn’t dribble like that in a game, but the point here is getting used to the force that is exerted with each pounding dribble. It develops a type of coordination with the ball.

All drills should be done with both hands. Being ambidextrous with the ball is an essential part of the game. So incorporate crossover drills and, if you have access to them, set up some cones through which you can dribble. Being elusive with the ball in your hands is part of the job, and a good crossover move might be the most useful in a player’s arsenal of tricks. Two ball drills are a great way to work on being confident in dribbling with both hands.

How Coaches Can Help Build Team Chemistry

How Coaches Can Help Build Team Chemistry

A coach can’t create team chemistry. It formulates on its own. But a coach can help facilitate chemistry within his team, and sometimes that factor is more important than being good with X’s and O’s.


On the youth basketball level, wins and losses aren’t the main goal, but there’s no reason a coach can’t have it all – ensuring his players are having fun and developing skills while becoming competitive and winning games in a positive fashion. A team that jells with chemistry has a greater chance of winning games than one whose players have too many individual objectives.

The latter is more prevalent on the high school, college and professional levels and usually not so much on the grassroots level of basketball. Achieving chemistry is important because it teaches friendship, sportsmanship and teamwork. It starts with having fun, and a team that has strong attendance at practices and games is a sure sign the kids want to be there both individually and collectively. Keep parents informed through team emails as well, because engaging their interests makes it a team effort.

At the start of a practice, give your players the chance to shoot around together and interact as a team informally. The smiles and laughter will be a strong indication the players are gelling as a team. For one of the first drills of the preseason, players get to know each other by passing the ball to teammates while they shout out the receiving player’s name.


As you move into more basketball drills, keep them fun and positive. Do a good job of explaining how to perform a skill and its importance. Encourage players who are working hard and developing good technique.

2021 Men

2021 Men's NCAA Tournament Teams Courses & Playbooks to Study

Is this the year you nail your bracket?

Maybe this can help.

We thought it would be fun to list all the courses and playbooks to study up as you watch the tournament to get and edge and learn what they are doing to separate themselves. 

# 1 Seeds

Gonzaga - Gonzaga Playbook 

Baylor - Scott Drew Guard Development  -Jerome Tang - Skill Development for Posts and Guards


Illinois - Offensive and Defensive Playbook

Michigan - Juwan Howard Playbook

# 2 Seeds

Alabama - Assistant Coach Charlie Henry Spread Offense

Ohio State - Offensive Playbook

Houston - PNR Offensive and Defensive - Kelvin Sampson 

# 3 Seeds

Arkansas - Eric Musselman Offensive Philosophy

West Virginia - Larry Harrison Complete Guide to West Virginia Press Defense

Texas - Q and A with Shaka Smart TABC Virtual Clinic

Kansas - Bill Self Playbook

# 4 Seeds 

Florida State - Charlton Young Assistant Coach - Transition Offense

Purdue - Micah Shrewsbury Offensive Concepts and Actions - Purdue Offensive Playbook

Oklahoma State - Mike Boynton 

Virginia- Virginia vs Texas Tech National Championship X’s and O’s

# 5 Seeds

Creighton - Creighton Bluejays Playbook

Villanova - Jay Wright Multiple Defenses 

Tennessee - Rick Barnes Transition Basketball Course

# 6 Seeds 

Texas Tech - Offensive and Defensive Playbook

BYU - Offensive Playbook 

# 7 Seeds 

Oregon - Spread Offense Playbook

UCONN - Dan Hurley Defensive Philosophy and Drills

# 8 Seeds 

Oklahoma - Lon Kruger Clinic Notes 

# 9 Seeds 

Missouri - Cuonzo Martin 

# 10 Seeds 

Virginia Tech Offensive Playbook 

# 11 Seeds

UCLA  Mick Cronin Creating a Defensive Culture 

Michigan State Tom Izzo Defensive Skills and Drills

Drake Larry Blunt Breaking into the Coaching Profession 

# 12 Seeds 

UCSB Joe Pastarnack Program Defining Drills

Winthrop Pat Kesley Measuring your team success with analytics 

# 13 Seeds

Ohio Jeff Boals Recruiting Strategy 

UNC - Greensboro Chris Lepore  Climbing the ladder 

# 14 Seeds 

Abilene Christian - Joe Golding High Low Offense 

# 15 Seed

Grand Canyon Ed Schilling Player Development become the best

# 16 Seeds

Norfolk State Rob Jones Offensive Zone Sets 

Texas Southern Brandon Chambers Pick and Roll Coverages

Good Luck!

3 Actions from Southern Utah

3 Actions from Southern Utah's Highly Ranked System

Last season, Southern Utah had one of the best offensive teams in the country according to Synergy Sports. Synergy lists them as the #10 ranked offensive team. 

Southern Utah was also marked as “excellent” in zone offense. 

Head Coach Todd Simon came from the high school level → then worked his way up to college level → and now he is the head coach of Southern Utah. 

Coach Simon’s philosophy against a zone defense is to dictate. To do this he uses many different actions within his zone offense.

Three of the main actions Southern Utah uses are: Inside Ball Screen Overload, Outside Ball Screen and Corner Action. 

#1 Inside Ball Screen Overload

Coach Simon’s zone offense is usually initiated by a wing entry then a throwback to get the defense moving. 

After the throwback, the big man comes up to set an inside slot ball screen. 

The best shooter will be located in the opposite slot. 

 The wing then sprints through to create an overload.

Coaching Analysis of Thursday NCAA Men’s Tournament Games

Coaching Analysis of Thursday NCAA Men’s Tournament Games

Today we kick off the NCAA Tournament with the First Four Games to advance to the 64 team bracket.

Here is a breakdown of what you can expect:

Texas Southern vs. Mount St Mary’s

Texas Southern likes to play up-tempo and attack in transition using lots of ball screens to create an advantage. 

On Defense you can expect Texas Southern to be ready to stop the pick and roll. Here is a clip of Texas Southern Coach Brandon Chambers sharing his philosophy on Pick and Roll coverages.

How the point guard is basketball

How the point guard is basketball's quarterback

What has changed in the NCAA Basketball Tournamentis that the most successful teams were traditionally the ones full of veteran players. Today, many of the most talented players are freshmen instead of seniors. What hasn’t changed is the importance of having a strong point guard. No team wants to be caught without one – the so-called “quarterback” on the court, leading the flow of action on both ends.

The positions in basketball are numbered one through five, and, appropriately, a point guard is the one whom others follow. That’s the mindset a youth basketball coach wants to bring out. A skilled point guard makes everybody’s job easier because his decision making and leadership are an extension of the coach on the floor. He is adept at handling the ball, setting up teammates, scoring, directing and exploiting weaknesses in the opposition. Indeed, a Peyton Manning in gym shorts.


To develop a point guard, a coach wants to instill confidence in him, always suggesting how his leadership runs both the offensive and defensive sets. Teammates will respond to how a point guard displays a relentless style in practice, so a coach who develops the mindset of his point guard is basically doing the same for his entire team.

While some athletes will lead vocally or through example, the point guard has to do both. On offense, he is the main dribbler, so the ball will be in his hands the most. It’s pivotal that he dribbles with his head up so he can see the floor in front of him and recognize the best way for his team to score a basket. He calls out the plays to signal what should be happening. It’s his job to set up his teammates through his passing, so he often leads his team in assists. But his ability to score points on jump shots and drives to the basket provides points, too, so he can draw defenders away from his offensive teammates.


Defensively, the point guard is the great communicator. He’s demanding intensity out of his teammates and disrupting the opposing team. His aggressive play will draw the same out of his teammates more than a coach yelling instruction from the sideline will.

Drills in practice will improve any young player. Some have the potential to bring out the best in a point guard. From the first day of practice through the playoffs, a coach must stress muscle memory and proper mechanics. He can turn a simple full-court dribbling drill into a two-way teaching tool.

If a young point guard constantly uses his or her dominant hand to dribble the ball, work on the opposite hand. Have your "quarterback" use his opposite hand to dribble from the end line to midcourt and back. Don’t stop there, either. He immediately should turn and dribble to the far end line and back. With the opposite hand! The dribbler has to keep his head up to see the entire floor. If he struggles at first, slow the action and have him dribble in place to gain a better feel for the ball while his head is up. Keep it low and by his side. As he progresses, have him do a full-court up-and-back dribble against a defender.


The defender on the up-and-back dribble will gain as much as the dribbler. Have the dribbler go forward with a diagonal dribble. The defender has to drop-step and slide with the dribbler. Knees should be bent with balance on the toes, not the heels, and the eyes should be directed toward the belly because the ball will be on that plain. The defender’s palms should be up, and if he goes for a steal, he should tap the ball from underneath, not from above, where he often will slap the dribbler’s hand and cause a foul. The dribbler wants to pick and choose his opportunity for a steal. He’s more trying to slow the dribbler and force him into a mistake. You want your point guard to be more focused than the dribbler.

Guess what? This simple drill is working on conditioning, too. Your point guard should want to outlast all the other players on the court. He’s the quarterback, he sets the tone.

Full Court Press Drills

Full Court Press Drills

Full Court Press Drills

Teams utilize the full-court press in basketball for two reasons. The first is to create havoc and, ultimately, turnovers. Those turnovers translate into offensive opportunities to score and, of course, the more of those opportunities a team has the more likely it is to win.

The second reason teams run a full-court press defense is to dictate the tempo of a game. Pressing defenses can force opponents away from their strengths and play a style of basketball with which they are not comfortable. 

Regardless of the reasoning, teams looking to become skilled in the art of pressure defense must drill it on a daily basis. Here are five drills that can turn your team into a nightmare for opponents.

Trap Transition Drill

Trap Transition is a full-court basketball drill in a 5-on-5 situation that teaches defenders to anticipate the first pass out of a trap. The drill begins after an entry pass with the ball in the hands of a guard who has been immediately trapped.

A guard starts with the ball in the trap. The guard must hold the ball for a full two seconds before being permitted to pass. Defenders work on staying knee-to-knee in the trap so the guard cannot split it.

The press can be a man-to-man press or zone. The remaining defenders anticipate the pass out of the trap.

The goal is to get a deflection or interception and a quick score off the turnover. 

The drill can be repeated on different areas of the court.

Circle Trap Drill

The Circle Trap Drill teaches defenders how to trap properly and do so without committing a foul. A trap should not be able to be split. This drill reinforces that. The whole drill takes place in and around the circle at the top of the key.

To begin, three offensive players align around the circle spaced evenly. Three defenders align inside the circle in the gaps between the offensive players.

A coach initiates the drill by passing to one of the offensive players. 

The two closest defenders immediately execute the trap. They position themselves knee-to-knee and use active hands to prevent the split.

The third defender anticipates and attempts to take away any passes to the remaining two offensive players.

The offense must stay outside of the circle.

The drill also helps the offense work on breaking the trap and passing while under pressure.

Fast Breakdown

For whatever reason, there are times when the full-court press breaks down. The offense breaks through a trap and gets the ball ahead of the defense. The result is a 5-on-3 disadvantage situation. The Fast Breakdown drill teaches players how to deal with such a situation.

A ball handler starts with the ball in the backcourt. He dribbles and cannot pass until he gets into the front court. The two trapping defenders trail the ball handler attempting to steal the ball.

The goal of the defense is to prevent a scoring opportunity early in transition.

Once the ball is passed into the front court, the possession can be played out in a 5-on-5 situation.

4-4-4 Drill

The 4-4-4 drill is a great team full court press drill. Players must stay focused and are held accountable in this fast-paced drill. It begins with three teams of four players each. One on one end of the floor, a team in the middle circle, and the third team on the opposite end of the floor.

The team on offense keeps the ball when they score and must inbound against the press. When an offense reaches half-court, the defense on that end of the floor steps up to defend. 

If a defense gets a stop, they become the new offense. The closest team of 4 becomes the new defense. If the offense reaches half-court, remember that the defense at that end steps in to become the new defense.

Score is kept like a regular game.

The goal is for defenders to pressure the offense into turnovers and for the offense to break the press and score.

2-on-2 Run & Jump Drill

In most full-court pressure defenses, the ball gets trapped along the sidelines. The purpose of this drill is to handle situations where the ball is advanced up the middle of the floor. Players execute the Run & Jump instead of the trap in an effort to create a turnover.

Player 1 brings the ball up the middle of the floor. His teammate is on the wing. 

The defender of Player 1 forces him into the wing. 

The defender of Player 2 executes the jump picking up the ball handler. The defender of Player 1 falls back to pick up the wing. Essentially, the defenders are executing a switch in this drill.

If the ball handler pulls the dribble, the two defenders execute a trap.

The drill continues to progress until three Run & Jumps are completed.

Here is an example of the 1-2-2 / 3-4 Court Press by Head Coach Patrick Chambers.

3 Transition Offensive Drills to Play Fast

3 Transition Offensive Drills to Play Fast

Seton Hall Head Women's basketball Coach Tony Bozzella is one of the best at pushing the tempo on offense.

He has led the Seton Hall women to two NCAA Tournaments and holds the best winning percentage in school history for women’s basketball. 

Playing fast looks like it would just be easy -- just go out and rebound and run.

Of course we know that is not the case. Playing with a tempo consists of many details that go into a successful transition offense.

Coach Bozzella’s transition offense starts in practice. 

Here are 3 drills that Coach Bozzella believes will help make a better transition offensive team:

1) 2 Man Layups

The two man layups drill works on the small details of a transition offense.

In this workout, we are looking to work on jump stops, passing and running wide to score the basketball. 

The objective of the drill is to score 25 layups each side -- so 50 total in 2 minutes.

This will help create the proper pace and perfect trips up and down the court. 

This needs to be done precisely to be able to finish the drill on time.

Running Inbounds Plays in Youth Basketball

Running Inbounds Plays in Youth Basketball

Doodling takes on a life of its own with a youth basketball coach. Any scrap of paper offers the opportunity to diagram set plays.

Running structured plays though, comes in baby steps with the younger ages. Inbound plays underneath an opponent’s basket are a great place to get started.

Considering most opponents will be playing man-to-man defense on the younger levels, the “stack” is a common way to introduce a structured play starting underneath the opponent’s basket.

At least one of the four players in the stack should get open for a bounce pass or chest pass from the inbounder, and probably more than that.

New Favorite Actions from Around the World

New Favorite Actions from Around the World

New Favorite Actions from Around the World

Thanks to the feedback we got from you, we decided to share some more great actions and sets we have observed from watching games from around the world.

Play 1:  Slice to Middle Pick and Roll

Starting in a 1-4 high, 1 hits 3 and cuts to the corner off 5.  At the same time 2 is cutting off 4.  3 can hit 2 if open.  If not, 3 reverse to 5.  On the reversal pass to 4, 2 screens for 3, then comes off the down screen from 5.  4 reverses to 2, who then uses 5’s ball screen.  

You can change which player comes off the down screen for the high pick and roll.  In this example, when the ball is with 4, 2 and 5 set a stagger screen for 1.  1 catches up top and then gets a ball screen from 5.

How to Create a Pick-and-Roll Offense

How to Create a Pick-and-Roll Offense

Due to a variety of reasons, basketball has become more up-tempo over the years. Coaches have become enthused with the use of speed to take advantage of opponents and create more fast breaks. Perhaps no one has adopted this philosophy to a greater degree than former NBA head coach Mike D’Antoni. His pick-and-roll offense first gained prominence with Steve Nash’s Phoenix Suns and then later in New York with the Knicks.

Seven Seconds or Less Principle

One of the key concepts behind Mike D’Antoni’s offense was this idea of the seven seconds or less principle. It has been well documented and was even the subject of the book, :07 Seconds or Less, which was released in 2006 telling the story of these run and gun Suns. This principle centers on the mindset that while there are good shots, there is always a better shot. Further, when you play offense at such a high-tempo, the defense doesn’t have time to get set. If you take too long to get a shot off, the defense can get set up like they’ve planned. When utilized effectively, there are usually fewer turnovers since fewer passes will be thrown (hence, only 7 seconds are used). While some may argue that this run-and-gun approach takes away from the traditional values of playing in half-court sets, it has been proven to work at all levels.

Relying on Speed

If you don’t have speed and quickness on your team, then the pick-and-roll offense will likely not be as effective.

D’Antoni’s teams were often quicker than the other teams. It’s not that other NBA teams weren’t conditioned enough to compete with the Suns, rather D’Antoni had his players operating on the mindset that they needed to get the ball up the floor as quick as possible. Less thinking was required on the players, as they were focused on speed rather than plays. When you’re attacking this quickly, opposing big men have trouble keeping up. For coaches out there that may suffer from a size advantage, this offense will work for you because it combats many of the strengths of having a bigger team. Ultimately, it is a way for smaller teams to put paint points on the board.

Presence of Pure Shooters

A short look through the stats of the 2005 Suns reveals they had plenty of three point shooters. Quentin Richardson, Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion, Steve Nash, Leandro Barbosa, and Jim Jackson made up the list of these long-range bombers. The reason why the utilization of these players is so important is because it is an aspect that was missing for so long from the up-tempo offenses. This concentration of perimeter players allows a team to capitalize on nearly every fast break opportunity. In the end, the fast break situation will play out like this: The ball-handler races up the floor to attack the paint. While the opposing big men are still on their way down the court, the backpedaling wings will most likely collapse in the paint to get in front of the charging ball-handler. With this being the case, the ball-handler can either attack the wings to draw a foul or kick it out to one of the sharpshooters around the arc.

Making the Defense Commit

In all of the situations dealing with up-tempo and pick-and-roll offenses, the defense will have to decide how to react. An article from Knicker Blogger brings up some of the various decisions a team can make in response to the frequent pick-and-rolls in D’Antoni’s offense utilizing the point guard (Raymond Felton) and heavily-used post player (Amare Stoudemire).

Big Shows: Here, Stoudemire’s man comes out and shows, thus preventing an easy jumper from Felton off the screen. However, Stoudemire’s speed allows him to get to the hoop quicker. A simple pass over the top or lob can take advantage of this. If a third defender helps, Stoudemire will have an open shooter somewhere around the arc.

Big and Small Switch: When this happens, the point guard (Felton) is able to have a situation matched up with a slower big. His quickness would allow him to either drive to the paint or work the big in a one-on-one situation to get a medium range jumper.

Big Stays with Big: In a situation like this, Felton would immediately be able to go around the screen ahead of the trailing guard. With the opposing big stuck to Stoudemire, a third defender will collapse on Felton’s drive. Then, Felton utilizes his decision making to find an open shooter.

Big Splits the Difference: The last decision would be for the defense to leave the big closer to the basket and not attack the pick and roll. However, here if either of the players can knock down a long-range jumper, it would be available.

As seen with these numerous different decisions, the key is to make the defense decide first before the offense reacts. The speed and presence of shooters allows the offense to have more ways to react on any given play.

Crucial Chemistry

As with any aspect of basketball, players must have chemistry with their teammates to be efficient and effective. Through practice with each other, it becomes easier to understand tendencies and preferences. More than ever, in a pick-and-roll offense, players have to know where guys like to spot up. Even though I mentioned spot-up shooters as being essential, there are going to be guys that tend to evaporate towards the corners on fast breaks. As for teams at lower levels, not all of the point guards will have the ability to handle the ball effectively with both hands. To assist the point guard, teams must design pick-and-rolls that play to the dominant hand to open up either driving lanes to that side or passing opportunities.

Improving Your Three-Point Shot

Improving Your Three-Point Shot

The three-point shot is a very popular skill amongst basketball players, mainly due to the advantage a player has when they can shoot from a long distance. However, this type of skill does not come easily. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of strength and conditioning to master.

One of the most important things when shooting a three-pointer, and shooting a basketball in general, is the mechanics of your shot.

This will play an important role in how far you can successfully shoot a basketball. The other way to improve your range is through increasing your physical strength and power. Improving these two aspects of your game will show great results when moving further back to shoot, as well as an extra point.

Technique Is Everything

Shooting a basketball in general is a very difficult task to master. It takes a lot of hard work and practice. One of the most important things when shooting is being comfortable with your shot. If something feels wrong, figure out what and fix it.

When shooting a three-pointer, there are a few tips and tricks to take into consideration. As opposed to a free throw or a mid-range shot, three-pointers take more strength, more power, more mechanics and more practice. With the right training through effective drills, you can master the three-point shot on your own.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Coaches….And People, Too

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Coaches….And People, Too

When Dr. Stephen Covey published The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in 1989, it had a tremendous impact on people across the world, including coaches looking to increase their effectiveness and impact.  I personally was so moved by the material that I spent 3 years working for Dr. Covey’s company as they were providing 7 Habits content to school systems across the country.

It has been years since I read the book, as well as Dr. Covey’s books after publishing 7 Habits. So I decided to go back recently and review the principles from 7 Habits and how they apply to coaching. 

So what are the 7 Habits and why should I be interested in them?

Well, I would say that if there is any area of your life that you are looking to perform better at, the 7 Habits can help you.

Let’s start with Habits 1, 2, and 3.  The first three habits are designed to help people move from a state of dependence to independence.  Dr. Covey stated this by saying “Private victory precedes public victory” so there are steps to take first.

 Habit 1. Be Proactive.

Rather than explain what it means to be proactive, let me ask you a question.  Do you make choices based upon /values/principles or upon your mood, feelings, or circumstances?  Are you teaching your players the importance of making good choices?

 Dr. Covey explained being proactive with his famous quote, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.” One of the best visual illustrations of this was in a workshop I attended where the presenter used a bottle of Coke (reactive person) and a bottle of water (proactive person) to represent how we respond. 

If we want to make this easier, we can put it this way.  Think before you act vs. act before you think.

Habit 2.  Begin With The End in Mind

Again, let me ask a question.  Do your actions for your team and your own individual life flow from a meaningful mission statement?  We know that businesses and organizations use vision statements to clarify what is important to them and why they exists (besides making a profit or winning).  What about you and your team?

Here is a basic understanding of Habit 2, directly from the Franklin Covey website:  “Habit 2 is based on imagination--the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint. If you don't make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default.”

As you consider putting together a mission or values statement, keep in mind that your statement should inspire you, tell what you are about, what you value, and what you stand for.

Habit 3.  Put First Things First

This habit simply comes down to this question. “Are you able to say no to the unimportant, no matter how urgent, and yes to the important?” 

We know that planning is important as a coach when we sit down and prepare for the season or a game.  With all the demands on our time and energy, we have to make good choices where we focus, especially with social media and other activities that can us off track.

Dr. Covey developed this framework to help individuals  identify where they allocate their time.

Habit 3 is basically about focusing on relationships, not schedules or tasks.  It’s easy to get caught in Q3/Q4 activities on a daily basis and takes you off track from what you have identified as important.  You will have temporary imbalances, so don’t be too hard on yourself when those occur.

For me, I have broken my planning process down to two things.

 What roles do I have?

What is the most important thing I can do this week/today in my role as ________?

Habit 4.  Think Win-Win. 

 It may be the most misunderstood habit and has become somewhat of a cliche.  Habit 4 focuses on how we can create mutually beneficial decisions and having the courage to walk away from situations where a win-win deal is not possible.  Habit 4 also centers around having an Abundance Mentality vs. a Scarcity Mentality.  

Writer Dean Yeong puts it this way:  Win/WIn is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win/Win means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial, mutually satisfying. With a Win/Win solution, all parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan. Win/Win sees life as a cooperative, not a competitive arena

Since coaching and athletics is world of competitiveness, can you still create win-win agreements with others?

Habit 5.  Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood.  

This habit is focused on two things: The ability to listen with empathy and the ability to make your expectations clear.  Look at the order here. Before we can express our expectations, we must listen first.  

Dr. Covey introduces the concept of the Emotional Bank Account in this habit.  Very simply, its about making deposits into others rather than withdrawals that leave others feeling empty and unappreciated.

This is a challenge for everyone, including myself, especially during the season.  

Habit 6. Synergize.  

Synergize is basically the idea of creative cooperation and the ability to build better outcomes with others called the Third Alternative.  It focuses on valuing others perceptions of reality.  

Again, another habit that is easy to talk about but difficult to implement.  What areas in your program have you had a challenge with Habit 6?

Habit 7.  Sharpen the Saw.  

This is the habit of constant renewal in 4 key dimensions: Spiritual, Physical, Mental, and Social/Emotional.  The concept of continuous learning and improvement fit nicely into Habit 7. 

How are you staying sharp and renewing yourself in these areas?  Are you out of balance?

5 Spain PNR Plays for Your Playbook

5 Spain PNR Plays for Your Playbook

The Spain PNR has been a popular topic with our clinics recently.  For those not familiar with the concept, the Spain PNR expands on the basic 2 man game by adding a third player (typically a good shooter) to screen the defender guarding the ball screener.  Its name comes from its use by the Spanish national team in recent years. A coach named Diccon Lloyd-Smith wrote an article years ago attributing the action to Coach Zeljiko Obradovic, currently at Fenerbahce. 

It’s a staple with teams across the world from the pro-level all the way to high school.

I remember watching the 2015 Eurobasket Finals with Spain and Lithuania.  Spain took control of the game in the first quarter with a set play action we now call Spain PNR.  I immediately scribbled the play down on my notepad and have been using this action ever since in my own playbook.

Of course, there are variations and adjustments coaches have made in the past few years to make this action effective for their teams.  The ability to run this action from baseline and sideline out of bounds enhances its effectiveness.

Play 1:  Spanish Pick and Roll from the head coach of the Spanish national team and assistant coach of the Toronto Raptors, Sergio Scariolo

Three Skills Every Guard Needs

Three Skills Every Guard Needs

When I say “guard” that includes the point guard, shooting guard and with the way

today’s game is going the small forward as well. Look at some of your favorite

players at the small forward position such as Kevin Durant, Paul George and Lebron

James. Each of these guys are at least 6’8 but have the same skill set as the guys who

are 6’2. The game has changed. Coaches want nearly every player on the court to be

equipped with these three skills, therefore if you play positions 1-3, this article is for


The three skills that are the most valuable to any perimeter player are ball handling,

shooting and defense. Many will argue maybe its passing or slashing or some other

popular skill that most perimeter guards have. What they fail to realize is these are

the skills that will get you on the court and if you can specialize in them it may even

earn you a paycheck one day.

Top 4 Pre-Season Basketball Drills

Top 4 Pre-Season Basketball Drills

The season is approaching and we hope our players have spent all summer getting better… but what have we done as coaches? If you had an undefeated season last year then congratulations, if not, we have some work to do. After surveying the top college coaches in the country, here are their top 4 pre-season basketball drills that will help you win more games this season.

Drill #1: Beat the Belt (Demonstrated HERE by Tom Izzo of Michigan State University)

This basketball drill is designed to help your players perfect their Help-Defense technique by defending the passing lane.

Setup: 3 players are on offense: One on the right wing with a ball, the other in the right corner also with a ball. The third offensive player is a little outside of the left block. Defender is in the middle of the key.

Execution: The offensive player on the left block must step into the key and sprint to the free-throw line to try and receive a pass from the right wing. The defender must deny him from receiving the pass and deflect it with his outside hand. As soon as the ball is deflected, the offensive player backdoors his defender to try and receive a pass at the rim from the corner passer. The defender has to deflect both the free-throw line pass and the corner pass at the basket to leave the drill.

Drill #2: Power Moves (Demonstrated HERE by former Incarnate Word University assistant coach Christian Mueller)

This basketball drill is designed to improve your post-player finishing technique, especially with contact.

Setup: Lineup post players on the baseline next to the short corner, each of them must have a ball. Have a coach in the middle of the key.

Execution: The player tosses the ball directly in front of them into the short corner and catches it landing on both feet. Have the post player make a strong pivot towards the basket and take one dribble into a lay-up. The coach should act as a help defender and make contact with the player as they attempt the lay-up. If the offensive player does not make the lay-up they must do 10 push-ups (Modify if Necessary).

Drill #3: Pick and Roll (In-Depth demonstration HERE by Hubie Brown 2-time NBA Coach of the Year)

This basketball drill will help your team understand the fundamentals of the Pick and Roll and be able to execute it flawlessly in the game.

Setup: 1 perimeter-player on each wing and 1 post-player on each block. You will need two coaches or players above the top of the 3-point line, each with 2 balls.

Execution: Coach will pass the ball to the perimeter player on his side. The post player on the strong block will come up and set a screen for the perimeter player to drive to the middle. The perimeter player must take two dribbles to the elbow and elevate for a shot. Once the perimeter player drives past the post-player, he must open up and relocate to the short corner for a pass from the coach for a Jumpshot.

Drill #4: Halfcourt Hussle (Demonstrated HERE by former Martin Methodist University head coach Jamy Bechler)

This basketball drill helps your team hustle and prepares your players to track down long distance rebounds.

Setup: Have a coach or player on a wing with a ball as a designated shooter. The rest of the team is lined up behind half court.

Execution: The coach shoots a 3-pointer and as the ball goes up, a player from half-court must chase down the rebound. Once the player retrieves the rebound they must make two layups as quickly as possible. The objective is to not let the ball hit the ground.

Start using these drills in practice today to put your team in the best position to win!

3 Plays From Zipper Actions To Create Open Looks

3 Plays From Zipper Actions To Create Open Looks

With the recent start of basketball in Europe, Francesco Nanni and the guys at Slappin' Glass did some breakdowns of the zipper actions used by coach Ettore Messina (which you can find on Twitter) .  A zipper action is a screen from a post to a guard, bringing them from the baseline to the top of the key.  It has been utilized in the NBA/Euroleague for years and trickled down to the college and high school levels.

Here are some of my favorite actions from the zipper to share with you.

1. Zipper Fist

Probably the most common zipper action is getting the ball to the top of the key and getting into a high pick and roll action.  There are a number of variations on this action.  Here the screener, #4, will replace to the top as 5 rolls to the basket.

Favorite Plays From Around The World: The Argentina Cross Screen Action

Favorite Plays From Around The World: The Argentina Cross Screen Action

In 2009, I had the opportunity to sit down with Eric Mussleman to talk about Horns actions for my DVD, Horns Offense.  During our conversation, he mentioned that while he was at Golden State that he had watched the Argentinian National Team and took their action off free throws to run.  He explained that teams need a quick hitting action that allows for quick scoring opportunities as well as 3 point shots.

So I went back and watched the 2004 Olympic Games as well as some other games and found this action.

Throwing A “Grenade” Into Your Offense!!

Throwing A “Grenade” Into Your Offense!!

Coaches and teams at all levels have been looking for additional ways to create actions that get 2 defenders on the ball.  While side ball screens, middle ball screens and DHO’s have been a normal part of the game, another offensive action is beginning to gain traction. 

During the NBA playoffs and the finals, teams were adding this new action as another option in their offensive attack.

Army assistant coach Zak Boisvert was the first person to refer to it as a “Grenade” action.  This action starts with a feed into the low post, then the post player dribbling the ball up toward the free throw line extended area for a hand off or can pass to a cutter coming around and catching on the wing, then screening on the ball.  

There are a variety of actions away from the ball that can be used to bring the cutter to the ball side wing area.

Check out this compilation prepared by Coach Boisvert on Grenade Actions.

More Zipper Plays From Around the World

More Zipper Plays From Around the World

If you missed the first set of plays, you can find them here→//coachtube.com/basketball/articles/3-plays-from-zipper-actions-to-create-open-looks">find them here→

3 Phases Coaches Are Studying

3 Phases Coaches Are Studying

One of the benefits of all the virtual clinics that have been going on is that you are able to build some relationships with other coaches (speakers as well as attendees) who can challenge your thinking and help you come up with additional ideas for your team both on and off the floor.  

I have been engaged in some 1-1 conversations with coaches when I am not hosting clinics and doing deep dives into a variety of subject areas.

Here are a couple of great ideas and plays I am studying that I wish I grasp earlier on in my career.

 Low Post Play

 I know that analytics may not be favorable to low post play but I remember Mike Dunlap once saying that “the team that plays closest to the basket wins”.  There was also something that Etttore Messina once said in a clinic about using the low post to flatten the defense and playing through the low post.

One way to do that would be to get the ball inside and run screening actions away from the ball.  Here is an example from BBall Breakdowns Coach Nick, talking about your basic split action for creating shots.



Born in Rochester, NY, Marcus Ginyard has had quite the ride throughout his basketball career. From playing on a star-studded AAU team in his teens to playing college ball with the UNC Tar Heels, one of America’s elite basketball powerhouses, Ginyard’s skills on the hardwood speak for themselves.

During his stay at North Carolina, Ginyard racked up a reel of honors thanks to his defensive prowess and was a member of the 2009 National Championship team. After going undrafted, Ginyard chose to take his talents overseas and play professionally in Germany, where he averaged 11 points a game with BBC Bayreuth.

For his second season, Marcus signed on with Ironi Nahariya in Israel and quickly excelled, averaging of 21 points and 7 rebounds a game. In his third season, he made it back up to a top division in the Polish Tauron Basket Liga, playing with Anwil Wloclawek. Marcus led his team to the semi-finals and once again was a double-digit scorer.

He later signed with BC Azovmash of the Ukrainian Superleague, averaging over 15 points a game and putting together yet another effective campaign in overseas hoops. He is now back in the states, playing for the Westchester Knicks of the NBA D-League.

Growing as a Player While playing in Chapel Hill, Marcus Ginyard was largely known as a defensive-stopper. He was a coach’s dream – willing to work hard, make the hustle plays, and devote his energy to neutralizing the opposition’s most dangerous scorer.

As his career has progressed, the rest of Ginyard’s game has gradually elevated to the level of his defensive prowess. Ginyard has become an effective, efficient scorer on the offensive end and has rounded himself out as a complete player.

Serving as a Role-Model In today’s world, most kids look up to their favorite athletes. While not all athletes embrace the responsibility of being a role model, Marcus Ginyard has chosen to make his life a positive example.

Along with his talents on the court, Marcus has been a consistent advocate for education and academics. While playing at UNC, despite the pressures and spotlight of a national championship victory, Marcus completed his bachelors degree in Communications.

He also hosts an annual basketball camp in Alexandria, VA designed to work on the fundamentals and provide a fun learning experience for kids.

Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Marcus and discussed various things about his basketball journey.

BO: Could you describe the role your older brother, Ronald, had in your growth as a player?

MG: My brother has played a very important role in my growth as a young player, and even now as a professional. He was an assistant coach at my high school for my last two years, which was a huge boost for me. It was a blessing to be coached by someone I had such a strong relationship with. It was much easier for me to take criticism and direction from someone I knew wanted the best for me. Even to this day, my brother works me out in the off-season.

BO: You played on an AAU team with guys like Ty Lawson and Roy Hibbert. How much importance do you think teen basketball players should put on playing in the AAU circuit based on your experience?

MG: My experience in AAU will be significantly different than the experience that young teens will have now. The atmosphere has changed drastically. For me, it was a very effective way to be surrounded with top players, and play against top competition. When I was coming up, the AAU circuit was one of the best ways to showcase your talents for the college coaches.

BO: After breaking your wrist before your freshman season at UNC, can you break down the rehab process that got you ready for the start of the season?

MG: I had surgery on my wrist in August of 2005 and was cleared for the first practice in October. My rehab process was very intense, but we had to be aggressive if I wanted to be available for all of my basketball activities. After placing a screw in my bone, there was no question about the strength of the bone, the only issue was my mobility and range of motion. The great thing about a hand injury is that I could still condition and keep myself in pretty decent shape. Throughout my injury, I continued to lift weights one handed.

BO: At UNC, you were coached by Roy Williams. As a lifelong Jayhawk fan, I know plenty about Coach Williams. What would you say separates him from other coaches in college basketball and how did he put you in the right place for success?

MG: I think what separates him the most is his passion for the game along with the passion for his players. He cares deeply about how his players progress as players and as people. His resume speaks for itself, but ask anyone about his or her time with Coach Williams, and everyone will have great things to say about his character. The game of basketball is such a great teacher for life, and Coach Williams always taught us how to approach our games and our lives with intensity, integrity and passion.

BO: Being a defensive stopper, is there any player currently in the NBA who you see resemblances from your game? Do you believe every team needs a guy that can go out and shut down (or at least throw them off their rhythm) a Kevin Durant or LeBron James?

MG: There are a few players that come to mind. Matt Barnes and Tony Allen come to mind first. I do believe every team needs a player that not only defends well, but takes a high level of pride in stopping their opponent.

BO: In a landscape mired by one-and-done’s, could you tell our readers how important it was for you to stay all four years and get a degree? Also, what would you tell younger guys that think about leaving early, despite the draft situation not being entirely clear, maybe like Aaron Harrison (Kentucky) or Christian Wood (UNLV) from this most recent draft?

MG: The one and done situation is a very difficult thing to navigate. I am extremely blessed to have completed my school and earned a degree from UNC. Getting an education was the top priority for me going into college. For the younger guys that are thinking about leaving early, I would say to find a very small team of trusted individuals to help make the decision. Those people are not the same for every player. For some players their families may take them in the wrong direction, for others they will keep them grounded. But in the industry of professional sports, there is only a small window of time that you can earn a living with your body being in its prime, which makes things a bit more complicated.

BO: How would you compare playing overseas versus in the United States?

MG: I have absolutely loved playing overseas. It’s an incredible opportunity to see the world, play a game you love, and earn a living at the same time. I’ve been lucky to play for some great organizations, and for enthusiastic and supportive fans in countries I had never been to. In the last 5 years, I have been able to travel to over 25 countries as a result of being a professional in Europe.

BO: Many players might be hesitant to play overseas due to the language barrier. Was this much of an issue for you during your various stops?

MG: This was a non-issue. It’s good to be out of your comfort zone.

BO: Lastly, you’re back in the States now playing with the Westchester Knicks of the D-League. What ultimately made you want to return and is playing in the NBA your ultimate goal for your basketball career?

MG: I am not currently playing for Westchester, but I did spend some time with them last season. At the time, the D League looked like a good option for me to play, and to be closer to an opportunity to break through into the NBA. My ultimate goal is to play at a high level. I am not fixated on the idea of playing in the NBA. Having a chance to play in the NBA would be a dream, but not playing in the NBA does not make my basketball career a failure.

I’d like to thank Marcus for participating in this interview and wish him the best in the future.

For more from Marcus, check out MarcusGinyard.com or follow him on Twitter @MG1NYARD

My Failure as a Coach

My Failure as a Coach

Have you ever had one of the moments where you witness the actions of a coach, and you say to yourself, “I will never do that!”?

That was me.

I coached with Mark Gottfried (former head coach Murray State, Alabama, and North Carolina State), and would to refer to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament as the “greatest show on earth.” I couldn’t agree more.

One of my most vivid up-close moments came while watching this “greatest show on earth” up close. But unfortunately, it did not.

I had not yet started my coaching career. I knew I wanted to be around the game. Knew I loved the game and wanted to make an impact on young men. What should have been a defining moment in how I would approach my job and the players I worked each day, but it did not.

I knew I wanted to be different as a coach. One the day of this event I knew if I coached I would be a better example. Better at encouraging. Better in the heat of the moment of not losing my cool. Better at seeing the big picture. Better at not letting losing a game affect me.

Why could I not apply what I saw and what I knew to make me a better coach? It was a lack of focus.

In the coaching profession, we can lose focus because of a variety of things. Our ambition, our desire to succeed, our desire to well thought of by others.

Hopefully, my faults can help another coach from making the same mistake. Once we lose focus, our flaws become even more exposed. That is what happened with me.

I failed to do the one thing I promised myself I would not do.

I failed at loving my players unconditionally.

What is unconditional love? To love unconditionally is not to put conditions on the relationship.

I saw up close on college basketball’s biggest stages what I didn’t want to be like but still fell into the trap.

Before I was able to coach at Murray State, The University of Alabama, and LSU and be a part of the “greatest show on earth” I would get in my car to watch the games. If an NCAA tournament was within driving distance, I was going to be there.

I was just out of college and had not started my coaching career when I took off to watch the tournament. The tournament is set up is there are two games in the afternoon and two games in the evening. What a way to spend the day! For a basketball fan or coach, this is like the perfect day.

Each day and each game has many storylines. Of all the great games and players I have seen one moment stands out above all the rest. It was during the evening session and game featured one highly ranked team against a lower seeded team. The lower seed kept the game, entertaining by staying close. Late in the game they took the lead. It looked like they may pull the upset.

As the clock wound down, it felt like the favored team would win. The star player from the higher seeded team and future first-round draft got the ball in fantastic position near the basket. His team down by one point.

No one could guard him or match up with him. As he took the shot, it looked like it was going to go straight through the net. It just missed by bouncing off the rim and falling off to the side.

The buzzer sound and the game was over. A big upset.  Everyone’s attention was on the winning team and their celebration.

For some reason, I kept my eyes on the star player. He was bending over right there in the middle of the floor.  When you realize your season is over it hurts. When you realize your career is over it hurts more. To miss the shot that ended your career has to be unimaginable.

He knew his college career was over.

He would never wear those colors or uniform again. He was out there on the floor all alone. With his head in his jersey, you could almost feel his pain.

I was intently watching his coach walk across the floor. I wanted to see how he would react. The coach looked back and saw his player; he glanced at him and with a look showing no sympathy kept walking.

I still can see that look.

I understand how upset the coach was to lose the game. His team should have won easily.

They say a picture paints a thousand of words. The image portrayed a thousand words,  Both from the perspective of the player and the coach.

In those few seconds, you could tell a story. The coaches look said so much. It was part disgust, part indifference to the kid, part shock at the loss. For the player, he could have been injured on the last play he could have been trying to get sympathy, or he could have been embarrassed his team lost to an inferior team. A lot happened in those few seconds. A lot happened in one image.

Life is like the game. A lot can happen in a few seconds. My wife will tell you the true colors will come out in situations like the one I just described. As a coach, if I was in the same position I am not sure how I would have reacted. It may be easy to say you would have come over and hugged the player. I watch a lot of coaches and cringe when I hear what they say to kids or how they react.

The losing coach would now have to face the media, then the alumni. No one was going to be happy about the outcome. The coach is the one getting the blame in losses like this. Coaches understand what comes with the job description.

I understand the emotions from both the player and the coach. Most likely the relationship had been through a lot of highs and lows.  The coache=player relationship was had been going on for at least five years and maybe longer.

The recruiting process started long ago while the young man was in high school. The player was an incredible player and had an outstanding career.

Now, in an instant, it is over.

Unfortunately, the coach might be like a lot of us in how he reacted in that one moment. Maybe we treat our players the same way. You do well for us, and we will like you. You don’t deliver, and we will be disappointed.

The impression continues to stay with me. I see the young man and bending over on the court.

Maybe he never knew his coach left him out there on the floor. To him, since his head was down he may have never known his coach looked directly at him saw the emotional pain and walked away.

Maybe it wasn’t a big deal to him, but to most unconditional love is a big deal. At that moment the player-coach relationship came down to the missed shot and the lost game.

It was “what can you do for me?” Not trying to place blame on the coach, but it was a sad picture. It showed the relationship based on conditions.

How can you change? Here are three steps.

1. Show it those who are closest to you and know you best.

My children need to know  I will love them no matter what, not just because they clean their room, not because they make good grades, and not because they do their jobs on time. They have to know deep down I will love them no matter what they do. They will mess up, and we will have our struggles. They know whatever happens, even if I am mad or my wife is upset at their actions, we still love them.

2. Show it to your team and how you coach

My players need to understand  I love them and want them all to do well. They need to know there will be rules, but if they mess up, I will still love them. I do not love them more for winning than losing. I do not love them more for having a good practice than having a bad practice. There is not more love if they make the winning shot or miss the last second shot.

3. Stop attaching conditions in your relationships

There are no strings attached in unconditional love. The love is pure. When you begin to accept people for who they are and not what they can do for you, it makes your relationships stronger.

If you have unconditional love and begin to have patience with others, you will see your stress decrease dramatically. We only add to the problems in our own life by having high expectations of others. Then not accepting them if they don’t meet those high expectations.

After practice, this coach pointed at one of my players and said, ”I could never coach that young man.” I knew what he meant.

He didn’t need to say more.

The young man may have been a little rough around the edges. May have had a disposition that could turn others off. Looked like he had bad attitude. He thought of himself first before the team.

All those assumptions were probably correct.

Just a few years earlier I would have “never wanted to coach that young man” myself. Yes, he may not have been the most coachable at times.

But here is what I knew. I knew the young man's heart. I knew what he had been through in his life because I got to know his story.

Sure, in the past I knew the stories of most of my players but didn’t dig any further than that.

This young man changed how I coached. Why it took almost 25 years into my career, I don’t know.

As I heard the comment, “I could never coach that young man” I thought to myself, I have no choice. If I don’t coach him who will?

I was motivated to start accepting kids for who they were and not what I wanted them to be. So somehow a young man I would have kicked off the team the first week of practice in most situations we made it four years together.

Of all the positive things that have happened in my career, this one was maybe the one that made me the proudest. I have a photo of the two of us after his graduation. No doubt it is one of my favorite photos.

I have found nothing is as freeing for young athletes than being accepted they way they are. Our job as coaches is to meet them where they are and not where we think they should be. As difficult it may be as a coach treating them with unconditional love will make a tremendous impact on those you coach.

I think of the image I saw before I started coaching and why did it take so long to sink in.

That is the coach I no longer want to be.

I think about the players who will disappoint us in the future and how we can love them anyway.

That is the coach I hope to be.

I think of the coaches who can see past the imperfections and look at the bigger picture and the impact they have on their players.

That is the coach I want to be.

How can I improve as a coach?

How can I improve as a coach?

The coaching profession has always been intriguing to me. Coaching is different than other occupations because there is not an exact playbook. Nothing on what to study in college, how much education is needed, what to look for in a first job, what level or if there is a need to specialize in a particular area.

During my career, I have been able to have different roles and different levels. From the NBA to the NCAA, women’s professional basketball, the NAIA and high school and middle school. From across the world to across the country.

What I have learned is there is no set path and no set step 1, 2, 3 for coaches to follow. What I also learned early in my career was to seek out and get advice from other coaches. I became a head coach in college at the age of 26. There was no internet, no social media, no online training.

I was on a quest to find out How can I improve as a coach?

I had to figure it out. I asked questions. A lot of questions. I started to pick as many brains as possible to get as much information as possible. From academics to marketing, to running a camp, to communication skills, to how to beat a press, how to attack a trapping zone, to what to do late in the game. I asked coaches and others involved in the game of what does it take for a coach to advance in the profession.

Now, later in my career I still ask a lot of questions. But my goal is different now. I want to find out not only for myself, but for other coaches as well.  

How can I help a younger coach, a frustrated coach, someone looking to making a career change into coaching or a veteran coach like me who just wants to learn?

Recently I asked individuals I knew who were either in the profession or had been in the business for input. Here is what I asked them

“If you were to give advice what would you tell a young coach about how to advance in the coaching profession?”ession?”

This advice could be how to prepare for the next job or how to improve in their craft to be the very best where they are right now.

Take the advice from coaches who have been there. They say experience is the best teacher. Not always true. You can use someone else's experience to help make your path more smooth. If you can avoid pitfalls and wrong steps why not take the advice of someone who has already walked the path?

Enjoy the input from those from all levels and all roles across the country.

“Communicate, be confident, prepared and precise. Players will see a lack of confidence and preparation as uncertainty. Therefore they will not trust you. Tell them your plan and the time in which you will work. Players work harder when they know the beginning time and most importantly the ending time.  

I keep a quote in the back of my mind from Bear Bryant: "I cannot treat all players the same, but I can treat them all fairly."  No one is above the team. Every player will have responsibilities, some more than others. Those that have more are required to do more. It is important that this is communicated. It is very important to listen to your players, be willing to learn from them and implement their thoughts.

If a coach is a former player, it is important not to compare players to himself or his playing days. Players resent comparisons and the coach will become frustrated.”

Keith Askins

Miami Heat

Director of College and Pro Scouting/Assistant General Manager

“I’m a pretty good story when it comes to this topic…   I didn’t play college basketball and was a self-starter in the business.

1.      Network, Network, Network…  with the right guys.  Drop notes in the mail, best way.  Texts are so impersonal.

2.      Work hard. People will see your hard work and appreciate it

3.      Be humble. You may have to sweep the floor, I still do that’s ok.

4.      Get coaching experience no matter the level.  I was an assistant HS coach when in college

5.      Get your Master’s degree so that you can apply for all jobs, no limitations on your degree.

6.      Work the camp circuit.  Camps are a great way to meet coaches in a comfortable environment.

7.      Don’t worry about the money … only a very few make the millions.

8.      Attend Clinics and learn as much as you can.

9.      Be willing to relocate…”

Joe Esposito

University of Memphis

Assistant Basketball Coach

“Best advice I was ever given -

"Make yourself invaluable to the person you work for."

"Be able to do or handle things in every part of a program, so you always have a job regardless of the level."

"Don't wait or ask for a coach to tell you why to do. Bring ideas to them and seek them out."

Steve Prohm

Iowa State

Head Coach

“Young coaches should expose themselves in as many basketball activities as possible and develop a network of friends and associates that will promote you to others.  One of the best ways to position yourself to college coaches is working their summer camp.  Great camp workers impress coaches and are hired more frequently because of it.  Go visit with coaches in the summer and talk X's and O's.  Start your own coaching clinic.  It doesn't matter how small, it shows initiative and giving back to the game.  Run your own summer basketball camps, which displays leadership and organization.  Make the rounds at HS State tournaments, SEC tournament, Final Four, AAU tournaments, etc.  If you want opportunities to present, themselves get out there and meet people and show them what a Stud you are.”

Joe Dean

Birmingham Southern

Athletic Director

“Imagine a house. First is your foundation… and that starts with your passion. Your passion NEEDS to be for helping young men/women grow as a person. It all stems from that. If that is not the reason you are coaching, then your run in this business will be short. It may be good (or even great) for a few years, but it will never be prolonged. If your passion stems from helping young people grow and to become the best version of themselves, you have a fighting chance to be in this for the long-run. If that is the foundation, everything else is built from there.

The walls of the house are the answers to the following questions: 1) Do you have a passion and love for the game of basketball? 2) Are you able to be great teachers (and listener) to individuals, not just a collective whole? 3) Are you willing to sacrifice? 4) Are you a moral and ethical person? Those four questions will determine how sturdy the walls of your house are. If you have a passion for the game of basketball, you will immerse yourself in studying the in’s and out’s of the game from coaches at all levels and you will embrace studying tape of games, opponents, workouts, etc. That will drive your knowledge of the game, which will make you a better teacher of the game. Being able to dissect tiny bits of information on the fly to help teach the game to an individual and not just what is “suppose” to be said. Each player will hear your message differently based on their IQ, your tone, your temper, your distance, their fatigue, their mood, etc. Can you accurately communicate (verbally and nonverbally) and teach them so that they can learn?

Moreover, you need to sacrifice. You can’t just rise to the top of the coaching ranks without having to sacrifice quite a bit. Sometimes it’s time, money, relationships, distance, different opportunities, etc. What are you willing to sacrifice? Sometimes you will have to draw a line for family and your career, but when will that happen? Figure out what you are willing to give up to maybe make it in this coaching business?

Finally, none of it will matter if you don’t have morals or ethics. Your walls will crash to the ground faster than you can get out from under it and you will be crushed, along with the people surrounding you. It’s not just knowing right from wrong, but acting on right vs. wrong. Doing what’s right and that’s often hard to not do when the glamour or fame tempts you otherwise.

Last, but not least, every house needs a roof over their head. Your roof is your mentors. Who is willing to take you under their wing and advise you and keep you safe & warm until you are ready to leave the house? Who is willing to protect you from some bad storms and do their best to make sure you have what you need (IQ, advice, experience, etc.) to be the best version of yourself (like you do for others)?”

Andrew Farrell

Southeast Missouri State University

Assistant Coach

Rising Coaches Elite Founder

“First piece of advice comes from our friend and mentor Coach Meyer, and that advice is too "suck scum." In other words, be willing to do anything and everything in your current job to make yourself invaluable and seemingly irreplaceable.  Too many young coaches (and even seasoned coaches) spend so much time working on their next job that they don't do their current job well. "Own" your current job and your reputation will open other doors.

Second, it is important to network. The more people you network with, the more opportunities that will come your way. Regarding networking, be open-minded and willing to meet, get to know, and stay in touch with all.  I was once told a story that Rick Callahan, who was at the time a manager at NAIA Salem College worked Jim Boeheim's camp at Syracuse where he met and become friends with North Carolina's third assistant Eddie Fogler. Later, when Fogler took the head coaching job at Wichita State, he hired Callahan as an assistant coach -- from NAIA manager to Division I assistant. Callahan followed Fogler to Vanderbilt and South Carolina becoming Fogler's Associate Head Coach.

Regarding networking, I'm also a big believer in note writing -- something I learned from the late Stu Aberdeen. While email is effective, a handwritten note still goes a long way.

Third, have a social media plan. Social media is a way of creating your brand. Those serious in rising in the profession should invest time and even some money to meet with specialists and map out plan. Social media is not something to take lightly and a poor tweet or Facebook post and cost you a job down the road. Everything from your content to who you follow speaks volumes about who you are and what you stand for and more and more athletic departments will research this in the vetting process.

Fourth, avoid being a specialist coach -- aka. "Recruiting Coordinator," "Post Coach," etc.  be well versed in all phases of the game. Being a specialist will limit your opportunities.

For those at the high school, don't get all caught up on being a DI coach. There are great jobs and head coaches on the NAIA, DII and DIII level. These are great places to learn and develop your craft.

Finally, you must be a continual learner. Always look to grow your knowledge. Attending clinics is a great to expand your knowledge and make contacts at the same time. Visit with other coaches, attend their practices.”

Bob Starkey

Texas A&M

Assistant Coach

“Be the first coach to the office and last coach to leave.  Never let the head coach beat you in or you leave before he does!

Your job is to take care of everything for your boss and take it off his plate - do things before he asks you to get them done so when he asks you can say already taken care of!  Be a self-starter

Loyalty to the head coach you work for is the most important thing - he hired you!  You want the same respect when you become a head coach!

Spend all your time making the program you work for better - not working to get the next job - it always catches up with those guys!

Don't negative recruit - coaches that have to talk bad about other programs obviously have nothing to brag about on their own!

Get to know people on campus outside athletics - custodians, housing, cafeteria, admissions, campus police, business office, student life - they will help make your life easier and can get things done quickly for you if you treat them right!

You can't have a MILLION DOLLAR dream on a MINIMUM WAGE work ethic.”

Jeff Moore

Northwestern State University

Assistant Coach

“Go to as many coach related things as possible. Take your wife when you can, because she needs to be a solution, not another problem. Take notes, ask questions and enjoy the fellowship of the people you meet. It doesn't last long.”

Larry Bagley

Retired High School and College Coach

Current Louisiana State Representative

“Be around good people and be the best you can where you are. You are most likely to get your first job from someone you have worked with so you are really interviewing every day. Every job I've gotten is due to a tie from my time at Clemson at my very first job.”

Will Wade


Head Coach

“Pick a successful coach and program from a different sport (and different school) and study them..effective leadership and ability to manage a program is critical”

Brian Ayers

Belmont University

Assistant Coach

“First, make yourself irreplaceable in the current role.  Be someone who can get things done.  Second, have a passion for recruiting.  Third, network up, sideways, and down.  Up to where you want to be, sideways with people in the same situation, and down to others.  Lastly, be a great person who has a positive attitude and would never hurt the program with off the court issues."

Erik Konkol

Louisiana Tech

Head Coach

“I think the number one piece of advice I would give them is to develop a skill set or a specific skill that can allow them to add value to staff immediately.  Whether that's being good with video, operations, player development, scouting, being knowledgeable about recruiting and knowing players, photo shop, social media/marketing, etc.  Some are going to have more experience/knowledge in these areas than others but if they want to

A) gain entry into the profession

B) last and advance in the profession... Then focus on acquiring and developing skills that can help you be a difference maker for a program.

To truly do, so you must have an insatiable work ethic, a keen attention to detail and a desire for continual improvement/learning.

And the last thing I would say is...  Be loyal to your head coach.  Serve and support his vision. "

Bryan Tibaldi


Assistant Coach

You see there is no blueprint in the coaching profession. But there are a lot of ways to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

Maybe you want another role in the profession, or to coach at another level, or you just want to maximize your ability. Hopefully, the advice here can help you in those areas.

If you would like to see other questions asked to coaches who have been there before or any other topic, please email me at coachkelsey@coachtube.com.

3 Reasons Steph Curry Has Separated Himself in the NBA

3 Reasons Steph Curry Has Separated Himself in the NBA

The player who stands before us today holding two consecutive NBA MVP trophies and leading his team to this years NBA Finals was not always this popular. Unlike his multi-sport father drafted twice by the MLB only to turn them down and have a 16-year NBA career, his son had to fight for his title. He was an average high school player; he went to a mid-major university and was counted out as soon as he got to the league. At each phase of his basketball career Stephen Curry was doubted, but still found a way to outlast his peers.

Here are the 3 reasons that have separated Stephen Curry from the rest of the NBA.

Plethora of Shots

Shooting is the most valuable skill any individual player can have.

If you can put the ball in the basket at a high percentage, there is always a team for you; however the problem most of these shooters have is they specialize in only one aspect of shooting.

Whether that is a spot on the floor, off the pass or off the dribble they usually do one maybe two at a high level and the rest suffer.

Stephen Curry is not like most shooters. He can come off screens, isolate a defender, step back, one leg, two legs, off balance, on balance, wide open and (even with a man in his face) shoot at a high level. This is unconventional in many ways and coaches would rarely give a player the freedom to shoot the ball from a multitude of angles but once again Stephen isn’t just any player.

He worked to develop a shooting ability that is unparalleled. Many fans would agree Stephen has never come across a shot that he didn’t like, but it’s very hard to argue with a man that makes nearly 45% of everything he shoots.

Ball Handling Ability

Every team has to plan for the best shooter on the opposing team. That can include crowding him with the best defender, running a box and one or even double-teaming him wherever he goes.

Stephen Curry has faced every defense known to man when it comes to defending a shooter and has found a way to still succeed.

But being just a pure shooter at 6-3 has its limitations when considering a career in the NBA. He had to develop another skill to make up for the lack of size and it had to be one that could get him where he wanted on the floor without the need of a screen or dribble penetration by a teammate.

Spending his entire life on the court crowded by defenders, the skill that would be most valuable to him was ball handling (Check out our free ballhandling course from Koran Godwin).in). If a player can shoot from every spot on the court as well as break down the defense when he puts it on floor, how do you stop them? The answer is you don’t.

Stephen Curry has some of the best ball handling skills in the league giving him the ability to create the slight space he needs to get a shot off whenever he needs to.

Underdog Complex

With all of the skills that Stephen Curry has developed there has been one external factor that has remained constant. He has always been considered an underdog.

In high school he was a three star recruit with boyish looks and a small frame. Having to accept a scholarship to a mid-major school in his home state of North Carolina he used that motivation to excel at Davidson University. Stephen averaged nearly 22ppg as a freshman and didn’t stop till he averaged 28.5ppg as a junior before entering his name into the draft.

Even after showing all of the high-major schools what they missed out on and dominating the competition, the NBA still had the audacity to doubt his talents once again.

Selecting three other college guards ahead of him, Curry once again had more motivation to prove himself on the biggest stage. Improving every off-season to silence the critics, he outlasted the guards in his draft class and began to dominate the competition. Setting records and appearing in all-star games, he turned all of his doubters into fans after winning the 2015 NBA Championship. His legendary workouts have been captured on film. Check him out here and the story of him hitting 77 three pointers in a row in practice.

The ultimate award for someone who had been analyzed and critiqued his whole life has now been recognized as the most valuable player in the world twice. The mind frame to go from a mediocre high-school player to an undersized college star and then become the best in the NBA is unheard of. It can only be categorized as the Underdog Complex, an intrinsic motivation created by external factors leading to extraordinary results.

It goes without saying Stephen Curry is a one of a kind athlete that doesn’t come along very often. However, just like all great players, there have been factors contributing to his success others can adopt for themselves.

He wasn’t a high school draft pick or born so tall he had to duck through doorways. Stephen Curry had the work ethic and determination to surpass whoever was put in front of him, and that is something we can all learn from.



The player who stands before us today holding two consecutive NBA MVP trophies and leading his team to this years NBA Finals was not always this popular. Unlike his multi-sport father drafted twice by the MLB only to turn them down and have a 16-year NBA career, his son had to fight for his title. He was an average high school player; he went to a mid-major university and was counted out as soon as he got to the league. At each phase of his basketball career Stephen Curry was doubted, but still found a way to outlast his peers.

Here are the 3 reasons that have separated Stephen Curry from the rest of the NBA.

Plethora of Shots

Shooting is the most valuable skill any individual player can have.

If you can put the ball in the basket at a high percentage, there is always a team for you; however the problem most of these shooters have is they specialize in only one aspect of shooting.

Whether that is a spot on the floor, off the pass or off the dribble they usually do one maybe two at a high level and the rest suffer.

Stephen Curry is not like most shooters. He can come off screens, isolate a defender, step back, one leg, two legs, off balance, on balance, wide open and (even with a man in his face) shoot at a high level. This is unconventional in many ways and coaches would rarely give a player the freedom to shoot the ball from a multitude of angles but once again Stephen isn’t just any player.

He worked to develop a shooting ability that is unparalleled. Many fans would agree Stephen has never come across a shot that he didn’t like, but it’s very hard to argue with a man that makes nearly 45% of everything he shoots.

Ball Handling Ability

Every team has to plan for the best shooter on the opposing team. That can include crowding him with the best defender, running a box and one or even double-teaming him wherever he goes.

Stephen Curry has faced every defense known to man when it comes to defending a shooter and has found a way to still succeed.

But being just a pure shooter at 6-3 has its limitations when considering a career in the NBA. He had to develop another skill to make up for the lack of size and it had to be one that could get him where he wanted on the floor without the need of a screen or dribble penetration by a teammate.

Spending his entire life on the court crowded by defenders, the skill that would be most valuable to him was ball handling (Check out our free ballhandling course from Koran Godwin.) If a player can shoot from every spot on the court as well as break down the defense when he puts it on floor, how do you stop them? The answer is you don’t.

Stephen Curry has some of the best ball handling skills in the league giving him the ability to create the slight space he needs to get a shot off whenever he needs to.

Underdog Complex

With all of the skills that Stephen Curry has developed there has been one external factor that has remained constant. He has always been considered an underdog.

In high school he was a three star recruit with boyish looks and a small frame. Having to accept a scholarship to a mid-major school in his home state of North Carolina he used that motivation to excel at Davidson University. Stephen averaged nearly 22ppg as a freshman and didn’t stop till he averaged 28.5ppg as a junior before entering his name into the draft.

Even after showing all of the high-major schools what they missed out on and dominating the competition, the NBA still had the audacity to doubt his talents once again.

Selecting three other college guards ahead of him, Curry once again had more motivation to prove himself on the biggest stage. Improving every off-season to silence the critics, he outlasted the guards in his draft class and began to dominate the competition. Setting records and appearing in all-star games, he turned all of his doubters into fans after winning the 2015 NBA Championship. His legendary workouts have been captured on film. Check him out here and the story of him hitting 77 three pointers in a row in practice.

The ultimate award for someone who had been analyzed and critiqued his whole life has now been recognized as the most valuable player in the world twice. The mind frame to go from a mediocre high-school player to an undersized college star and then become the best in the NBA is unheard of. It can only be categorized as the Underdog Complex, an intrinsic motivation created by external factors leading to extraordinary results.

It goes without saying Stephen Curry is a one of a kind athlete that doesn’t come along very often. However, just like all great players, there have been factors contributing to his success others can adopt for themselves.

He wasn’t a high school draft pick or born so tall he had to duck through doorways. Stephen Curry had the work ethic and determination to surpass whoever was put in front of him, and that is something we can all learn from.

This article contributed by Coachtube writer Derek Brown. Derek is a former collegiate basketball player, basketball trainer, and huge fan of the NBA and skill development.

4 Basketball Offenses You Need to Start Running

4 Basketball Offenses You Need to Start Running

The defense can come at you in a million different ways. There are zones (1-2-2, 1-3-1, 2-3 etc.), man (full-court, half-court), traps (amoeba, ¾ court, corner trap etc.) and everything inbetween. The question you need to answer, is your team ready for them? To give you a head start, I have outlined 4 different basketball offenses you can implement today to capitalize on anything the defense may throw at you.

Offense #1: Greece - International Pick & Roll Set

This basketball offense is a Pick & Roll continuous action that is great for scoring on man-to-man defenses.

Setup: Four out and one in set with the PG and PF at the top. The SG is on the PF side and the SF is on the PG side. Hint: The SG should be on his weak hand side! The post player is on the strong side block with the SF and PG.

Execution: The PG starts with the ball as the PF sets a down screen for the SG at the wing. As this action is happening, the SF will set a quick screen for the post player. The SG should be receiving the ball from the PG at the same time the post player is coming off the screen from the SF. When the SG received the ball, the post player sprints to the top of the key to set a pick & roll while the PG fades to the wing.

Offense #2: Middle - Zone Offense

This basketball offense works best against a zone especially a 2-3 or matchup zone defense.

Setup: Two guard front with the PG and SG, the SF is on the strong side in between the corner and the wing outside of the 3-point line. The post players start on each block.

Execution: The PG enters the ball to the wing, the SF receives the pass, faces the basket and then passes back to the PG. As the ball is coming back to the PG, the strong side big man sets a screen on the PG defender allowing the PG to penetrate to the middle. As the PG is penetrating, the SG fades to the wing and the weak side post player gets position in the middle of the key. The PG can attack the rim, enter it into the post or kick out to the SG for a shot.

Offense #3: Spartan - Michigan State Horns Set for Shooters

This basketball offense is designed to get your best shooters open for a 3!

Setup: Horns Set with the PG at the top, post players on each elbow and perimeter players close to the corner behind the three. The PF and SG should be on the same side with the Center and SF on the opposite.

Execution: The PG enters the ball to the Center above the elbow as the SF cuts from the corner to the opposite block. The PG steps down to the free throw line setting a brush screen for the PF to rub off and dive to the strong side block. PG steps back to the three-point line and receives the ball back from the Center if the PF is not open. Once the PG receives the ball back, the SG steps up to the wing and then dives down to receive a staggered triple screen from the SF, PF and Center for a shot on the opposite wing.

Offense #4: Box Zipper Action - Post Player Quick Hitter

This basketball offense is a quick hitter designed to free your post players up to get a quick basket.

Setup: Box set with the PG at the top, Center and PF on the elbows, and perimeter players on the blocks. Center and SG should be on the same side; SF and PF should be on the opposite.

Execution: The PG is going to dribble-enter to the SF/PF side. When the PG reaches the wing, the SF sets an up-screen for the PF to free him up at the block. If the PF is not open, the PG swings it to the SF. When the ball reaches the SF, the Center sets a down-screen for the SG to be open at the wing. The Center may be open for a slip to the rim, if not, the SF swings the ball to the SG for a shot or a pass down low for Center.

Now you are equipped with basketball offenses that can score on a zone, man, for a shooter or a big man!

How to Get the Most Out of Your Team Practice

How to Get the Most Out of Your Team Practice

We ask our players to give their best effort every single day they walk on the court, field or track. We say things like, "If you aren’t going to give me your best today, then don’t come at all", or "When you step inside these lines it is go time, leave everything else going on in your life outside." Constantly reminding them to be prepared to get better in practice, but as a coach, are you orchestrating the team to get the most out of the day as well?

To obtain the excellence you demand, there must be a system in place that helps your athletes succeed. Without the right system it is like demanding greatness from a powerlifter, but only training them with elastic bands and yoga balls. It won’t work. Your team may work hard, but it is up to you to train them smart. Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your team practices.


At some level, every player in their respective sport has a love for competition. It is the driving force that takes them to the next level, and the characteristic we all want to see in our players. You can have them do all of the drills you see in instructional sports videos during the offseason, but team practice is when you fuel that competitive fire.

They work on individual drills to develop their skills regularly, but practice is the only time where the competition of a game can be simulated. It could be as simple as one on one defensive back drills, competitive ball security drills or full blown scrimmaging. Whatever the drill may be, the more you include competition, the more your players will be fully engaged in practice.

Adding more competition gives both the players and coaches a long list of benefits. Players can see how much their individual skill work has improved as well as gain confidence in practice from game-like situations.

As a coach, you can assess the skill-set each player brings to the team and the toughness they will exhibit in the games. We have all heard of the “practice player”, the kid who wins every basketball shooting contest, but as soon as the game starts they disappear. That has a lot to do with the psychology of the player, but the constant simulation of a real game can help them break through the mental barrier tremendously.

Practice without competition is not only boring for your players, but it lacks the one key substance every player and coach thrives off of. Add more competition to practice and you will see a greater sense of urgency, focus and drive amongst your players.

Switch It Up

If you plan to do the same drills, every practice, every day, then you are cheating your players out of getting better. Repetition is key for skill development, remembering plays and understanding the game as a whole. Yes, I agree. However, coming into a practice with the same setup as the day before will become extremely monotonous to your players.

The last thing you want is for your players to lose concentration and begin to “go through the motions”. At some point, they will learn the practice schedule and exploit it because they are not being challenged.

In every sport, there are a plethora of drills, practice schemes, competitions and techniques to choose from. Why not switch it up? Keep your players on their toes and ready to perform for you day in and day out.

As a coach, we like to stick to our philosophies and what we feel works best. That should not keep you from being able to develop practices that fit the same ideals, but with a unique structure.

It is similar to having our players walk into a classroom every day, with the same lesson plan, same structure, and the same practice exam, but expecting them to perform differently on the test. Not going to happen!

Get creative and use your expertise to continue to challenge your players in unique ways. Keep your philosophy but bring it to them with different points of view; you never know which player you might get through to that day.

Build Chemistry

Sorry coach, as much as you want to, you can’t compete for your players. When your team is in the game, it is on their shoulders to work together and come back with the win. Practice is the best time to build that team chemistry.

First, you must develop the camaraderie and build the trust. Put your team through drills that require them to work together to succeed. These drills can be in practice, but can also be incorporated into the weight room, on the track or with team bonding events. It doesn’t matter where these activities take place as long as a strong foundation is established.

Once they have the trust, it is your job to test it. Put them in situations that might arise during the game and see how each player reacts. Do they come together? Do they start to point fingers? Who is the leader?

In team sports, it is crucial to understand the identity of your team and which players will be an extension of you during the game. Building the chemistry and testing it during practice will be your greatest indicator.


Team practice is crucial for your success in pre-season training as well as during the season. The teams who are efficient and can obtain the most benefit from every workout are often the ones who remain on top. Use competition, creativity and trust building drills as much as possible to secure your spot with the best of them.




As a college basketball coach for nearly 20 years, I had many experiences that I was proud of. But, I also made my share of mistakes, especially early in my career. Now that I have left coaching to work with teams as a leadership trainer and consultant, I look back on my career and offer up five things that I wish I knew when I first started out in coaching.

1. Dead Right

One day in high school, I was walking down the sidewalk with my mother.  We needed to cross the street.  Instead of going to the intersection and crossing at the crosswalk, I decided to do it sooner since I figured I could make it before the next car went by.  My mother grabbed my arm and pulled me back. “What are you doing?  There are cars coming”, said my mother. “Don’t worry mom”, I replied confidently.  “Pedestrians have the right of way”. “Yeah and you’ll be DEAD RIGHT”, she retorted.  This is a common problem among coaches. We are infinitely smarter than our players. We are right more than we are wrong, except that if we are right but our players don’t respond then what is the good in being right. Our job as coaches is to take our players from where they are now to where they want to be. Our job is to help the team maximize its’ potential. Our job is not to be right. It doesn’t matter who is right. What matters is whether your players respond to you and you are able to connect with them in a way that motivates them to be successful.

2. Train all your players and coaches

Early on I did what most coaches did and that I only did leadership training (if at all) with my captains. These sessions were even voluntary for my assistant coaches. This meant that we weren’t training future leaders and our staff wasn’t always on the same page.  In reality, a basketball team is only going to have 2-3 captains. That means that there are more players that aren’t trained to be leaders on any given teams. This creates a situation that is both dangerous for the future and can cause many issues on your current team since your players will not know how to be leaders when they are away from the coach or the captains. Training everyone helps develop more ownership and creates a culture of accountability whether your players are in the locker room, in the back of the bus or in the cafeteria.

3. Enjoy It

Getting the opportunity to work in athletics is a blessing. I met so many people that thought I had the coolest job because I was a coach. I often took my occupation for granted. I was consumed with winning and excellence. Though admirable and important, those outcomes did not allow me to enjoy my job, life, and experiences like I should have. Now that I am no longer coaching, I see how I squandered some of these opportunities. I didn’t appreciate what I had as a coach. We only have one life to live. Being in athletics is cool. Enjoy the ride.

4. Dig your well before you’re thirsty

Develop and nurture relationships with key people, not just in the coaching profession but with individuals in the community and at your school. Do this with no strings attached. Add value to others without expecting something in return. One day you might need them, though. When this day comes, it will be too late to develop a connection with them. Build up goodwill and trust with these people. At worst, if you never need them, then you have a strong friendship with someone new. This doesn’t just apply to people with high status such as the District Attorney, Dean of Students, Mayor or head of the Chamber of Commerce. Some of the most important people are the I.T. people, custodians, maintenance people or cafeteria workers at your school. Treat everyone like they are special because they are. Coaches are notorious for being demanding and having a sense of entitlement. Free tickets to a game, inviting someone to come grab some food in the hospitality room after a game, free t-shirts, etc… are just a couple of ways that you can make someone’s day. If the only time a person hears from you is when you need something then you are doing it wrong.

5. Invest in people

I went to clinics. I read books and articles. I watched instructional videos. I knew my X’s and O’s but I didn’t focus on the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s until much later in my career. We are in the people business. We develop and impact people through athletics. X’s and O’s are just a tool. Nearly every coach begins coaching because they want to help kids. They want to have a positive influence and impact on the world around them. Most coaches had a coach that played a big part in shaping their life. Remembering the “why” is crucial but it is often forgotten about during the course of a season. Unfortunately, we start to focus more on the “how” and strategy of coaching. The more you focus on the process and the “why” you coach, then the more that the “how” will take care of itself. If your players believe that you care about them and can help them accomplish their goals then they will be more likely to play hard for you. You want players to play hard, run the right plays and be committed, then give them a reason. They have to trust that you have their best interest in mind.

Jamy Bechler is a former college basketball coach and championship high school athletic director.  He is also a John Maxwell Certified Leadership Speaker and Coach.  Contact him at CoachBechler@CoachBechler.com and visit d visit CoachBechler.com to find out how you or your team can be more successful. your team can be more successful.

Communication Between Coaches and Players

Communication Between Coaches and Players

The coach and player dynamic is something that is always going to be a part of sports. Both parties have designated responsibilities that they must do to have success. The coach has a couple of responsibilities. One is to continue to learn and grow, and the second is to use that knowledge to prepare their players and to give them the best possibility of winning. The player's job is to execute the game plan and compete as hard as they can. Obviously, this is the ideal situation between player and coach, but how do you get to this? 

A big part of the process is communication. If the coach does not communicate with the players the game plan or isn’t consistently being involved with players on a daily basis, there is no way that the players are going to be at their best. Here are three ways that coaches and players should open up lines of communication between each other.

Team Group Communication

There are only so many minutes, and if the coach has to explain or go over a team strategy multiple times, it just wastes time. Make sure that when you are talking all eyes and ears are on you. Whether it takes running or some other form of consequence, you need to establish the importance of listening when you or another coach is talking. Also, explain to the players that if they are not listening and paying attention in practice, then you will not be able to trust them to pay attention and do what you say at the end of a close game. If they know that listening directly correlates with their playing time, they will listen. 

Coach to Player Communication

Not everything can be addressed in a group setting, and it would be wise to develop an individual line of communication with each of your players. Whether it is having each player stop by your office once every couple of days, or just talking to them for a few minutes before or after practice, the one on one time is important. It shows that you value them individually, and also it allows you to be able to reiterate in more detail what that player individually needs to do for the team to have success. This will really help to prevent the “well I thought you wanted me to do this...” line later on down the road, and could save you in a close game. 

Player to Coach Communication 

You need to be a coach that is willing to listen to their player's questions. Don’t be a coach that the players are too scared to ask questions too. If you don’t have the time, then direct the players to an assistant coach that they can ask the question to, but being able to ask questions clears up a lot of miscommunication between the coach and player. It isn’t always that the player wasn’t listening or paying attention, it may just be that they misunderstood what they were supposed to do. Asking questions will help get and keep everyone on the same page. 


Communication is vitally necessary if you want to do something special with your team, and the only way to build real relationships with your players is to get to know them, which requires communicating. Take the time to develop those strong lines of communication between you and your players and it will pay off for you on the court and lead to a much more fulfilling coaching career.



Basketball season just ended, but for those of us who love the game, there is always more to learn, more to discuss, and more to talk about no matter what time of year it is. A great place for discussion and education is Twitter.

So here (in no particular order) are 56 of the best basketball coaches and trainers to follow on Twitter:

1. Brian Williams – @BrianWWilliamsWilliams

Brian Williams is an author and basketball coaching blogger at CoachingToolbox.net who is constantly sharing all kinds of coaching resources on his Twitter account.

Drills To Improve Speed And Endurance With And Without The Basketball

Drills To Improve Speed And Endurance With And Without The Basketball

As a growing basketball player, you will notice as you transition to higher levels that players become faster and are able to play for much longer amounts of time. Some players are gifted with the natural ability to grow and develop their athleticism as they age, but for others, rigorous conditioning is required to adjust.

There are many ways to increase your speed, and the most elementary way is to simply run. Conditioning for basketball requires game-like situation running, which includes full court sprints, suicides and line-touches, and sliding and back-pedaling.

Here are some drills to help you develop your speed and conditioning, both with and without a basketball, to ensure you have the best tools to out-run and out-perform your opponent.

Full Court Layup Drill

The full court layup drill is a great way to practice speed and endurance with the basketball, whether you have a passer with you or you’re dribbling the ball up and down the court grabbing your own rebound. Focus on pushing the ball ahead of you so that you’re running to catch up with the ball instead of dribbling the ball to match your normal running speed. Keep your eyes up-court, going as fast as you possibly can to get up the court with as few dribbles as possible. Maintain control and explode to the basket for your layup, and repeat to build endurance.

30-second Line Touch Drill

The thirty-second line touch drill helps maintain speed and endurance without the basketball and develops agility in changing direction. The goal of the drill is to touch each baseline three times (a total of six touches) in thirty seconds or less.

What makes this drill unique is the pressure of finishing under the thirty-second time limit while covering the length of the basketball court to simulate the intense running of an actual game. Focus on going as fast as you can for the thirty seconds of the drill, touching each line, and work on consistently finishing in thirty seconds, allowing yourself thirty seconds of rest between each run for proper interval training.

60-second Line Touch Drill

Like the thirty-second drill, this drill continually improves speed and physical condition by challenging you to complete 10 line touches in one minute or less. After successfully completing a thirty second drill, the best way to challenge yourself is with the one-minute drill.

The focus is the same; keep your speed and change of direction at a high level and make sure to finish the drill at your quickest pace on the court, but it will certainly help you become a quicker, more agile player.

Suicides involve running from the baseline to the foul line, retreating to the baseline, running to the half-court line, retreating to baseline, running to the far foul line and retreating again before running a full court sprint down and back on the court.

The goal is to finish as fast as possible—if you’re a beginner, shoot for 35 seconds or under—and work on quickness and change of direction. The amount of agility it requires makes it different from thirty and sixty second drills, and will help you become faster on the court.

Practicing these drills will make you a better basketball player and will give you and edge on your opponent as you become accustomed to the change of pace at higher levels of basketball. Challenge yourself to beat new times and practice new forms of interval training to not only develop your physical potential but see just how far your mind can take you.

5 Strength Training & Plyometric Methods to Improve Rebounding

5 Strength Training & Plyometric Methods to Improve Rebounding

You may think rebounding is based off of athleticism or height, but this belief is false. Rebounding is a developed skill that anyone can acquire through proper training – specifically, strength and plyometric training. Since rebounding has many components to it, there are many drills you can do in order to improve your rebounding ability. This article will highlight what I believe to be the best training methods for turning any athlete into a strong rebounder.

#1: Squats

This is essential for athletes to work out their entire lower body. Squats are great for increasing muscle endurance and strength. The endurance will allow basketball players to jump higher, run faster and run longer. Leg strength contributes to staying low and boxing out your opponent. When you are able to hold your man and push them back, you will give yourself a better chance of grabbing the rebound. Almost everyone is familiar with the squat technique; start with your feet hips width apart and back straight. Push hips back with weight on heels until your knees are parallel to the floor. Use your leg muscles to push back up. In order to keep your body guessing, it is good to perform different squat techniques. Here are some variations of the squat.

-       Body weight squat - Squat at high repetitions with your body weight. This method will increase muscle endurance while weighted squats will increase muscle strength.

-       Back squat – Squat with the barbell rested behind your head on your shoulders and neck.

-       Front squat –Squat with the barbell in front of your body with elbows parallel to the ground.

-       Goblet squat – Squat with a dumbbell or weight plate held between your legs. Lower until the weight touches the ground and come back up.

-       Overhead squat – Hold the barbell with a grip that is much wider then shoulder width. With arms fully extended overhead, perform squat. Note: this is one of the hardest squats because it requires good balance from the core and shoulders.

#2: Pull-ups

Pull-ups are one of the best exercises basketball players can do. They are especially useful for rebound improvement since the pulling motion is similar to the motion of pulling down a rebound. Pull-ups strengthen the back and arm muscles used when ripping down a rebound so you are more powerful during a basketball game. You can find a pull up bar at any gym, buy one for your home, or improvise with anything that will allow you to safely pull yourself up. Grab the bar with hands facing away from your face (or you can do chin ups when the hands face towards you). Using your back muscles, pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar; lower yourself until arms are straight. Aim for at least three sets for 8-12 reps. If you are experienced with pull-ups, try wearing a weighted vest or attached a weight plate between your legs. If you cannot complete pull-ups on your own, get a partner to help support you or use the assisted pull-up machine at your gym.

#3: Plyometrics

Vital for increasing timing and muscle reaction, plyometrics train your muscles to contact quicker and more explosively when jumping for a rebound. This explosiveness will also help you beat your opponents to the ball. Furthermore, plyometrics can increase your vertical jump, which is a huge component for becoming a better rebounder. Here are a few simple plyometric drills you can do pretty much anywhere.

-       Squat jumps – Wearing a weighted vest, lower into a squat position and explode off the ground. Imagine yourself jumping higher each time in order to grab a rebound. Do three sets for 8-12 reps.

-       Box jumps – Stand about 1-2 feet away from a sturdy box at an appropriate height for your abilities. Standing still, lower into a position similar to squat and jump up and forward onto the box. When landing, make sure you land gently on the balls of your feet so that less pressure is put on your knees. Again, wear a weighted vest to make this more challenging. Do three sets for 8-12 reps.

-       Broad jumps – Start with feet hip distance apart and lower down to get more power. Jump as far forward as you can. Land softly and repeat this action as quick as you can. Limiting time on the ground trains your muscles to contract quicker. Do three sets for 8-12 reps.

#4: Weighted jumps

Weighted jumps are a sub category of plyometics because they train your muscle fibers to react more quickly. These exercises are ideal for basketball players specifically to increase vertical jump.

-       Weight plate jumps- Hold a 5-10 pound plate over your head and try to touch the backboard. Complete this for 12-15 reps and go to the other side of the basket. Once you have completed two sets with weight, take a ball and repeat the drill. You will find it much easier to touch the backboard since the ball is significantly lighter than the weight.

-       Weighted vest jumps - Stand at the foul line and throw or bounce the ball at the backboard. Wearing a weighted vest, jump as high as you can and reach the ball at its peak. Finish the lay-up or throw an outlet pass; complete 5 sets of 5 reps.

-       Weight put backs- Stand in the center of the key about two feet in front of the basket. With arms extended holding a 5-10 pound plate overhead, jump straight up. Next, pivot towards the basketball and jump again as to finish the put back lay-up. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.

#5: Core

Your core is where all of your strength and power come from. The stronger your core, the stronger and more efficient your other muscles will become. If your core is weak, your other muscles will not be able to perform as efficiently. Therefore, a strong core is necessary to complement the exercises mentioned above.  A strong core is also crucial for boxing out and moving your opponent. Most people think core is purely abdominals. However, training your core involves strengthening your back and shoulders as well. Do this routine 3-4 times a week and you will have a stronger core in no time.

·      25 push-ups

·      1 minute plank

·      1 minute wall sit

Repeat this cycle 4-5 times. Also, you can add in any abdominal drills you like to supplement these exercises.

For more rebounding drills and exercises, check out this course by Michigan State’s Tom Izzo on CoachTube.

Text from Parent to Coach

Text from Parent to Coach

If you had to guess, who do you think gets on the coaches’ nerves the most? The referee? Nope. The opposing fans? Not even close. The answer is his own team’s parents. Shocking I know, but not if you pull back the curtains and see what a coach has to deal with before and after games just to make them happy. You would think the parents wanted to play more than the kids!

A quick google search will give you a ton of stories on how youth parents were able to get a coach fired for simply being unhappy with them. I’m not saying there aren’t some bad coaches that don’t deserve to ever coach another game in their lifetime. Of course, there are. But for every one of those, there are 10 other good coaches that simply want the best for their team.

Modern society rewards every kid for participating instead of winning. That’s not why we play sports. We don’t play to participate; we play to win. Let me say that again for the parents who didn’t hear me. WE PLAY TO WIN!

That means if the game is close, sometimes your child might not play. The best players on the team will need to bring it home. However, it does not mean your child should let their head hang low and feel bad for themselves. Instead, they should use it as motivation to work harder, and be better next year so they will be called upon during those crunch time situations.

Isn’t that what we are preparing our kids for by playing sports? To never quit, be resilient, have toughness, improve every year and eventually succeed. These are the characteristics we are supposed to be instilling in our children through youth sports. So do me a favor, before reaching out to your child’s coach and asking them why your kid isn’t playing, ask yourself these three questions:

- Is my child better than the kid playing front of them?

- Is my child working as hard as the kids playing in front of them?

- Can my child learn from this adversity and prove them wrong next practice, game and/or season?

If they aren’t better or they don’t work as hard then obviously you aren’t thinking logically. But, if they are better and do work hard, then maybe this is a learning lesson for them. Tell your child what the great Steve Martin told the rest of us, “Be so great they can’t ignore you.”

That’s it!

Work so hard, be so determined and so good they HAVE to play you. Trust me, parents, the good coaches will see it and the bad ones won’t last long enough to make a difference.

Game Day Guide: How to Prepare for a Basketball Game

Game Day Guide: How to Prepare for a Basketball Game

“The key is not the ‘will to win’—everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” This quote comes from legendary college basketball coach Bob Knight. Over the course of a career largely with Indiana and Texas Tech, Knight amassed 902 victories and proved to be a unique breed in coaching circles. However, I believe it is this quote from Knight that shows preparation is just as vital as the actual game. This is a factor that separates the good from the great.

Practice like a Game

Everyone goes to practice. Even on bad teams, the players are still going to show up for practices. Otherwise, they wouldn’t even be on the squad. With this said, the difference between success and failure is how you practice, not if you practice. It’s easy to show up and just go through the motions. After all, what does it really matter if you out hustle others in practice, but still struggle in games. The only answer I have to these skeptics: what does it hurt to practice at game speed. This is the only way to enhance your game and translate this playing style directly to a game. In addition to this, it’s a way to impress the coaches. If you’re at the junior high or high school level, you may be wanting to gain some more minutes. What better way to do this than at practice where the coaches are carefully watching you? Likewise, if you’re at the youth level and are tired of being stuck at forward when you want to play guard, then make the coaches change their thinking. Prove to them that you can!

Pre-Game Meal

When I ran cross country, my coach would always stress eating healthy. If you want to compete to the fullest of your abilities, then you must avoid falling victim to a poor pre-game meal. Even though cross country is a much different sport than basketball, the same logic holds true. As you lead up to the game (and really every day during the week), I recommend making sure you drink plenty of water and eat a meal that contains a significant amount of carbohydrates. For an example of this, I recommend spaghetti. I always have and continue to use this as a go-to meal leading up to any races I run.

Rest, Rest, Rest!

Just as eating right is important before your basketball game, it is also vital to get plenty of rest. I understand you might be nervous the night before, particularly if it is a big game or even your first game, but try to get at least eight hours of sleep. This is needed to compete at peak condition.

Mental Preparation

The last two items I discussed largely had physical connections. Now, I will discuss the mental side of hoops. With any sport, I urge young players to understand the importance of this and to not ignore it. Hall of Famer Bill Russell once said, “Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.” When it comes to basketball, anything that comes from the great Bill Russell should be taken to heart. With mental preparation, there are a few things I think are vital:

Envision Success

If you’re constantly thinking you’re going to fail, then chances are you’ll fail. However, if you picture yourself in your mind succeeding on the court, then your odds of success rise. In basketball, it is important to see the ball going through the net. Even if you’ve had a few rough games, start believing you can succeed. This idea of mental picturing can be useful in any sport, not just basketball.

Don’t Overthink It!

On the night before your game, don’t spend tons of time stewing over the game. It is fine to do a little mental picturing, as discussed above, but don’t overdo it. Try to find something to keep your mind off basketball. Whether it be watching a movie or reading a book, you don’t want to get to the point where you’re thinking on the court the next day, rather than just playing.

Have a Short Memory

As I started to elude to in the prior sections, you’re going to have some failures in basketball. No one is expecting you to make 100% of your shots. In fact, making just half of them is a pretty solid percentage. With this being the case, don’t let one bad game hinder future games. Chances are you’ll have plenty where you can’t find your shot. That doesn’t mean you should let it affect everything else you do on the court. Build a short memory and have confidence in your game!

Stretching and Shoot Around

The final item I will discuss focuses solely on the events right before the game. All of the stuff above broke down what to do in the days leading up. Once you arrive at the court, I recommend getting a solid stretching session in. This not only prepares you to compete at a high level, but it also ensures injuries won’t be an issue. Some coaches like to have their teams stretch together. The main thing is that you don’t ignore this part and get your muscles loosened up for game action.

Next, you’ll need to go through shoot around. Most of the time, this will open up with lay-up lines before breaking individuals up to work on shots around the court. The key here is to take advantage of this time. Utilize it to work on shots you’ll shoot in game or ones that you’ve been struggling with. If free throws have been an issue, then take some reps there to build up your confidence. Similarly, if you’re shot from the corner has been off, then shoot some jump shots from there. The key is to see the ball go throw the net and build confidence leading up to game.

In this course from CoachTube, Bill Thom provides some useful drills that can be completed during shoot around to work on various skills, including rebounding and rhythm shooting. Check it out if you’re struggling to come up with ideas!


Odds are that you won’t find the perfect pre-game preparation routine after one time. It may take some tinkering before you fully understand how your body reacts to different things. With this said, as long as you’re working on doing everything right, there is little room for argument. It is when players begin to think they can do whatever the night before the game and still succeed on the court that troubles start to arise. Don’t fall victim to this illogical thinking.

Coaching Generation Z

Coaching Generation Z

They are a tricky bunch. Creative in countless ways, especially on the basketball court. Consumed with social media, quick fixes and impatience. Generation Z aka The Millennials, is a group that needs to be understood in order to lead. A task many coaches fail to do because they do not take the time. The time to hear them out, step into their shoes and identify with their struggle.

The coaches I played for at a high level were at least 45 or older.

Let me put into perspective what a 25 year age difference looks like. In the past 25 years, we have invented the Digital Camera, Web Browser, Tivo and Iphone. We have had the Gulf War, 9/11, War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. We have had 4 presidents, 3 stock market crashes, 2 major floods in New Orleans alone and 1 Donald Trump. Our coaches have no idea what it was like growing up in our era and vice versa.

Our childhood was synonymous with video games, computers and the digital age. My coaches were raised in the 60’s, 70’s 80’s; I’m not going to even try to explain what that time period was like.

I do know when it comes to basketball, you guys had quite a list of players to watch. You had the 11-time NBA Champion, The Logo, Dr. J, Pistol Pete, Magic and Bird. We grew up on the 2nd half of MJ, The Diesel, King James, AI and the Black Mamba. Terrific in their own right, but different. A new brand of basketball where everyone is a guard, and the game turned into an offensive showcase rather than the physical war it once was.

Not saying any era was better than the other, but each comes with a it’s own set of values and principles. Generation Z is being written off for theirs, but let us analyze them before jumping to a conclusion.

The Knock on The Millennials

Lack a strong work ethic. Impatient. Don’t listen to authority. Disregard tradition. Want to know why before taking action. Selfish. Terrible listeners. Stubborn. The list goes on and on, but these are some of the negative characteristics of Generation Z.

Tell me if this dialogue sounds familiar:

Coach: I need you to fade to the corner as the guard drives. Player: I shoot better from the wing. Coach: I don’t care where you shoot better from, go to the corner. Player: Why would I go to the corner if I am more of a threat from here? Coach: Dammit! Because I said so!

I get it, they are frustrating.

Especially when coaches grew up much more obedient than the players they are instructing now. Youth basketball players question nearly everything, and quite frankly I don’t blame the coaches for losing their temper every now and then. Maybe there is an alternative.

As a Point Guard, it was my job to understand my teammates psychologically so I knew how to reach them in the game. I needed to know what made them play harder, what would make them withdrawal, how to speak to them after a mistake and how to keep them engaged. I learned all of this by observing in practice, the dorms, eating and celebrating together. I knew my teammates like they were my family... because they were.

*Coaches do not go to parties with your players. I repeat, do not go to parties with your players. It is a recipe for disaster, ask Larry Eustachy from Iowa State if you don’t believe me.*

That shouldn’t stop you from knowing them. Each of your players has a unique personality, a different shame coping mechanism and a contrasting response to your coaching philosophy. The more time you invest into building a relationship away from the court, the less “why” responses you will hear.

This generation doesn’t just trust the coach because you are the authoritative figure. They trust the person who shows they care about them. Be the coach, mentor and leader that cares about them as much you want them to care about you.

Product of Environment

I will never forget having a conversation with a teammate of mine after leaving practice. He said to me, “Coach has no idea about where I come from. There were times where I went to bed hungry. Days without hot water to take a shower. He doesn’t care about any of that, as long as I stay quiet and say yes sir or no sir.”

My coach and that player (along with a few others) never had a relationship. Constantly bumping heads, and you know what the saddest part was? He was the most talented player on the team and one of the smartest I had ever played with. He didn’t reach his potential as a player and we didn’t reach our potential as a team because of a lack of communication.

That is unacceptable.

Listen coach, many players need guidance and in the game of basketball that need is magnified. Many of us come from dysfunctional homes, single-parent households or without any leadership at all. We have been put on a pedestal because of our talent in a sport, but nobody took the time to develop our character. This generation is full of creative and innovative minds that can transform industries. Can you imagine what it could do on a basketball court?

Both the players and the coaches need to find a common ground, but the coach has to make that initial step. Environment plays a huge role in the development of people and these players character. Only one out of my three Division 1 coaches cared about the lives of his players outside of basketball. George Nessman at San Jose State University. One of those coaches who you can have a lifelong relationship with, that made you a better man not just a better basketball player.

A Common Thread

Every Hall of Famer steps up to the podium and thanks his coach. With tears in his eyes he says something along the lines of, “Thank you coach for being a father figure”, or “Thank you coach for saving my life.” They don’t talk about how much they appreciate their coach for for showing them how to properly run a zone offense. The impact coaches have on their players occurs far away from the gym.

It starts with the conversations you have about life. Wanting to know about their families, hobbies, passions, school work and aspirations outside of basketball. The knowledge you spew onto them that have nothing to do with the defense you plan to run that season. The stories you share with them to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes you did. The discipline you give them for off the court issues that shapes their character. The guidance you give when they run into a tough situations.

We have watched players embrace coaches like John Thompson, Tom Izzo and Bob Huggins. That hug is not because he corrected his players shooting form. It is because he took that player under his wing, demanded the world from him and changed his life not his game.

Closing Thoughts

A recent article on Buzzfeed listed the 28 things millennials have killed, including Golf, Football, Soap, Relationships, Napkins and everything inbetween. Sounds like a pessimistic view to me. Glass half full mindsets might describe them as innovators, trailblazers or trendsetters. The same can go for the game of basketball.

Generation Z is not easy to coach. As a youth basketball coach now, I have the perspective of both sides. Players want to be cared about, understood and lead. Coaches want to be respected and trusted. Both desires are met away from the game, nowhere near the court.

5 Strength Training & Plyometric Drills to Improve Rebounding

5 Strength Training & Plyometric Drills to Improve Rebounding

Learn to be a better rebounder with these proven exercises and methods for basketball players players

Tips for Running and Handling the Ball in Transition

Tips for Running and Handling the Ball in Transition

A large part of the game of basketball is understanding the surrounding circumstances. With this comes a time and place where pushing it in transition makes sense. However, there will be other times where it makes more sense to slow it down and set up an offense. Some teams favor getting up-and-down to score in transition, while others take a more methodical approach. This article will take a look at the both methods that strive to effectively and efficiently score the ball in transition.


Before I get deeper into specific drills to improve your own abilities in handling and moving the ball up-court in transition, I thought it would be best to provide you with details on why and when it works. First off, it can easily produce some quick points. If the defense doesn’t get back right away, lay-up opportunities will be available. This leads me to the next advantage, which is the fact that it pressures the opposition to get back quickly. As a result, you may see more rushed shot attempts or less aggression in attacking the offensive glass: both positives for the team choosing to get out fast in transition. Lastly, it allows for more players to see court time. Due to the up-tempo nature it creates, coaches are forced to sub players in-and-out more frequently. This creates a more unifying culture and prevents any egos from forming in the locker room.

Get It to the Guards!

The most important tip for running the ball in transition is to get the ball in the hands of a guard immediately. Upon getting the defensive rebound, all forwards and centers should look to a guard as the primary ball handler. In order to so, a guard needs to hang back to provide a receiving option for the forward to pass to. It’s also important to point out that you can still run a transition offense even off a made basket. In order to implement this, coaches should designate one player to be the full-time in-bounds passer. This will speed up the overall process and ensure there are no situations where no one is there to throw in.

Ultimately, all young players must understand that if they’re a forward or center, the first order of business should be to get the ball in the hands of a guard.

Guards train to develop their ball skills to handle the rock in tight situations. For young guards, I recommend continuously working on these abilities. This video from CoachTube provides a number of incredibly helpful tutorials to learning new moves.

Practice these and make them seem second-nature!

Stay Under Control!

When younger players hear the coach talk about implementing an up-tempo, transition offensive strategy, it can be exciting. After all, you’ll get the opportunity to push it every time and likely get a few easy lay-up chances every game. However, the key is to stay under control and know when to push it. You won’t be able to play the transition game after every missed shot.

Additionally, the opposition might focus more on getting back if they get burned by the transition a couple times. With this said, if you’re the guard, you need to pick and choose times to speed it up. At the same time, when you are handling the ball in transition, keep your head up. It’s vital to constantly be gauging the surrounding circumstances and looking for passing lanes.

Also, never force it into the paint if the defense is already set up. Sometimes this will result in a pair of free throws, but more often than not it will be a charge or a careless turnover.

Know Your Lanes

I’ve already started to delve into some of the basics of playing in transition, which has included getting the ball in the hands of the guard and staying under control. The next element is for the other players to know their roles. Typically, coaches preach for the point guard to receive the outlet pass from the rebounder in the middle of the court. At this time, the other guard and small forward should be racing up the sidelines. The power forward will follow slightly behind the point guard to present yet another opportunity. Lastly, the rebounder (the center in this case, but could also very well be the power forward) will serve as the trail man. The center’s roll is to present a backup option, possibly as a pull-up three, or the emergency defense in case the transition chance goes awry. Each of the particular lanes may change based on where the players are at the time of the rebound, but the key is to fill each of those lanes. This gives the point guard the most room and options to work with.

2-on-1 and 3-on-2

A couple of the more common fast break/transition opportunities that there will be are the 2-on-1 and 3-on-2. Many coaches practice each of these a decent amount in practice, as there easy to train with and are perfect game-type situations. In this section, I’ll provide a few helpful hints that I’ve taken away from my playing and scouting experience.


On the 2-on-1 break, I believe it is most effective for the ball handler to take a shoot first mentality. As he or she is racing up the court, they should utilize their peripheral vision to see where and who their teammate is and where the opposition is. The reason why I say “who” is because certain players like bigs may be more adept at catching a lob rather than a pass where they have to put a dribble down. With this shoot first mentality, attack until the defender makes a decision and picks one of the two offensive players.


With the 3-on-2, you have to remember to keep the ball in the middle of the court. Otherwise, it becomes much easier for the defense to prevent all passing lanes. Most of the time, with these situations, I like the point guard to stop around the free throw line and make the open pass. One of the defenders will likely pick up the ball handler, while the other will choose one of the two wings. In the times where the defenders pick up both wings, go straight to the hole and either finish with a layup or a floater. At all costs, avoid overpassing, which can easily end in a turnover and missed opportunity.

Game Experience

In the end, the best way to become a more effective player in running and handling the rock in transition is to do it in actual games. Doing so will increase your confidence that you can consistently make the right reads and get the easy bucket. You’ll become more comfortable reading defenses and knowing when to push it and when to slow it down to run the offense. Transition offense can be very exciting, but while any play can look like a potential transition opportunity, not every chance is going to work out!

The Art of the Outlet Pass

The Art of the Outlet Pass

The Art of The Outlet Pass

You’ve seen the best players in the NBA make some of their most exciting plays on

the fast break. Whether it’s Kevin Love to Lebron, Durant to Westbrook, or Steph

Curry pulling up from three with a few defenders back, they’re always set up to

make the best play possible in transition.

Sometimes, what sets these star players up for easy baskets is a crafty, perfectly

timed pass from a teammate who’s aware of his other teammates’ position. I’m

talking about the outlet pass; whether it’s that heave up-court or the series of passes

that leads to the basket, the best way to advance the ball off a miss has always been

the outlet pass.

If you want to be the player responsible for a flashy play and want to know how to

find your teammate for the outlet, make sure you work these little details into your

game with your teammates:

How To Play Off-The-Ball At A Young Age

How To Play Off-The-Ball At A Young Age

Everyone wants to be the guy with the ball in the closing seconds.

However, after watching many great teams, I’ve realized that too many

of these “players” can have a significant negative impact for the team

overall. With this understanding, it’s not difficult to conclude that young

players need to develop the ability to play basketball without the ball in

their hands. There are so many situations throughout each game where

this comes into play.

Always Ready

MMA athlete and current UFC star Conor McGregor once said, “I stay

ready so I don’t have to get ready.” Although MMA is much different

than basketball, this concept of always being ready doesn’t change. Both

sports require you to make decisions quickly. This idea relates perfectly

to being a better off the ball player. Even when you don’t have the ball in

your hands, you need to constantly be moving and working. When

players start standing around, the offense quickly becomes stagnant.

Unfortunately, this happens far too often at the youth level. Young

players don’t see a need to move around if they don’t possess the

basketball. Whether you’re an outside shooter, a rebounder or a mid-

range player, keep working and stay ready!

Wings/Guards: Roll Off Screens

When I make the claim that players need to play better off-the-ball, this

statement has different implications for various types of players. I’ll

start off with wings and guards. One of the best actions they can do is

run off screens. In doing so, make sure you run off the screen so there is

no space between yourself and the screener. This will ensure you create

enough space from the defender. Then immediately after running off the

screen, get your head up and create an open passing option for the ball

handler. As I mentioned earlier, stay ready!

A second piece of advice is to cut at different speeds. You don’t want to

create an environment where your defender knows where and how

you’ll cut. This is easy to defend against! Always try faking them out by

taking a step one way before sprinting off a screen. In the end, from each

of these recommendations, the central interlocking element is this idea

that you must be constantly be moving.

Keep in mind that after you receive the pass, you’ll need to be thinking

about getting a shot off if you manage to get open. This video from

former NBA assistant coach, Hal Wissel teaches the basics on shooting

off the catch.

Bigs: Set Screens

Due to the nature of the position, bigs are often asked to set screens for

the wings and guards. Often times, it will result in opportunities for the

cutters and not the screener. All of this goes back to the concept of doing

actions for the greater good of the team. In the terms of the actual

screening process, make sure you stand firm and avoid falling victim to

a moving screen turnover. This will quickly draw the ire of your coach!

Sometimes, the screening process will result in chances for the actual

screener. In these, you may set a screen and then roll. Think of a pick-

and-roll offense here. In order to be effective with this, bigs need to

work on catching the ball, putting a dribble or two down and shooting

the ball. Conversely, it can be useful to take a step back to the three-

point line before executing a catch-and-shoot situation. Again, as was

the case with the wings, you need to always be on the move and ready

to make a play.

Frequent Cuts

As I alluded to earlier, one of the biggest downfall for teams can be too

much stagnation. Players are just standing around and the ball handler

doesn’t have any open passing lanes to find a teammate. Frequent cuts

can eliminate this detriment. When cutting, keep in mind that the ball

handler might not always see you when you get open. Don’t let this get

in your head and affect your game, just keep working and fighting out

there. This is particularly important at the youth level. Young players

might start to get frustrated when the point guard fails to see them

when they’re wide open. Rather than letting this frustration boil, go and

tell your point guard where to look, in what might be a soft spot in the


Better Chemistry Amongst Teammates

Teams filled with players willing to play off-the-ball often possess great

chemistry in the locker room. Even at the youth level, every team will

probably have one or two players that are slightly more talented than

the rest. However, not everyone will possess the skills to handle the ball

a lot and distribute it amongst their teammates. This is why I sort-of

consider great off-the-ball players to be terrific role players. They

understand their role and are always willing to do whatever it takes to

come out of a game with a win. Although, some great off-the-ball players

are truly stars (think of Rip Hamilton, who will be discussed later), you

need everyone on the court to be willing to be a great off-the-ball player.

When players are playing for the greater good of the team, they start to

enjoy playing with each other since there is a greater sense of equality

amongst their teammates.

Rip Hamilton Example

In all my years watching nearly every level of basketball, one player I’ve

always loved evaluating is Richard “Rip” Hamilton. The former Detroit

Piston NBA Champion was a dynamite scorer, amassing a 17.1 scoring

average over his 14-year NBA career. A lot of these points came from

the topics I’ve discussed above. When playing with the Pistons, he had a

point guard in Chauncey Billups who had great vision of the court.

Hamilton was always rolling off screens and creating passing

opportunities for Billups. Upon receiving the pass, Hamilton wouldn’t

hesitate to pull up mid-range for the jumper. You’ll likely never find a

better mid-range shooter than Rip.

Keep Moving!

Playing off the ball ultimately boils down to always being on the move.

Defenses are going to look to get in a rhythm to where they are always

in the right place. Conversely, offenses want to disrupt this and keep

them thinking. Whether you’re a forward, center or guard, there is

always something to be doing. For young players, acquiring this skill

and knowledge can pay serious dividends as you progress in your

basketball career.

Other recommended offensive courses:

Fundamentals & Finishing by Dave Severns

Great Pick & Roll Plays with Lason Perkins

Guard/Wing Workout featuring Coach Rob Moxley

4 Tricky Basketball Moves That

4 Tricky Basketball Moves That'll Keep You On Your Toes

If you’re a basketball player in this day and age, you know how crafty and flashy the game has become, and the value put on players who can outsmart their opponents in a tricky manner.

There are tons of ways to get the ball into the basket. There are just as many ways to stop it from going in as well. Then there’s just ways to simply just aggravate and embarrass your opponent. 

You’re going to go against players that will challenge you in that sense. Mentally, they will try to stifle you with an arsenal of moves that you may not be expecting. Here are some tricky moves to look out for (and maybe even add to your own game).