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PostPosted: 13 Jan 2019, 20:56 

Posts: 7
I’ve been coaching for 12 years but not sure what to do with current team (and future of team).

We are the 30th smallest school in the state. We have multiple defensive sets and a few offensive sets. We mostly run a 5 out offense and sometimes a 4 out. We have wrinkles off each one and 2-3 true sets for three pointer needed, backcut type play etc ...

Here is my dilemma ... when we play teams close to our school size, we run them out of the gym. We play mostly smaller schools and are top 25 in state in PPG. My issue is when we play the bigger schools, we struggle. I know it would be normal, but I don’t want to “accept” it. They are quicker and more athletic - which our offense can’t create shots. We usually don’t press and sit more back into 1-2-2 or 2-3 type of zone. We play man, we get crushed. Where against teams our school size, we can press and get a lot of turnovers.

It’s hard because I want to compete with the bigger schools but the offense/defense that we play just can’t do it - but it can match up very well against other smaller schools. I would hate to try and run different offenses for the occasion (like a flex w/what we currently do). I’m just lost. I hate getting crushed against the bigger schools. I’m working hard on the development of the elementary/middle school students (and obviously the HS), just not sure what to do. We play fast against the small schools but have to play slower and limit possessions against bigger schools.

What would you do with the “program” moving forward. Sorry so long.


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PostPosted: 14 Jan 2019, 07:29 
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Coach - Without seeing your offense, it's hard to say what I'd do. Maybe nothing.

If there are opportunities to improve the offense, I would do that. But the reality is that when you move up in levels... few of your points come from the actual offense (maybe 20%).... most of the points come from players "making plays". You just keep spacing, keep players moving, and put them in situations when they can utilize their strengths. So I'm not sure there is an offensive change that will help you... but there might be some opportunities for improvement.

After reading your post, my very first thought was simple. You need to find a way to make your players better!

If your players can't beat anyone off the dribble, move so well without the ball they can get open for catch and shoot, create their own show on the perimeter or the post.... then you are in trouble. You need players that can "make plays" in your half court offense. It sounds to me like that is the problem... when you play the bigger schools... the defenders are just bigger/stronger/faster/better. Not a whole lot you can do if all the players at each position are just better.

To an extent there is nothing you can do... better talent wins games and there are limits in how much you can develop a player. You need some talent there. But you can make players better. No doubt about it. My thoughts are to learn everything you can about player development and focus on that. Teach your players how to get a first step and get straight lines drive off the dribble against quicker defenders. Teach your players how to drive and finish against bigger defenders. Teach them how to read screens and read situations to get open and create a little space for their shot. Improve their outside shooting.

My opinion that player development is the ticket. Take that to the next level. That will make your offense better too. Player development is more than just dribbling, shooting, passing. It's moving without the ball, using screens, reading screens, cutting, creating space, getting open, quickness/agility, etc.

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PostPosted: 14 Jan 2019, 16:07 

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I suspect those "bigger schools" have players who've played some version of club ball for some years before they hit high school. If that's the case, they're coming in with a tremendous amount of experience. A bigger school also means more choice when it comes to which players make the team.

Paint a picture of what the 6th, 7th and 8th graders are doing regarding basketball right now. Are there different levels of competition for those age groups?

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PostPosted: 14 Jan 2019, 21:31 

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Yes, we are a private school with 1/8th of the size of tge larger schools we play. We beat the private schools but struggle with public schools because they are quicker, more athletic, taller etc ...

I’m spending A LOT of time on player development. I was a basketball personal trainer for many years so I know what it takes. However, let’s be real - there is only so much you can do with what they have to work with. It’s like trying to take a walk-on and make him Zion Williamson, it’s just generically won’t happen. It’s all about making them the best version of themselves.

I’m just struggling because we can trap, press, push the ball and crush the teams of equal size to us. We can’t do that with the bigger public schools - they will run us out of the building. It’s hard to teach kids 2 types of offenses - but both would work on the teams. Play fast works against small schools and then trying to slow it down, more ball movement, limit possessions against public schools. Just seems hard to switch our “style” for 40% of our games.


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PostPosted: 15 Jan 2019, 13:14 

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Quote:
I’m just struggling because we can trap, press, push the ball and crush the teams of equal size to us. We can’t do that with the bigger public schools - they will run us out of the building. It’s hard to teach kids 2 types of offenses - but both would work on the teams. Play fast works against small schools and then trying to slow it down, more ball movement, limit possessions against public schools. Just seems hard to switch our “style” for 40% of our games.
You're on the right track here regarding slowing down the play. Most coaches I know would do the same against a faster paced more athletic team; you have to do a lot more often.

Do the middle school players feeding into your hs have a club team they play on during the offseason?

cal9323 wrote:
It’s all about making them the best version of themselves.
You nailed it. In the end, that's what matters, but you already know that.

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PostPosted: 16 Jan 2019, 08:36 
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I think I understand your dilemma now. That is a tough call. You could switch styles to more of a "half court game" and get better at the half court execution. That might be better suited when playing the bigger schools, and if you get really good at it, that should work against small schools too. You can still pressure in the half court and adjust your half court defense based on the opponent. But the scores still might be closer against small schools and the uptempo style is fun to play!

I have historically been a half court coach... great half court man and motion offense. We can play against uptempo or slow it down teams. It is very versatile and gives us a chance to win against all teams. If we have a little depth, once we're good in half court, we start pushing more and creating more tempo when it's available. We do run and push... it's just not our primary emphasis.

I have tried playing uptempo and constant pressure with marginal talent going up against bigger schools. It didn't work for me. Even though we were used to the fast style and practiced it every day... the more athletic teams just out played us and sometimes embarrassed us. I ended up going back to my half court game -- getting really good at half court executions and then just running in transition when we had opportunities. It just worked better for me.

With all that said, the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. I always tell coaches to go with what you believe in and feel like you're great at teaching. It's not "what" you do, it's "how" you do it. There are so many different offenses and styles. They all work if you do a great job teaching it.

I probably didn't help you at all. Other than I agree with you.... playing two different styles seems tough. I think you should pick one style, stick with it, and be great at it.

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PostPosted: 16 Jan 2019, 12:55 

Posts: 7
Coach Rob wrote:
Paint a picture of what the 6th, 7th and 8th graders are doing regarding basketball right now. Are there different levels of competition for those age groups?


Our school is a K-12, so we have somewhat of advantage in that department. The issue is most of the coaches are parent volunteers and some just aren't qualified. With that said, I have coaching clinics for them that I lead and showing them how each kid should be developed. We are also teaching them a 5 out offense and the things we do on a high school level (obviously more basic).

It just started this year and we hope this will pay dividends in trying to build a "program" over the next several years.

Many of them don't play AAU because they just aren't good enough. However, in the summer, I lead workouts for all ages 2x a week to developmental drills (using cones for moves, ballhandling, shooting etc ...). We even have a shooting machine to help get up as many shots. I'm spending a lot of time working with these kids and hope it will pay dividends down the road!


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PostPosted: 16 Jan 2019, 13:00 

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JeffHaefner wrote:
I think I understand your dilemma now. That is a tough call. You could switch styles to more of a "half court game" and get better at the half court execution. That might be better suited when playing the bigger schools, and if you get really good at it, that should work against small schools too. You can still pressure in the half court and adjust your half court defense based on the opponent. But the scores still might be closer against small schools and the uptempo style is fun to play!

I have historically been a half court coach... great half court man and motion offense. We can play against uptempo or slow it down teams. It is very versatile and gives us a chance to win against all teams. If we have a little depth, once we're good in half court, we start pushing more and creating more tempo when it's available. We do run and push... it's just not our primary emphasis.

I have tried playing uptempo and constant pressure with marginal talent going up against bigger schools. It didn't work for me. Even though we were used to the fast style and practiced it every day... the more athletic teams just out played us and sometimes embarrassed us. I ended up going back to my half court game -- getting really good at half court executions and then just running in transition when we had opportunities. It just worked better for me.

With all that said, the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. I always tell coaches to go with what you believe in and feel like you're great at teaching. It's not "what" you do, it's "how" you do it. There are so many different offenses and styles. They all work if you do a great job teaching it.

I probably didn't help you at all. Other than I agree with you.... playing two different styles seems tough. I think you should pick one style, stick with it, and be great at it.


I learned my lesson in this regard. We were winning by 20+ points against our first 3-4 opponents. It got to our head and we tried to press and play "our style" against a public school and lost by 35 points. We recently played them again and slowed it down and only lost by 8 points. I'm not a big believer in moral victories but it showed that a slower pace can hang with them. However, we don't practice slowing it down, so we still had some bone-headed passes trying to push the ball when it wasn't there.

You did help, I just wanted another coaches opinion on my situation. It's our first year implementing the "system" so hopefully over time it will continue to improve.


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PostPosted: 22 Jan 2019, 21:56 

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One other thing that is difficult.
We have 5-7 really solid players but after that, we are more like JV players.

It’s hard to emulate good quick defense - especially against a press defense. In practice, our starters get past the press with ease - and even against the smaller schools we play.

When we play the bigger teams, they are so quick and our players just aren’t used to it.

I’ve sometimes ran a press with like 8-9 of our guys versus our starters to make it more difficult. It’s just hard to practice for the pressure and quickness that other teams throw at us.


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PostPosted: 23 Jan 2019, 08:12 
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Maybe invite bigger schools in for controlled scrimmages on the weekend? Beyond that, and small sided games, I haven't found a good way to simulate realistic pressure situations in practice.

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