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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2021, 14:56 

Posts: 10
If you have a team that cannot get out to a good start in the first few minutes of a game, what are some strategies you can use to help your team get out of that funk? We see it even at the highest levels of basketball that great teams sometimes struggle to get off to a good start. The Golden State Warriors were notorious as the "3rd quarter Warriors" during their championship run. They'd go into halftime down 8, 10, 15 etc and if you missed the start of the second half, they had already gotten themselves back into the game and imposed their will. Granted those are pro's so it's not the same as adjusting at our levels, but it's still something that coaches at any level deal with.

I had an issue this year where my guys were just the opposite. We'd get out to a really good start but then get comfortable and start to coast. (I coached 7th grade boys this winter) What I started to emphasize to them was that anytime we walked into the locker room we had to have a 0-0 mindset. This resonated with the team and they started to play well for entire games. I don't press, play zone, or do any youth basketball shenanigans to manufacture wins. I actually bought Don Kelbick's 4-second fast break DVD series and we ran that all year. What an absolute gem of a purchase that has turned out to be! (If you buy it, follow it blindly and don't try to tinker with anything. Trust the plan, the drills, and do it every day.)

The Kelbick transition DVD really put us at another level as a basketball team. I flat out refuse to press in Junior High aside from late-game situational stuff. The biggest emphasis I had to make for all of the guys (7th and 8th both ran the 4-second break) was to make good 2-handed passes when pitching the ball up the floor. It took the 8th graders a little longer to break the habits, but they all bought in by the end of the year. Our 7th graders had a few games where it felt like we were pressing the other team because we were quite literally getting the ball from the rebound to the opposite end of the floor in about 5 seconds. Not bad for a group of 7th graders. Some teams were gassed at the end of quarters and we weren't pressing them, trapping in the half-court, we just didn't waste time getting the ball from Point A to Point B.

Long coaching diatribe now over. What are some strategies you coaches like to use to get your team out of the funk of a slow start or slow finish?


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PostPosted: 24 Apr 2021, 14:34 
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I think ever team is different. Have to find out what makes those kids tick. Just some ideas off the top of my head...

- reward effort... the ones rebounding, hustling, getting into defense stance, etc get to play more. players will pick up on that and work hard, because they want to stay in the game. so basically learn towards reward effort, not skill or talent.

- emphasize, defense, rebounding, running full speed in transition and effort. Players pick up on what you emphasize. So focus on that from day 1, that can help maintain intensity throughout the season.

- warm up with small sided games or any activity that stimulates the nervous system and gets players going. layup lines and shooting lines are boring.

- track stats and report stats... focus on rebounding individual and team, taking charges, maybe steals, etc. This can help with player focus and motivation.

- take players out when they take their foot off the gas pedal. Talk to them on the side and tell them, if you want to be in the game... you have to stay locked in and play hard. If you want to play, you need to play hard.

I'm sure I'm missing a few things and you probably do many of the things I mentioned. Sometimes the most talented teams struggle with focus because they are not challenged and can get by without being locked in. The teams that go hard all the time have a chip on their shoulder and/or they have something to prove. If the coach can create the mindset, you can usually have a team that overperforms.

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Jeff Haefner
http://www.BreakthroughBasketball.com


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