Getting Ready for Season - 4 Unique Strategies
that Will Give You Laser Focus on Beating the

Getting ready and planning before your season starts is an important step to success...

This article will give you a unique and possibly a better perspective on how to win this season. But you must plan ahead...

Choosing the right offense, defense, strategies, player development system, and emphasis for your season will all help you win more games.

I'm going to share 4 concepts that were somewhat of an epiphany for me several years ago. They helped me simplify the game tremendously. And made me realize we were wasting time on quite a few things and there were better ways.

This concept works for anyone and will give you laser focus. But first...

Please note that these are strategies for WINNING. I believe positive coaching and intangibles like leadership are a huge part of coaching. Probably more important than anything else. But all of us are also trying to win.

This article is all about winning and giving you laser focus on WINNING games this season.

How to Win Every Game You Play (Without Exception)

To win games this year, you must solve 4 problems.

Believe it or not, if you solve these 4 problems, you will win every single game (without exception).

Problem #1 - How will you get more Field Goal Attempts than your opponent?

This is one of the simplest ways to win more games. Even if you have terrible shooting, you can make up for it by getting more field goal attempts (FGAs) than your opponent.

How? You can get more FGAs by getting more rebounds and committing fewer turnovers than your opponent.

Do you have a plan this year that will allow you to get more FGAs than your opponent on those bad shooting nights? Or those nights when both teams are shooting lights out?

This is something that you should have implemented on the first day of practice.


Problem #2 - How will you shoot a higher Effective Field Goal percentage than your opponent?

Effective Field Goal percentage (eFG%) accounts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth more than a 2-point field goal. It gives you a big picture indication of your overall shooting percentage.

eFG% is arguably the most important metric of all. Are you even looking at this metric? Do you know how you compare to your opponent each game and also for the season?

If not, it's going to be hard for you to make improvements.

Do you have a plan to get a higher eFG% than your opponents in each game?

If you let your opponents shoot a .70 eFG% in each game, you are going to have lots of trouble putting up those numbers yourself. Do you have a defensive plan to keep that number low each night? Do you have an effective offensive plan to keep that number high?

This is something you should start thinking about now.


Problem #3 - How will you shoot more free throws than your opponent?

Now there is clearly more to the game than FGAs and eFG%. If you're even with your opponent in those two areas, then the number of free throws you take could be the difference in the game.

This might be a big emphasis for you. It might not. Either way, you should know where you stand and know how this fits into your strategy.

For us, keeping our opponent off the free throw line is a very important part of our defensive strategy. We have lost too many games in the past by playing very aggressive defense and then watching the other team shoot free throws on what seemed like every possession.

So we work on keeping our opponent free throw attempts (FTAs) low and be sure to look at this metric after each game.


Problem #4 - How will you shoot a higher free throw percentage than your opponent?

If you break even with your opponent in the first 3 areas (FGAs, eFG%, and FTAs)....

then there is ONLY ONE way to win. You must shoot a higher free throw percentage than your opponent.

Are you starting to see how we're simplifying what's needed to win? There are only 4 things.

Solve All 4 Problems and You Will Win Every Game

If you can solve those 4 problems above, and beat your opponent in all 4 areas, you will WIN every single time. It's impossible to lose if you beat your opponent in all 4 areas!

And if you beat your opponent in 3 of those 4 areas, you'll almost always win those games too.

When it comes to winning, is there anything else you should be thinking about? Those are the only 4 ways to win. There is no other way.

By focusing on solving these 4 problems, you will get laser focus on the right things (from a winning standpoint).

When you are practicing, you should ask yourself:

  • Is this drill going to make a significant impact on one of those 4 areas?

If the answer is no, you should consider eliminating that drill from your practice. I frequently find myself working on things that have little impact on those 4 areas. So I often throw out the drill and replace it with something more impactful. I'll bet you will do the same.

Now, if the drill will have a significant impact long term, then you probably want to keep the drill. Many of our drills are long term fundamental improvements and take a year or more to get a return. But if you stay the course, the payback in those 4 areas is huge.

How Do You Solve Each Problem?

Well that's partly up to you as a coach to figure out...

Simply by recognizing there are only 4 things you can do to win the game, that gives you a starting point to work from.

And honestly it becomes quite simple when you think in terms of those 4 areas above.

With that said, we can of course help you solve specific problems (offensively, defensively, etc) -- so feel free to submit questions in our forum. Several experienced coaches are monitoring the forum and will help you out.

I hope this article helps in you some way and allows you to simplify the game.

Let us know if you liked the article by leaving comments below and clicking on the social media buttons.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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Ken Sartini says:
11/20/2013 at 8:34:42 AM

I think that as a coach you know who your good shooters are ( or you shouldn't be coaching )

You get your good shooters a shot where they can make a good %.... they aren't always going to go in... sometimes shooters have bad days.

Sometimes kids will take ( what we consider ) bad shots and they go in... do we still encourage that shot? I don't think so.

There are situations in games when a player has the ball in his hands and time is running out... and shot is better than no shot in that situation... make or miss.

If you are talking about YOUTH players.... we need to let them shoot or they will never learn how to shoot the ball.

Jeff -

I like how you solve all 4 problems.. and IF you can do all this, you are going to win a lot of games. I think that a lot of high school games are won and lost at the free throw line. JMO

Bottom line.... GOOD STUFF!


Stephen Nash says:
11/20/2013 at 7:56:24 AM

Scoring more points than opponent is the goal. If you shoot a higher % than you need fewer shots and may get fewer shoots as a result of your accuracy.
Shot selection is the key. Players need to know what shots they can make and yhe coach must teach them to shoot accurately.
Just being "OPEN" is not a reason to shoot.
Good shots are ones that go in. Or at least shots that go in are not bad shots. Shots that do not go in are not good shots.


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