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Promote Great TEAMWORK and Unselfish Play With This Basketball Passing Statistic (It's NOT an Assist)- By Joe Haefner
Coaches are always looking to improve teamwork and for ways to get their players to make the "extra pass." Well, we have a great statistic that will encourage this and as we all know, players love statistics.
A basketball stat that most coaches track is an assist, because it's meant to promote unselfishness. In basketball, an assist is the last pass that leads directly to a basket. An assist is a great statistic to track, but it can still lead to teamwork and turnover problems.
Here are a couple of examples, and I'm sure you could think of a few more:
- A player may hog the ball until he gets a shot for himself or finds an open teammate. That way, he gets an assist or basket to pad his stats. As a result, the ball stops moving and teamwork is destroyed even if an assist is generated.
- A player tries to make the "great" pass to get an assist. This will often result in more bad passes than good passes. The player is trying so hard to get that assist and ends up throwing a pass that is nearly impossible execute.
This would reward those players who..
- Throws a great outlet pass that sets up somebody else for an assist.
- Uses a proper ball fake to get a player out of position in the post before throwing it to another player on the perimeter who has a better passing angle to get the assist.
Recently, while talking to Don Kelbick, he informed me that a coach by the name of Mike Neer from the University of Rochester created this stat and calls it a "Gretzky" referencing hockey legend, Wayne Gretzky.
Mike Neer is one of the most successful college coaches in the nation. He has led his team to a National Championship, 4 Final Fours, and 8 Sweet Sixteens at the Division 3 National Tournament. Rochester also has ridiculously high academic standards.
Don Kelbick put it in perspective for us by saying, "It would be like Harvard winning the national championship."
Criteria for a Gretzky:
- There is no intent to shoot in a Gretzky. A Gretzky involves recognition that A>C>B is safer and more effective than A>B.
There is a dribble Gretzky when a player fakes a pass to B and then dribbles (once or twice) to improve his passing angle to B. A dribble Gretzky can also result in an assist.
- Ultimately, it is a pass fake and pass to a 3rd player that makes a Gretzky. This is different than penetrate and pitch and any subsequent passes which involve a threat to shoot.
Here are a few specific situations that a Gretzky would be counted.
As stated before, Gretzky's are great for:
- Improving team unselfishness.
- Improving teamwork.
- Encouraging players to make the easy pass.
So, introduce and start tracking "Gretzkys" and watch how it will improve your team's teamwork and unselfish play!
You can also read more on this subject at this link: https://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/blog/index.php/gretzky-basketball-passing-statistic/
This is an email conversation between Coach Mike Neer and myself.
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