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PostPosted: 21 May 2014, 07:33 

Posts: 214
I feel like my strength in coaching is at practice. I think I'm good at developing individual players and their skill sets and I think I've become much better in the past year or so at developing a team. By that, I mean that I've gotten better at encouraging players to come together as a team, building the team concept, identity and unselfish play. My schemes and philosophies are starting to have an identity.

One area I don't feel I have improved in is coaching a game. I feel like I can come out with a good initial gameplan, but my ability to make in-game adjustments is lacking. Sometimes I go back and watch film and things standout very clearly as to certain adjustments that we could have made that would have given us an advantage.

Once the ball is tipped, what kinds of things are you looking at as a coach? Are you looking for how the opponent reacts to certain actions? Looking for mismatches?

I would love to have a discussion about this.


PS - I am coaching girls travel ball. This past season was 4th grade. I'll be moving into 5th grade with them and then 6th grade the following season.

PostPosted: 21 May 2014, 11:12 

Posts: 899
Great topic! I'm sure you'll receive various bents on coaching in a game.

As cliche as it sounds, the more you coach games, the better you become. Even then, when you think you've seen everything, some wrinkle appears. You will always watch the videos and see things you could have done better. Don't sweat it and learn. It's cool that you're even watching the videos, great tool to help your coaching. I doubt most coaches at your level are watching game film.

My #1 coaching strategy is to get up on the other team by 20 pts sooner than later, anyway I can. Momentum in basketball is huge and if I can get that momentum swing going my way right out of the gate, I'm all over it. I'll do that by pressing, playing aggressive defense, attacking the rim on offense and pumping up the kids early in the game. I want that momentum going our way. Makes my job easier and gives me less grey hair.

In general, what helps me is having some type of structure/rules for things that happen on the court from the refs to dealing with a superstar player on the other team. It's impossible to think out every single scenario, but having some of the major ones covered (things that can cause the momentum to switch quickly) takes out the surprises that will present themselves on the court (e.g. beating presses, fast breaks, aggressive defense). In practice, we go over situations and do 'what if's'. We throw in some code words to change things on the fly during a game. This could be anything from the need to really block out or get back on defense, not necessarily beating a press or dealing with a zone defense.

Learn from other coaches during games. I stole (borrowed) things from other coaches all the time, from warm-up drills to types of defenses. In fact, I'd have conversations with some of the more seasoned coaches as I was coming up through the ranks. The cool ones were more than happy to answer my questions.

One last thought, especially with younger players, only give them a few things to focus on during a game. As a coach, it's easy to see a list of 10 things they should be doing better out on the court. Giving them 10 things to remember and do will overwhelm them. Focusing on two or three works better I've found. Stay positive out there, even when things aren't going your way. A sense of humor doesn't hurt either, it can help keep the kids relaxed.


PostPosted: 21 May 2014, 13:35 

Posts: 899
One more tip that helps me, I scout the other team. You know how it goes in the travel leagues, you can look at the schedule and check out your competition.


PostPosted: 21 May 2014, 13:47 
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When it comes to game time coaching, I'm probably not very good at "strategy". So I don't have a lot to share in regards to strategy. I would agree that experience makes a big difference and you get better at little things (things like subbing at free throws to get a press set at the end when you need the ball).

But for the most part I am just trying to TEACH during games. I see it as an extension of practice and opportunity to continue teaching. I try (not always successful) but try to ignore the refs and sometimes even the opponent and try to focus on my players learning and improving.

Now during the heat of the game there is little teaching you can do for the players on the court -- other than setting a good example in your demeanor and how you handle situations. Because players can't hear crap during a game and hollering during a the action of a game does almost nothing. But during timeouts, half time, and when players are on the bench you can teach.

Sometimes teaching is just refocusing the players so they can figure things out (they often learn better that way):

Sometimes it's taking opportunities to help them improve decision making, how to improve spacing as the ball moves, handling the pick and roll, etc.

I don't know if my method is bad or good. But that's how I usually try to go about things.

Jeff Haefner

PostPosted: 21 May 2014, 15:32 
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Posts: 3139
All good points here... and yes, the longer you coach the better you will get. I coached for 40+ years and I learned something every year... watching other HS coaches, College coaches and Pros too. There is always something out there that you can add to your game plan.

Ok - here is how I approached games..... ( remember, this is just me )

A) I had 5 items - " What must we do to beat them? "
List all 5 and show the players what we need to do.

B) Another 5 items - " Checklist of things to cover in practice before we play them. " This was for me......
Then we would work on these things in practice

C & D are more things for the players and coaches to know. and work on.

C) Possible man - man match ups
1- Who is their best shooter
2- Who to foul
3- Who is foul prone

D) What are their Special Plays -- Lobs / staggered screens / back screens etc.

Read more: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=1443#ixzz32O7JLAdc

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