Ask the Coach - Questions and Answers - 2000

Introduction

The number of visitors to the Coach's Notebook has increased steadily since July, 1999 when it went live on the internet. Several readers have submitted questions and it seems like a good idea to share those questions with everyone. How is a question submitted? Easy. Send an email to sjordan@alaskalife.net, post the question in the Coach's Guestbook, or click the Ask a Question link on the front page of the site. A personal email response will be sent if requested and the question and answer will be posted on this page shortly afterwards unless it has been asked before. The Coach's Notebook reserves the right to not list all submitted questions. You are also invited to post your questions on the ChalkTalk discussion board and get input from several coaches.

The questions immediately below were posted during the year 2000:


Email:
akmtjoy@hotmail.com
Date:
12/27/00

Question

I am trying to find out how to teach temple's 2-3  match up zone ("robber") defense. replies appreciated

Answer

I don't have any insights to offer.  Sorry - I haven't used that particular zone defense. Perhaps  Coach Jackson's Page can help,


Email:
robgier@prodigy.net
Date:
12/28/00

Question

I am coaching 3rd and 4th grade boys. I am having trouble teaching the concept of a motion offense. I am running a spread offense, no post in the middle. Are there any videos that I could show them what the motion offense looks like? Any tips on how to coach the motion offense - how to keep them from standing around? Are there any books or videos that teach the North Carolina 4 corners offense?

Answer

There is an excellent animated diagram of the motion offense at Hoopsclub.com. Frankly, with 3rd and 4th grade players, my focus would be on basic pick and roll, give and go with a post and scoring off transition. I like to break the offense into basic elements and have the team in small groups practicing those elements so no one is standing around too much. For books and videos, I go to www.powerbasketball.com.

 


Email:
Bzeitli@pts.com
Response Type:
Date:
12/23/00

Question

Question: Can you help me take scouting information on an upcoming team, and present it in a wrtten format?

Answer

Email sent 12/14/00.


Email:
whyme59@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
12/24/00

Question

Question: what is the difference between aggressive coaching, and abuse of the kids? My 14 yr old was required to run a mile in Aug (temperature between 95-103 degrees) in under seven minutes. If he didn't make it in the time allowed, a 20lb weight vest was added and 2 additional laps ran. After sever cramps in his side, he was told to keep running. He did as he was told. He has seen kids throwing up, yet told by the coach to keep going, He tells the kids if the bone isn't sticking out , I don't want to hear about it. He failed to inspect my son for an injury to his ankle, that turned out to be a severe sprain. By the time I got to school, (was notified by son, not the coach that he was hurt) the ankle was too swollen to ex-ray. It took 5 days for the swelling to go down enough to x-ray it. Im I being an over protective parent, or is this man cruel and abusive? He also hit a child in the stomach, the child passed out, and again the parents had to hear about it from the child.

Answer

Private email sent 12/27/00. I suggest you bring your concerns up to the administration.


Email:
mtd_5@yahoo.com
Response Type:
Date:
12/22/00

Question

Question: I am a coach at LaGrange Academy in LaGrange, Ga. I am having a major problem of finding a good offense against a box and 1. I was wondering if yall had any suggestions of what I could do. Matt Dalrymple

Answer

Actually, I have an article that specifically addresses the Box and 1. Look in the topic menu for the article called Beating Junk Defenses. That should help.


Email:
mbloise@concentric.net
Response Type:
Date:
12/21/00

Question

Question: I am coaching two 5th grade girls basketball teams. We have the whole range of experience players (none to 4 years). We had our first game last night and it was very frustrating for me and the players. I have never seen so many jump balls in my life. As a coach, I feel I need to put together some type of offense to get the kids moving without the ball. I need to keep it very simple and repeatable, so they will rotate back to the starting position. I looked at the "Alaska" offense and it seems pretty good. Any ideas or comments would be helpful. - Mike

Answer

The Alaska Play may be too much for 5th grade girls. I'd suggest something more basic like the Hi-Lo play or one of the others shown in the same article, Easy Offensive Sets. Also, look at the Continuity Plays article. Jump balls are the result of ball stoppage and congestion. I suggest emphasizing spacing to spread the defense out, and having the ball handler and the intended receiver move towards each other. Once the receiver catches the ball, she can't stop. Instead, keep her eyes up looking for the next receiver. The passer shouldn't pass and stop. Typically, the passer should pass then pick away or cut to the basket. The give and go option is one of the easiest and most effective fundamental opportunities, especially against aggressive defense.


Email:
baseballer2k@aol.com
Response Type:
Date:
12/21/00

Question

I have a point guard in new york who is definitely the best in the city, he's 11 years old right now and in 6th grade, hes projected as a varsity player by 8th grade,at least those are the plans of the coaching staff. The kid gets by with quickness no one his age has. sometimes he plays out of control. my question is what to do with this young potential star, what things do i work on with this kid to get him ready to reach his potential in the future. right now he plays 14 and under basketball, so he is playing up. what does he need to prepare for?

Answer

I do not doubt your claims of his ability, but I see warning flags all through your message. First, throw all the projections out the window. They're hype. I hear that stuff, too, like the doctor's say this kid'll be 7'2". Yeah, right. I don't believe I've seen any of these come true. The problem I see is that everyone is telling this kid how good he is and will be, pumping up that 11 year old ego. The fact is that he is ahead of his age-group, but his peers will begin to catch up to him. He won't improve in a linear fashion year after year. Such projections are unrealistic. What is more likely is that he will feel like he's getting worse every year and will feel more and more pressure to meet expectations. Lord knows how parents will react. The coaches will take heat, for sure. If the youngster is pressured and consumed with basketball training that is out of proportion to his real life, you may see him drop out of the sport altogether in a couple years. That's a real possibility you need to consider. I've seen it happen before. The answer is to keep some balance in his life, and hopefully he has strong parents that maintain discipline and respect for authority in their household. Insofar as basketball is concerned, if he is already playing up, teach him the game as you would the older players. He needs to learn to control the ball and play basketball as a game, not a showcase for his talents.

There is an article on the site called Dealing With Superstars. You might try that, too. I wish you the best on this one.


Email:
akmtjoy@hotmail.com
Response Type:
Date:
12/21/00

Question

I am a coach looking fore info on temples 'robber" matchup 2-3 zone defense (how to teach it in it's basic form). help would be appreciated. thanks, coach bill

Answer

Best source for specific plays and defense patterns is Coach Jackson's site. My offerings are geared toward young teams. Try http://www.geocities.com/ljacksonesc5/acoach.html


Email:
WSimolike@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
12/13/00

Question

Coach: I can't get Coach Jackson's site. I keep getting a Lycos Tripod site when I type in his address. Is something up? Has something changed? Help!

Answer

Coach Jackson's popular site is back up  and can be found at: http://www.geocities.com/ljacksonesc5/acoach.html


Email:
scallan@dellmail.com
Response Type:
Date:
12/20/00

Question

 I would like to get as much information on how to break a full-court press?

Answer

The article on this site "Press Breaker" explains my methodology for breaking full court pressure defenses.


Email:
RAE3692@AOL.com
Response Type:
Date:
12/20/00

Question

Question: I have volenteered to coach my daughters 3rd/4th grade girls basketball team in a after school league. Looking for advice on what the main focus should be to help develope future skills and instill confidence in the children.


Email:
autumnwin@aol.com
Response Type:
Date:
12/12/00

Question

Question why am I unable to get the articles listed under the headings in your topics menu. As an example: When I go to the topics menu and scroll down to, let's say, "Basic Skills". a number of articles or blue "links" show up. When I click on the "links" nothing happens. I assume an article should be displayed. Maybe I've been bopped too many times during practice(s)... LOL Thanks Coach Mac

Answer

Private email sent 12/12/00.


Email:
Response Type:
Date:
12/12/00

Question

How can I improve in a month by shooting around the three point line and shooting free throws

Answer

How much practice time do you have in a month? If you are practicing daily, prognosis is good. You have time introduce proper form and reinforce it with lots of repetition. Then, after some competency is established, practice under competitive conditions. With free throws, after you have laid down a foundation through repetition, practice FTs in twos while running your conditioning.

If you are only practicing once a week, the best you can do is introduce the fundamentals, then encourage the kids to work on their own. Long range shooting is very dependent on skill and concentration. These attributes are not acquired quickly.


Email:
Response Type:
Date:
12/12/00

Question

Question: whats the best play you got?

Answer

Plays are very situational. The most effective play I use is the baseline out of bounds play called box-low. It works very effectively. As a offensive set, the on this site called Simplified Triangle has proven very versatile.


Email:
akmtjoy@hotmail.com
Response Type:
Date:
12/10/00

Question

Question: looking for information on how to install Temples matchup zone (robber) in high school. will return favor. coach bill. please reply asap. thanks.

Answer

My apologies. I don't anything developed on Temple's matchup. Try http://members.tripod.com/~cldj34/acoach.html which is the url to Coach Jackson's site. He may have what you need.


Email:
taerotech@feist.com
Response Type:
Date:
12/11/00

Question

How many times typically, do you have to teach a play, for it to stick? Also, I have players that don't seem very motivated to play but, by Biddy rules they half to play at least (1) quarter. Any suggestions?

Answer

Sometimes it seems like maybe 100,000 repetitions won't be enough. The kids develop a game pattern very early and it can be very hard to break. If your kids are really young, then it could be a couple things - 1, they don't really understand the play very well or 2, you need to practice the skill under more game like conditions. When you scrimmage, stop them as soon as they deviate and correct. Another tool is to get in the game yourself (if you can play). I find I can direct the team easily as the coach/player (with 9th/10th graders). Its useful when you need to demonstrate game pace or style.

I don't know how old your players are. If you are coaching elementary kids, keep the minutes fairly equal, even if the kids don't "put out" in practice. If they feel the team belongs to them and if they believe that they have a chance to win, the motivation should be inherent. It just need to be a rewards-based motivation, not punitive. Remind them how they felt the last time they won and praise them when they do basic skills well.


Email:
scallan@dellmail.com
Response Type:
Date:
12/11/00

Question

How to break a full court press? Some good shooting drills?

Answer

Both topics are addressed on this site. Check the topic menu for Press Breaker and Basic Skills articles.

Email:
kendallpm@home.com
Date:
11/29/00

Question

Please define the term "roll player". In your opinion does it have "teaching" value or is it strictly a fan's term? Is it the same as a "spot" player. Is it the opposite of an impact player or star player? When did it start being used? Thanks

Answer

The term is role player. Its used like a role in a play. Some players have special talents, like rebounding or three-point shooting, so they are inserted at times when those talents are most needed. Another way the term role player is used is to describe players that do not play much and don't have a particular talent. In this case, their role is to work hard as practice dummies and sit patiently on the bench without complaining during games. You can probably sense my dislike for labeling players this way. I can see the value of role players in advanced competition (like college and pro) but with the younger kids its pretty arrogant of a coach to assign children with such a role. Let them play basketball. Its a game.

An impact player is one that dramatically changes the way his/her team plays. A star player is generally a scorer, which I feel is another unbalanced label attributed to a single facet of the game.


Email:
sandra_number9@basketball.com
Response Type:
Date:
11/30/00

Question

There's gonna be a world tournament for juniors (thats what i think) in Spain in june, does anyone know if the United States will participate? Our team is goin and im really looking forward to it! holla back and tell me if the national team of the us (born 85-84 boys or girls or older) are goin to Spain to play the world tournament...


Email:
jake_halli@hotmail.com
Date:
12/4/00

Question

Okay I am in 7th Grade we just played a game and got our butts kicked and the way we play looks our best. The Coach is only worried about how good we look like if we don't all have a white t-shirt under our uniform we won't be able to play. and he also runs these wierd plays that are so confusing that even we can't understand but their are 2 plays that are easy Motion and Pic and Roll but he never lets us use them and if we give a suggestion he gets all mad at us for telling him how to run his team. so i am just wondering if their is anyway to win or are we stuck. Thank you for reading this. Jake Halli

Answer

Thanks for your note, Jake. On the T shirt issue, your coach is just following the rules. Most leagues and even the high school rule books specify T shirt restrictions. Your coach's plays may seem weird, but give them a chance. They won't work if the players won't execute them. In your basketball career, you may have many coaches. Take what you can from each. This coach may offer you knowledge that will pay off later on. The only thing that bothered me is that you can't offer ideas. Maybe your coach feels you're just arguing with him. Try doing it his way then see if he is more likely to listen to you. Player communication is real important and you all need to make it work.


Email:
kpseashell@aol.com
Response Type:
Date:
11/27/00

Question

How can I find a copy of the High School Basketball Rule Book?

Answer

Hi - you can order the basketball rule book on-line at
http://www.onlinesports.com/pages/I,CR-189002.html or you can check with your local youth basketball organization. Too bad you can't get it free.


Email:
ben@bpettus.com
Response Type:
Date:
11/28/00

Question

Question: I'm looking for an article about 1/2 court press - offense and defense.

Answer

OK - it's on the list of future articles. Thanks for the idea!


Email:
angie-cornett@n2cats.com
Response Type:
Date:
11/27/00

Question

How do you teach aggressiveness to your team?

Answer

Aggressiveness is a personal attribute. It's difficult to apply it to someone that simply is passive. You can break a person down to survival mode to induce aggressiveness, but do not recommend anything so drastic for basketball. If you want an aggressive team, pick aggressive players. If you already have a passive team, teach them to play smart. There are many very good players that prefer to think their way through conflict. I can deal with passive, but not submissive. The nature of competition is to excel and to win. Sometimes certain players need to learn to stand up for themselves. A team environment can help them do that. If they understand how badly the team needs a rebound. for instance, it should be motiviation enough to go get it. Sometimes a game provides an emotional moment that will galvanize a passive player. The coach's challenge is to help the player channel game emotion into useful energy rather than frustration or despair.

One thing I do not recommend are drills like throwing a ball into a circle players and seeing who comes up with it. Much to much risk of injury.

I don't believe a coach will have much success changing personality traits. Some players are inherently more aggressive than others. It is a good wake up call sometimes to tell a player that they are playing too "soft" and therefore won't be getting much playing time or will not be making the team. Then you may see behavior change if the player really wants to be on the floor.

Sometimes coaches mistake smartness for softness. I put a great value in players that avoid conflicts such as driving through traps, because they know that they
have nothing to gain and something to lose. Its much safer to pass the ball under pressure than drive through it. Such a player may not be as exciting to watch, but the turnover count is lower when unnecessary risks are avoided.


Email:
dixiecowboy69@hotmail.com
Response Type:
Date:
11/24/00

Question

What is the best way to play offence against a man-to-man defence?

Answer

It depends on the type of man to man you are up against. Usually, I like to run a motion type offense (See the "Alaska Play" on this site). Another effective offense is the Simplified Triangle also shown here. If the defense is really gambling and pushing you far from the basket, try the four corner offense shown in the Stalls section. You can score easily with that 4-corner offense if the defense is willing to venture away from the goal.


Email:
AndMicAle@aol.com
Response Type:
Date:
11/24/00

Question

Each night that we have our league games, we want to end the evening with some fun drills, activities and contests for third and fourth grade boys. Do you have any suggestions on some things that would be fun and help develop or encourage basketball skills? We were thinking of Knock Out but would like several other ideas that would be appropriate for this age. Thanks.

Answer

Sounds like fun. Look in my pre-game warmup article un der the headline "The Drills" and try the drill called Long Short. Keep score as 2 points for each long basket made and 1 point for each layup. The kids call out the score as they go. Set a limit of, oh, 15 points. First team to 15 wins, then rotate the teams to the next spot. Forst team to win three gamaes wins the match. Great fun and easy to teach. Skills reinforced are shooting form and concentration.


Email:
wnorcro1@txu.com
Date:
11/20/00

Question

I will start keeping stats on my son's 9th grade and 6th teams. Any tips on stat software, stat books and stat junkies.

Answer

Someone after my own heart! I love stats. Great memorabilia for the kids. Look at the article Downloadable Tools and get the shot chart. Its the basis. There's also a scoresheet. Our varsity team uses the Turbostat device ($400), but I like taking data off the shot chart. If you have FileMaker Pro, I'll send you my stat database and you can use as you wish.


Email:
sandra_number9@basketball.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
11/18/00

Question

hi! my question is: "what makes a complete second guard and now i mean EVERYTHING both in defense and in offense????" could you please send me your answer to my e-maill address: sandra_number9@basketball.com thanx!!!/ sandra

Answer

In most teams, the 2-guard is a primary shooter. So, I would expect higher than average shooting skills and free throw consistency. Also, the 2 guard should be able to play point sometimes and pass well, too. Defensively, I expect all players to perfect their man to man responsibilities, so there no is no special role for the 2... its really an offensive designation.


Email:
imigz@worldnet.att
Response Type:
Date:
11/15/00

Question

How far is the free throw line from the basket?

Answer

Yes! An easy question! The answer is 15 feet. But that is 15 feet from the free throw line to the backboard to be exact. I found a very cool site that has a great diagram of the whole court and its particulars. Just go to http://www.handymanwire.com/articles/basketballcourt.html and check it out.


Email:
abarae@aol.com
Response Type:
Date:
11/12/00

Question

I need some information on your job availability.

Answer

I am not sure if you are looking for help or looking for work. Please email me at sjordan@alaskalife.net - Steve


Email:
BradJW75@cs.com
Date:
11/12/00

Question

I would like to know what type of 1-3-1 offensive sets I can run with a girls middle school team?

Answer

There are a couple plays in the Easy Offensive Sets article that start in the 1-3-1. I am planning to add some more plays soon, but if you are in immediate need of more than I have to offer for plays, I encourage you to visit Coach Jackson's Page. He has more plays listed than any site I have seen.


Email:
bbasketball33@hotmail.com
Response Type:
Date:
11/10/00

Question

I play basketball for my school I want to know how i can learn more moves and faster dribbling. Please help reply back as "basketball"

Answer

Thanks for your question asking for more moves and faster dribbling. As a coach, though, I must tell you that one of the first things I discourage is players dribbling the ball too much. Excessive dribbling leads to turnovers, even if the ball handler is skilled. I want players to pass. The ball moves faster, safer and transfers from player to player. Dribbling is a very singular skill, not a team skill.

Ball handling skills are very important, don't get me wrong. You have probably seen teams that had no point guard or that lost the ball frequently. For that reason, we practice hard every day on the basic ball handling things - cross overs, fakes, step backs - you probably know of these moves. If you want to practice avoiding steals, invite 2 or 3 younger kids in your neighborhood to try and take the ball from you as you dribble. They'll have fun and its a challenge exercise for you. For moves to the hole, the best way is to go 1:1 with different people. Analyze their individual strengths/weaknesses and exploit them. Watch college and pro players. If you see an interesting move, practice solo until you get it down, then try it on your friends.


Email:
lirx22@aol.com
Response Type:
Date:
11/6/00

Question

What is an easy play for an elementary school team?

Answer

Try the Easy Offensive Sets article. It has plays that young kids can run and learn quickly.


Email:
lirx22@aol.com
Response Type:
Date:
11/6/00

Question

Question: will tubby smith send me a play - UK RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Answer

OK, Tubby, send him a play...


Email:
shandrah@safemail.cc
Response Type:
Date:
11/6/00

Question

What would you suggest as a really good play for High School students?

Answer

I like simple plays. They are easy to teach and once learned can be perfected over time. Try the article Easy Offensive Sets. Also look at the Alaska Play for something more advanced.


Email:
Sweetie_pie129@hotmail.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
11/6/00

Question

Question: How can I get my team to be more together, like a team, instead of fighting?

Answer

The best way to unite a group of people is to give them a common enemy. How equal is your playing time? Are the kids competing for minutes? I counter that by playing everyone about the same. Do you have parity in your league. If winning is too easy or too hard, the kids may turn their frustration inward. So, my answer is to get them to unite against a common foe or problem. Maybe even something outside the basketball venue.


Email:
jjloftin@simflex.com
Response Type:
Date:
11/1/00

Question

Question: Hi, I am a coach from Wilson, NC. I was wondering how could I get my players more recognition. I'm also interested in teaching my players better defensive skills. As a 2nd year coach, I'm eager to learn more from a coaching standpoint. Look to hear from you soon!!

Answer

For recognition ideas, I suggest you try my baseball site, Bartlett Baseball, at www.alaskalife.net/sjordan The kids loved the internet newsletter about all their games (includes pictures). Once you have such a presence, you can invite scouts and coaches to check it out. Worked for us. Ideally, you need a couple parents to pull it off, but kids can help. Its fun.

I just posted a short defensive piece on ChalkTalk (www.worldofsports.com):

My points of emphasis in teaching m2m are:

1. If your man has the ball, you should should be applying as much pressure as possible without fouling. You win the battle if you get the dribbler to stop, preferably by herding the ballhandler into a corner or sideline. Steals are not the goal. Steals are a nice-to-have. When steals are the goal, you will have fouls and players out of position.

2. If your man catches a pass, its your fault. You (the player, of course) should feel personally responsible if the player you are defending receives the basketball. The closer your man is to the ball, the more intensely you need to defend the passing lane. When your man is close to the ball, be between your man and the ball so the only way he can get the pass is if its lobbed over your head and behind you.

3. If your man is far from the ball, cheat (sag in the key) so you can help out if a dribbler breaks free. If you are cheating, a long pass to your man won't hurt you. You will have time to run to your man and cover him. Also, if you're cheating correctly, a long pass to your man will be to an area away from the basket, like the corner, where danger is low.

4. All players should watch for lob passes. They are the food that feeds the defense (not steals off the dribbler). Ballhandlers under pressure that find defenders between them and their intended recipients will throw long passes. The defenders behind those passes should anticipate and intercept. Once the players catch on to this concept, they'll be picking off long passes and loving it.

5. Good ballhandlers under intense pressure will be able to drive around the defender. That's a fact of life. The next closest defender must immediately step up and stop or slow the dribbler so his man can recover. When help comes very quickly, the ballhandler will usually stop. Return to your own man.

6. Do not double team. If you want to kill your defense, just leave your man and go double team the ball in open court. Most of the time your man will be wide open, get the pass, and the imbalance will result in a basket. Help as needed, then return. If your teammate has the ball under control, let him do his job and make sure your man doesn't get a pass.

There are other important elements to m2m, but for young teams, I'd focus on above for team m2m defense. Principles apply full court m2m or 1/2 court. When teams are lax in defending passing lanes, there is no real pressure because the ballhandler always has someone to pass to. Accept the risk of playing in the passing lane. The result will be many lob passes that your next line of defense will get. That's the team concept in man to man. Its not an individual approach at all - man to man is somewhat of a misnomer that way.


Email:
AndMicAle@aol.com
Date:
10/31/00

Question

We are getting a group of fourth grade boys started in a recreational league for the first time. What are your feelings about using a ball that is smaller than a women's size? We don't have the option of lowering the hoops so were hoping to gain better shooting form and ball handling skills by using a smaller ball. Thanks for your great site! We refer to it almost daily!!

Answer

I think its a good idea to use the smaller ball. I've seen too many kids with distorted shooting styles to feel otherwise. Some kids arrive at high school tryouts still trying to generate shots from their hips. It takes a lot of strength to shoot a regulation basketball at a 10' basket. A smaller ball will make the game more like basketball for the younger kids and let them concentrate on learning the game instead of struggling to shoot, pass and catch.


Email:
mcmediate@msn.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
10/29/00

Question

I will be keeping the statistics for a high school girls basketball team. What is the technical definition of "assist". I cannot find it in the rules. Thanks for your help.

Answer

I'll quote the NCAA Basketball Staticians' Manual (which one may buy on the NCAA website for $4.50).

"A player is credited with an assist when the player makes, in the judgement of the statistician, the principal pass contributing directly to a field goal ..." The gist of it is that if a player finds a teammate free and provides the ball for a score, an assist is awarded. It doesn't matter if the shooter dribbles afterwards, and it doesn't matter if its an inbounds play - its still an assist. The main exception is if the shooter makes a significant move to get free after receiving the ball. In that case, the move replaces the pass as the principal contributor to making the shot possible.


Email:
illson2002@yahoo.com
Response Type:
Date:
10/27/00

Question

A friend and I coach a girls basketball team. We are in a girls highschool league, but many of the girls have never played before. I have played organized basketball for many years, but can't seem to get the basics in their heads. Sometimes I feel I am explaining things simply, but other times I think I am speaking too complex for them to understand. I have to explain to them what it means to bring down the ball. We try to teach simple concepts, but nothing seems to work. We are a church organization with lack of funds to purchase equipment like basketballs and uniforms. Do you have any suggestions on teaching the game and finding funds. Thank you fo your time..COACH&COACH

Answer

My three teaching points are explain, show and listen. The listen part is where they teach you (or one another). You'll pick up real fast on where the confusion is once they explain what they know. Another thing... break the game down into 2 on 2 and 3 on 3. Basketball is rarely 5 on 5 play. Even in our games there will be two defensive players sagging in the key at any given time. Passing skills are easier to learn than ballhandling, so teach them to break presses and move up the court by passing. Teach them to pass before they are in trouble, keep passes short and crisp, and do not pass to people who are standing still. If they pass well your turnovers will decrease dramatically. The basic offensive skills in this site will offer much more.

For fund raising, think of your team as a little company. Brainstorm with the players about skills or services they have to offer. Fundraising can be a team builder and a money maker. I don't think you need me here. A little imagination and work and you can make more money than you think.


Email:
hoop.papa@verizon.net
Response Type:
Date:
10/26/00

Question

I've been instructing players to do wall-sits. I wanted to know if this a good idea? Does this contribute to injuries?

Answer

You didn't say how old your players are. I think that would make a big difference. When they are in that fast growing stage I am really reluctant to stress their knees and shins. I have seen kids suffer with shin splints and similar ailments to the point where they cannot play. If your kids are very young, like elementary age, I'd just let them condition by playing the game. The middle school players can get more serious - but be careful. The maturity rates are wildly different among the players. In high school, the kids can safely train with supervised weight lifting. As far as wall sits, they create quite a burn in the thighs, but I worry about knee/shin stress.


Email:
AndMicAle@aol.com
Response Type:
Date:
10/24/00

Question

At what age is weight training appropriate and beneficial? Are there guidelines for youths? My 12 year old would like to start a program in the off season but I'm wondering if he's too young. Thank you.

Answer

You need to be careful here. 12 year olds are still growing. Several areas of their skeletal systems are still developing. I believe that weights offer a significant advantage to athletes who train with them, but that should take place when athletes have relatively mature bodies. Would light weight workouts be beneficial? Probably, but I worry that the risk is too high because kids being kids, might over do it.


Date:
10/25/00

Question

what is the secondary fast break?

Answer

Its generally good practice to get the ball to an outlet to initiate a fast break, them move the ball to the middle while other players fill the outside lanes. That's the primary break. The secondary break is what happens next. If the fast break layup isn't available, the offensive players already have a plan. Without hesitating, they move to assigned places and begin a quick play. The primary break flows right in to the secondary break. You can run your fast break to secondary as a drill for both conditioning and practice. Ideally, its the natural way the players bring the upcourt and setup. Primary, secondary then if that doesn't generate a shot, run the offensive pattern.


Email:
Donfam@msn.com
Response Type:
Date:
10/22/00

Question

Question: hello coach i am 14 years old my name is jared and i am from brooklyn new york.. i have a question i just started my 9th grade chruch leauge and i am playing horbilble turnovers,getting fouled out, techs, kicking chairs and last year i averged 15 points and 7 assists this year i can hardly dribble up the court without getting the ball stripped or thrwoing a bad pass... it very fustrating and i need some help...would u please help me thank you very much

Answer

Jared, I can tell that you are very frustrated. Of course, I have not seen you play, so I am going to guess at the problem and hope I can help. OK, last year you had good numbers and you must have felt successful. Its my bet that during the off season you did a lot of thinking and dreaming about how this year was going to be even better. But in reality, you're playing bigger and more experienced players. Maybe some have improved more than you - which is natural. So, when you don't get the results you expected, you try harder and harder but things just get worse. All the symptoms you described, fouls, technicals, losing your temper ... those are all signs of somebody trying too hard and getting frustrated.

So, how does it get better? First, you need to lighten up. Basketball is a game, not a job. You succeed by playing, not by overworking. Do things that are fun, and stop measuring yourself by the numbers. You can't force the stats anyway. But, if you just forget all that and play, the numbers will come back. Players who set targets of points per game will get frustrated. A made basket is just the final element of a basketball play. Usually other players had a part in making it happen.

Instead of trying to do great things, try to make your teammates look good. Are they all standing around when you have the ball? Its a sure sign they expect you to force something. Try giving up the ball and go down and set a screen for your post guy so he can get free. Encourage your other players to shine and take the attention away from yourself. Soon, you will be taking pleasure in the teamwork that basketball offers and your numbers will improve without you realizing it. Good luck, Jared.


Email:
Poz_51@email.com
Date:
10/23/00

Question

In Australia because of the structure of things we base our offensive structures around motion concepts. This I believe has led to the disappearance of the point guard in our game. Do you agree that motion leads to the need not to have point players?

Answer

Nope, don't agree that motion offense negates the need for point players. Point guard is a special position - close and dear to my heart. Teams that have a quarterback have an advantage in most any offense. The PG is a floor leader. He sets the tempo. He gets the ball in the right person's hands at the proper time. He/she is the primary ball handler and minimizes your team's turnovers. If you're blessed with great ball handlers, the PG role may be blurred. But, what I see anymore is many teams with no point guard. In fact, it seems the number of true point guards is shrinking every year. Most young players want to be scorers, and that is a fine thing to be. The thing is, if you populate your team with only scorers, chances are the team won't click. There is internal competition for points.

Point guards and post players ... they are roles our kids do not gravitate to. So, my opinion is that kids who develop those skills will have a special place as long as there are coaches smart enough to recruit and use them.


Email:
ECSROWEN@livjm.co.uk
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
10/17/00

Question

Hi, Could you give me some information about a 10min teaching episode which meets the following criteria 1. Development of a skill to be used in a tactic or the teaching of attacking & defending at the same time 2. Demonstration of this teaching in conditioned games

Answer

Well, it sounds to me like your asking for a breakdown session. That's where you isolate a facet of basketball and rehearse/refine it with the mininum number of players required. I like three man drills. You can practice 3 vs 3 with as many restrictions or focus elements you want. For instance, we may break in to 4 teams of 3 and create a mini tournament where players are only allowed to use a pick and roll. For such a session, we would discuss the activity near a basket, then demonstrate it. Then I'd have players participate and correct actions as needed. Sometimes I challenge the players to teach the play. Anyway, afterwards we compete for fun and learning.


Email:
AndMicAle@aol.com
Date:
10/16/00

Question

Do you have any guidelines for youth coaches as far as what to expect from kids at each different age? Should they be able to dribble with both hands, look up while dribbling, set good screens, understand a certain number of plays, have good shooting form, understand and execute the triple threat position, etc.? We are coaching boys in grades 4-6 and would like to know what expectations we should have for them and what they should expect from themselves without being discouraged. Thank you.

Answer

Everything you mentioned is possible. Shooting form may be the toughest for the smaller kids. They may need to bring the ball down before they shoot just to get the strength to launch. However, there is no reason that the ball handling skills can't be pretty well developed. At that age (12), the kids should be able to dribble and do layups with either by the end of the season. There will never be an easier time for them to learn. If they wait until ninth grade, it'll be harder to learn and they'll be behind. Also, they should understand screens and plays off the screen, such as pick and roll.

You didn't mention defense. The kids should understand man to man defensive play, including help defense, pass prevention, sagging without the ball, keeping sight of the ball and the man - all the points covered in the article Pressure Defense.

Try and get the kids to run the floor in lanes during the fast breaks. If they understand how to fill the outside lines and use the whole floor that would be great, too.

So, can you develop all this in grades 4 to 6? I think so. I've seen some really well coached team at the 6th grade level, so keep your expectations high. Good luck, coach.


Date:
10/10/00

Question

Question: how to dribble

Answer

Look in the topics menu (upper right). There is a section titled OFFENSE and under that, and article called "Basic Skills" If you read that, you will see what I have already written about dribbling.


Email:
Scooterbug05@aol.com
Response Type:
Date:
10/12/00

Question

Question: Where can i find a site that will explain how a basketball is correctly shot??

Answer

There are two sites on my links page that you should check first.

  1. Tom Norland's site SWISH - a Guide to Shooting 
  2. Tom Lynch's Basketball World - emphasis is on shooting.


Email:
www.charli129@hotmail.com
Response Type:
Date:
10/12/00

Question

Question: How do you play basketball?

Answer

Not very well anymore. Too old. It was  great fun for the 25 years I did play, though. Now coaching is the best way I can enjoy the game.


Email:
basketball@davidsmail.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
10/12/00

Question

Question: Dear Coach, I am a freshman at a small college. In the summer I coach a AAU basketball team. I have some players how want to play in college, how do I contact the college coaches. I would also try to play a ta higher level. I have the stats and abilty like my players to do so. thanks for helping me?

Answer

I received similar questions last spring, so I added a page with just links to college information sites and camp sites. You can click on the blue text here or look for College Camps and Info in the topics menu.


Email:
jnonz-amen@angelfire.com
Response Type:
Date:
10/5/00

Question

Question: Hello!!! I never play basketball since I have the knowledged of the world. Now I'm already nineteen years old and have less confident because I felt something is lacking and that is 'how to play basketball'. You know I want to find myself playing inside the court, but the problem is I am ashamed maybe they will belittle me. Can you teach me the basics so that I could build up my confidence? thanks!!! jaynonz

Answer

I will offer you two things. One, read the articles on this site that deal with basics. I have tried to break the game of basketball down into its simplist parts. Read the article called Analogies. It takes a look at the game from a different angle. The second idea is to become a coach yourself. You could learn a great deal about basketball and about yourself by working with young kids that know less than you, but will have a ton of questions. If you really want to learn the game, try explaining it to a child. Good luck.


Email:
Baileyrickey@hotmail.com
Response Type:
Date:
9/29/00

Question

Love your site! I've been coaching junior high and high school boys for about 5 years now and have found many useful drills and plays. My question: We face a lot of 2-3 zone in our league, and this year we don't have the shooters to beat it - any advice on how to defeat a 2-3 zone without an outside shot?

Answer

Do you have any good big guys that can play low post? In the younger leagues, big players are almost always effective if they can score under pressure. The main trick is getting them the ball. But, if you're looking to score with your guards against a packed in zone without hitting outside shots that's going to be tough. How else can you get them away from the basket? One way is go uptempo. If you increase the pace, the defense will string out. If you're slow, they'll set up early and force to you shoot long. Success in outside shooting is part technique and a big part confidence. Do what you can to keep them confident. I'd be curious to see how your team responds.


Email:
dkurle@sendit.nodak.edu
Date:
9/26/00

Question

 What is the single most important thing for a coach to do to build during the off season?

Answer

My advice here is a little radical. During the summer months, especially, give it a rest. Don't burden your players with a long summer league. Don't burden yourself and family with another long schedule. Instead, let your batteries recharge. Follow a different sport (not as a coach!). Believe me, you will come back feeling fresh, not all burnt out.

In the spring (after the normal season), its a good time to play some spring ball and get a look and some new kids. I wouldn't spend much time teaching new things. The kids are probably tired of that whole grind. Just play for fun.

In the fall, its time to prepare for the upcoming season. Use the fall leagues to see new kids and try new things - like that defense you've always been curious to try.

As a player, you can use the summer (or any of the off-season) to work on personal aspects of the game. Work on shooting, particularly the weak hand. In the fall, I like it when players run cross country to get in shape. Excellent idea. The fall is a good time to work on weights to add strength. 

So, the most important thing? Rest. Really.


Email:
MRob299193@aol.com
Date:
9/22/00

Question

Question: I've been coaching aau girls for about 2 years now, and your web site has been extremely helpful! I have a quick question for you, What is the best way to teach girls to jump? I know this sounds silly, but I'm sure there are other coaches that would like to know the answer to this. It seems instinct for girls is to play flat footed even while rebounding and shooting. What an advantage it would be to teach this skill, many girls we play do not jump either but girls who do certainly stand out. Thanks for your time and great info. Mike Roberts 8 th & 9th grade girls coach.

Answer

Recently I flew to LA and the lady sitting to me was a volleyball coach. We talked about training and the subject of jumping popped up. Her team uses an exercise where the girls jump from a flat footed stance onto a 24" platform, then hop off. They do this in sets based on time, like 30 seconds, then work up. She feels it gave them significant improvements. I thought I'd try it with the high school boys this season. Other than that, weight training is a big plus.


Email:
coachcan1@aol.com
Response Type:
Date:
9/22/00

Question

Question: need a basic offense to run with Junior high age particularly against zones

Answer

Go to the article called Easy Offensive Sets. There are a couple of good, yet easy-to-learn, plays that work against zone. Also, try the new article, Continuous Plays.


Email:
c-dewitt@uiuc.edu
Response Type:
Date:
9/7/00

Question

Question: I have been trying to find advice for a boy about to enter organized high school sports. In asking friends I have collected a number of suggestions which might capture the type of thing I have in mind:

--------------------------------

Remember the coach isn't your buddy. The coach is the coach.

The coach is always right. (Unless he is really crazy, and then you don't want to be playing for him.)

Nobody likes a complainer, don't complain and just accept your fate if you aren't the star of the team or if things are going badly this season.

The team is the thing. If you end up being a blocker for the star, or the assist man for the guy who gets all the points, then that is life.

Cheer the other guy. If you have a problem with someone don't go talking about him behind his back, go directly to the source of the problem and speak you mind.

Give 100%, work your butt off.

Don't think you are hot stuff coming out of 8th grade onto a high school team. (Or at least until you have proved it.)

Don't get on drugs.

Don't back down when guys try to intimidate you, they want to know if you are tough enough to be there when things get bad.

You have to learn to take criticism and use it to improve. (How you manage to do this is another whole matter.)

------------------------------ Each of these, of course, has many exceptions and qualifications. But they could be beginning points of a more extensive discussion of the issues they raise. What I have in mind is social advice on how to NOT end up being the outcast of the team through being aware of proper team sport's etiquette and having good social skills for this type of situation.

I have been told that more traditional sport specific coaching books will sometimes offer similar thoughts and comments often in the context of slogans and witticisms, such as the classic: "There is no I in TEAM".

This list also could be considered to be a subset of a much more general discussion of how to get along in any male group since much of it would apply to how any male group would work. (general guy advice/ boy scout type advice/ etc) And, of course, this type of advice would also apply to girls teams to a fair degree.

Have you run across any especially good books(s)/ source(s)/ article(s)/ newsgroups/ individual(s) which/ who might be able to greatly expand on such a list for players on sports teams, both in depth and the number of items?

Please feel free to forward this question to anyone who you think might be interested.

Best Wishes, Charles DeWitt c-dewitt@uiuc.edu

Answer

Thanks. Excuse the long wait to respond, but I have been out of town on business. I will use/fwd your list for future development.


Email:
ANCHONDO34@AOL.COM
Response Type:
Date:
9/12/00

Question

Question: IS DISTANCE RUNNING A GOOD PRESEASON PROGRAM FOR CONDITIONING TO GAIN ENDURANCE OR JUST CONSTANT SPRINTING?

Answer

I ran cross country four years in high school. The basketball season started short after XC running. I thought basketball was a breeze and felt that I was very well prepared to play basketball. Now, its true that if you want to be a good distance runner, you run long and if you want to be a good sprinter you work on power and short bursts. Basketball needs both, but I think the endurance you get in distance running is more valuable because it helps you maintain pace. You don't really sprint constantly in a game, but probably spend a lot of time hopping around and running to get back on defense. More important than speed is quickness. You can do a lot of drills to help quickness, and they don't require running at all. So, I guess my point is to build an endurance base and near basketball season you will be strong enough to really work hard on your quickness and speed without getting exhausted as fast as the sprinter guys. XC runners also work on sprinting, so it is not like they are totally away from the speed aspects.


Email:
flexshot@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
9/13/00

Question

Question: How do I get an article and link added to your site. Luther Gilford

Answer

On my links page is a animated graphic that can be used as a hyperlink. The correct url to use is http://www.alaskalife.net/sjordan/notebook/ Do not include anything beyond notebook/ as a script will take care of directing the visitor past that point. If you want to have your site appear in the Coach's Notebook, all you will need to do is email me the url and any graphic you may wish to see. I will visit your site to assure suitability and I also reserve the right to shrink graphic elements if they are too big to fit the links table. As you can see, I have been fairly liberal in that regard.


Date:
8/24/00

Question

Question: what are the tactics and strategies of basketball?

Answer

I have tried to answer that question 50 some different ways. Try the article "Basic Advantages" for a start. Your tactics and strategies should be based on the experience and physical abilities of your team and the flavor of basketball the coach can best teach.


Email:
baller2@micron.net
Response Type:
Date:
8/27/00

Question

Question: This is a wonderful site!!!! My husband and I are starting our own girls traveling team. Our goal is to be competitive in AAU tournaments. What would you suggest should be including in flyers we are designing for our tryouts? We want girls that are serious about basketball and who are willing to work hard. There aren't any traveling teams representing our area (south central l.a.) and we want our flyer to be appealing to serious ball players. Any suggestions? The ages are 12u & 13u. P.S. look for me to be asking plenty of questions!!! (smile).

Answer

You're always welcome to ask questions. Sometimes I learn from them, too. You are wise to state your purpose up front - being a competitive team vs recreational. It would be fair to say you're looking for the best players the area has to offer. That should appeal to the better athletes who would appreciate the honor of belonging to an elite club. I suggest listing the tournaments you are planning to attend, how often you plan to practice (and where) and maybe a quick bio about your coaches if that helps your cause. If the players are expected to pay, be very clear about the financial commitment. Good luck.


Email:
gdewey@hollandchristian.org
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
8/5/00

Question

Question: I got into your web site and went to out of bounds plays and several other links and clicked on them and they will not open. Is there a problem with the site? Gary

Answer

Private email sent 8/6/00.


Email:
rjvlehman@prodigy.net
Response Type:
Date:
7/29/00

Question

I truly enjoy this website and check it out weekly. I am fairly new to coaching and have recently been hired to take over a girls varsity team that did not win a game last year. I am excited about the challenge. My goal is to build a program from grade school up which the school system does not currently have. I have two questions for you at this time. 1) If you could buy 1 book for coaching basketball, which one would it be. 2) I am looking for some type of motion offense that can be used against a zone or man-to-man. I know you have discussed the simplified triangle and Alaska play offense on your website. Do you feel that those are appropriate offenses to run at the high school level. Thanks much for your time and website.

Answer

1. I am currently reading a new book, "Coaching from the Heart",  by Duke's Coach K and plan to write a review on it. Coach Wooden's "Practical Modern Basketball" is very good. I wouldn't call it modern - I'd call it timeless.

2. The Alaska Play and the Simplified Triangle are appropriate for high school - I've used them at that level already. On my links page are other sites that list plays in abundance, so I am not going to try and publish many more plays unless I find/create more I really like. If your girls become confused playing by rules, as the Alaska Play is run, it may not fit. Also, you may need to develop post fundamentals and really work on passing skills to make the Simplified Triangle a success. It really depends on the level of your team. Don't be afraid of running something very simple. The important thing is how well they can run the play, not how sophisticated the play is. It always comes down to executing the basic fundamental things as I am sure you know. I wish you the best.


Email:
coachhmcrawford@aol.com
Date:
7/25/00

Question

What do you think is the defense most suited to stopping a 1-3-1 offense with a post entry as the number one option?

Answer

Hi, Coach Crawford. My answer will expose my bias towards man to man defense. I'd put a good jump/pass deflector on that middle guy. He would be dead-fronted as far as the free throw line and 3/4 fronted up to the three point line. We'd play pass denial on the two wings. That puts a big burden on my back defender. He'll need to be gambler for the lob passes to the middle man and to the wings if they try to cut inside. The point will get a lot of pressure to make passing more difficult - the same treatment the wings will get should they have the ball. If the ball is on the wing, my weak side wing defender will sag into the key. If the middle man gets the pass, I'd like my point to try and double team and see how it works out, but not the wings.

I have used this style offense against zones and it was pretty successful. Unless the opponent dedicated a man to fronting my high post, he got the ball and kicked out when the defense collapsed on him.


Email:
maker37@home.com
Date:
7/24/00

Question

A pool tourney is held to determine seedings for bracket play. 3 teams finish 3-1 team A beat team B team B beat team C team C beat team A. How would you suggest setting the brackets or seeds? Thanks for your opinion. Ed Maker

Answer

Coach Maker, In pool play, its a good idea to have tie breaker rules. The situation you described is not uncommon. Generally, if the win/loss records are equal, the
next test is point differentials. The three teams may have the same record, but if you add up each team's points scored and subtract the points scored against
them, you might get something like:
TEAM A: 18
TEAM B:   4
TEAM C   -2
So TEAM A is your number one seed and TEAM C is your number three seed, even though TEAM C may have beaten TEAM A badly. Its a fair and objective rule. If
the point differentials are exactly the same for two teams, you can say whichever team scored the most points gets the higher seed. Or, you can simply flip a coin at that point.

Its best if the tie breakers are published up front. If they weren't, just make a decision using one of these methods. If the coaches don't like it, that's their problem. Next year you'll be wiser for the experience. Good luck.


Email:
stem83@juno.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
7/21/00

Question

Why not have one offensive concept that works regardless of the defense being played? This question is in reference to your "how to beat zones; man to man; box and one; triangle and two; etc. sections. Isn't that what John Wooden did? Thanks

Answer

Sounds good to me. Why burden a team with a playbook full of offenses to run against various defenses? One of the challenges a basketball coach faces is matching an offense to the team. Considerations should include your team's experience level, previous offenses run, predominant defensive style in your league and maybe most importantly, what kind of offense does the coach know how to teach. Some coaches choose a style that works well until they are confronted by a gimmick defense - like the triangle and two - and then the offense sputters. Why? Because the defense changes the balance of the game by focusing on one or two offensive elements. In those cases, if the offense can adjust, the defense will be unusually vulnerable outside their focus. If an offense can counter a gimmick defense, the defense won't stay in it very long.

I like an offense with a simple, repeatable pattern. Players should be encouraged to score whenever they recognize a decent opening. The plays I put on this site work against man to man or zone, but may favor one or the other. Last season, we ran the Simplified Triangle explained here. It worked fine against all the teams we played, whether or not they were in a zone. They key was the pass penetration to the post and rotation to the weak side - pretty standard stuff. The team I coached before that used the Alaska Play versus man or zone. 

So, all I advocate is picking a pattern that your team can learn quickly then spend the season perfecting it. The gimmick counters are something simple you can practically sketch during a time out if you have an experienced team. For more plays, I suggest a visit to Coach Jackson's page. He's got a bunch of them.


Email:
Steady888@aol.com
Response Type:
Date:
7/9/00

Question

Question: Is there a book I could read about the differences in the psychology of coaching girls vs. boys basketball? I saw a news program wherein Mia Hamm was interviewed saying that yelling doesn't work for her. The Connecticut Coach, Auriemma, was implied as having co-authored something on the subject, but I can not find it. Anything you can recommend on this topic would be appreciated. I have already found that Mia was right, yelling DOES NOT work!

Answer

I haven't coached girls before, but I agree that yelling doesn't work. It may seem to work with boys, but I disagree that it is "good" communication. The best communication tool is having something worthwhile to say. If you do, people listen. At least the smarter ones do. It helps to keep the message short and to the point. Repeat your point by saying it a slightly different way. Use humor if you can. Don't if you can't. Be sincere. Care. Kids will listen if they believe you are willing and able to help. After all, they just want to win or to be better players. When you work with older players - like high school age - use compliments. Kids yearn for positive feedback. Often a little praise will open the door for constructive suggestions. If the only way to get your point across is to yell, then the communication skills are pretty primitive. That said, it can be frustrating working with conceited, egotistical players. A lesson from Pat Riley (Lakers, Knicks, Heat) ... you can get anything you want if you are willing to help others get what they want. The proper motivation may require investigation and soul searching, but it can be done - without yelling.

I do not have a book for you, but I will keep it in mind.


Email:
jchardy@worldnet.att.net
Date:
7/10/00

Question

Question: I don't know much about basketball, but being a Webelos Scout leader, I am learning. Some of the boys want to use basketball for their fitness activity badge, and I have to be able to ask them what the rules of the game are--just the basics, nothing too extraordinary. Do you think you could possibly let me in on the basic rules? That would be wonderful. Your help would be greatly appreciated, and I will let you know how things go with my scouts. Thanks!

Answer

Sorry for the late response, but I had a chance to do some wilderness fishing and have been gone awhile. Anyway... here are some basic things that may serve as test questions:
1. Height of basket from floor ... 10'
2. Distance from basket to free throw line ... 15'
3. Time allowed for offensive player to be in the key (painted rectangle in front of basket) ... 3 seconds
4. Number of players per team ... 5
5. Number of personal fouls permitted ... 4 - the 5th disqualifies player
6. Number of team fouls that grant opponent bonus free throws ... 7 (give opponents 1 ft plus one more if first is made). At 10 team fouls, the fouled player is granted two free throw attempts.
7. A player closely guarded in the front court must pass the ball within ... 5 seconds
8. After a made basket, the team with the ball must advance past the half court line within ... 10 seconds
9. A player who has the ball out of bounds must throw it in bounds within ... 5 seconds
10. The clock starts running when an in-bounded ball ... touches a player.

These should be some easy questions for a test! Good luck.


Email:
dalees@cableone.net
Date:
7/15/00

Question

Question: How would an exceptional high school girl's coach get to the pros?

Answer

Email sent 7/17/00.


Email:
pday@carlton.k12.mn.us
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
7/6/00

Question

Question: Any idea where I can look to find information concerning the criteria high school administrators use to determine coaching salaries. I am researching for my thesis. Thanks for any help.

Answer

I can only offer these two sites and hope that they can help you.
Basketball Jobs http://www.basketballjobs.com/
Hoop Jobs http://www.hoopjobs.com/hoopjobs/


Email:
tinstarr@earthlink.net
Date:
7/7/00

Question

Question: What are the dimensions of a basketball court?

Answer

The ideal measurements for a high school court are 50' by 84', however a court may be as long as 94', or as short as needed to fit the available space. Check the rule book published by the National Federation of State High School Association for the allowable variations. About the only fixed dimension in basketball are the height of the basket - 10' - and the distance from the basket to the free throw line - 15'.


Email:
linda_cook@timeinc.com
Date:
6/27/00

Question

Hi. We recently published Coach Mike Krzyzewski's book LEADING FROM THE HEART. Although he's the coach for Duke University Basketball, his message is very applicable to high school students, parents and teachers. The book's message is very clear, easy to read and emphasizes respect for authority, respect for the team and teamwork. May I send you a complimenatry copy of the book? Perhaps you could review it on your site and recommend it to parents who want to coach... If interested, please send me your name/address (no PO Box). Thanks. Linda Cook

Answer

Sure - send the book! Alaskans are fans of Coach K. Langdon - Boozer - go Blue Devils!


Email:
kherr@umich.edu
Response Type:
Date:
6/29/00

Question

Question: Hi Steve, have you gotten any comments on your website heading? When I pull the site up, where it use to say "Coaches Notebook" I know get HTTP ERROR 404 not found, so I can't use the scrool to go to the different areas on your site. It may just be our campus network, but if not wanted to alert you to this. Kathy Herr

Answer

Thanks for the alert ... I believe the problem is fixed. If not, please email me.


Email:
ibduman@yahoo.com
Date:
6/14/00

Question

This is the first time that I will be coaching a 9 and 10 year old basketball team. I was wondering if you could suggest certain drills for the kids to help them with their dribbling, coordination etc. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Ruben

Answer

Try the topics menu, under the heading -OFFENSE - and you'll see an article called Basic Skills. In that article is a section on dribbling. It contains drills and teaching points appropriate for your team's age group. We practice ball handling every day at the high school level. You should encourage your players to work on their skills on their own time as well as your practice time. When they are older, if they cannot protect the ball and be trusted with it, they won't get to touch it very much. For some inspirational ball handling drills, try Steph's page ... Steph's Dribbling Drills.


Date:
6/11/00

Question

Question: what type of g.p.a. do you have to have to get into a university

Answer

It really depends on which school you wish to attend. You may have a local community college that will take anyone who can pay tuition. But, if you plan to attend a large university, there will be entrance standards for high school GPA and SAT scores. These standards are posted in their handbooks, or usually on their web sites. If you are hoping to play sports, it may be even tougher. Major college sports programs put a huge investment into their athletes. They can't afford their players to be declared athletically ineligible halfway through the year. So, recruiters and coaches always ask, "What do his or her grades look like?" very early in any conversations they have. Frankly, if you have a 2.0 in high school, your academic survival potential  in college isn't looking very promising. I think you'd want to be a minimum of 3.0 to even be considered by most well-known schools. Remember, college is a very competitive environment. Coaches have many, many players to choose from. So, work hard for good grades in high school - your competition is trying to get better grades than you.


Email:
onongn@excite.com
Date:
6/8/00

Question

Question: How can I get better with my basketball skills?

Answer

Practice, practice, practice. Even when you get in an informal pickup game, work on your skills. There's plenty of advice on this site and in the sites listed on the links page to keep you busy working on fundamentals.


Email:
korn40033@yahoo.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
6/2/00

Question

I am a basketball player in high school and i want to be better. What is a training program you would suggest to do in the off season. Like how many (foul shots, 3pointers, 2pointers, and lay-ups) I should do a day to be good this next year so I might get some playing time.

Answer

You're off to a good start already. I like your attitude. Don't worry about a certain number of shots, but practice regularly and keep track of your progress. For example, on FTs, chart your progress so you can see improvement over time. Its more fun that way, too. If you work on jumpers, don't scatter your shots. Pick a few places and get expert at them. Practice getting maximum height on each shot. If practicing gets boring, stop. Basketball should be fun. One important thing, though. Work on conditioning. Run cross country for your school team. You will get in such good shape that basketball will be easy. You will have a big advantage at the start of the season.


Email:
HQuint
Response Type:
Date:
6/6/00

Question

I would like to find out as much information as possible on the Princeton offense. I am a high school basketball coach that is very interested in the Princeton offense.

Answer

I love the way Princeton plays. For play info, though, I will send you over to my colleague, Coach Larry Dean Jackson. His site has an amazing collection of documented plays. If you don't see what you want, email him. He is really helpful. You can find his site at http://members.tripod.com/~cldj34/acoach.html 


Date:
5/25/00

Question

What is the shell defense?

Answer

The shell drill is a well known and very effective means of teaching defensive rotation principles. It is such an important coaching tool I devoted an entire chapter to it. Just select "Shell Drill" from the topics menu or click here.


Date:
5/25/00

Question

What is the triangle offensive play?

Answer

The triangle offense, made popular by the Chicago Bulls, is a flexible, single-post oriented offense scheme best utilized by experienced players. There is a chapter in the offense section entitled "Simplified Triangle Offense". Read that and you will know what I know.


Email:
dnguyen2k@yahoo.com
Date:
5/22/00

Question

How do I grow taller? I'm 5'6, and how to I get skinnier legs to drive faster because my muscle in my legs are getting more buff and prevents me from driving faster.

Answer

Be proud of the body you have. Each body style has advantages and disadvantages. The skinny kids are probably jealous of your buff legs and they can't even hope to compete with you on rebounds if you learn to box out well. You are like a rock to them. They can't move you. Taller would be nice, but there is no way I know of to extend your height. But - you can learn to play smarter and use your body to its fullest potential. On driving, instead of trying to simply blast past people, use misdirection to fool them. Use your eyes and jab steps to make the defense lean left when you want to go right. Develop your cross over dribble skills to the point where you can change direction instantly. Work hard on your outside shot so the defense must respect it. That way you will draw them close to you when you are far from the basket and you can manipulate the defense more easily.

The most powerful basketball weapon you can develop is the ability to make sound decisions - understand the game. The next most important thing is to be in shape. After that, skills such as ball handling and shooting. Height is waayyy down the list of things that make up  a good basketball player.


Email:
altaeehh@sbu.ac.uk
Response Type:
Date:
5/24/00

Question

Do you have any information about measuring aerobic system and body composition in basketball.  thanks

Answer

Nope. Sorry.


Date:
5/20/00

Question

Question: How much do coaches make a year

Answer

This question came up a while ago. I'll reprint my answer here

Well, that depends on what level of basketball you coach, doesn't it? Most coaches work for free (like me). I have heard of a few high school coaching salaries around the country and they varied from $2,000 to $10,000 and that's if they weren't exaggerating. I expect that college coaching salaries vary wildly. Some prominent college coaches take home some significant cash, but you need to consider that they are running a substantial business.

Date:
5/7/00

Question

I coach boys basketball and soccer anywhere from 5th grade through high school seniors. I have seen a large increase in the amount of testicular injuries to young athletes. At what age should boys begin to wear a jockstrap? How can you convince them to do so?

Answer

I do not doubt your claim at all, but your question made me try to think of similar cases. Of all the basketball teams I've coached, I can't recall such an injury. The most common injuries I've seen are ankle twists, knee twists or bruising, floor burns, jammed fingers and collisions. I think, however, that boys should start wearing protective gear like jockstraps even at the 5th grade level. The best way to implement their use is to tell the parents you want the kids to wear them and you expect them to be part of the game and practice apparel. The parents will enforce their use. 

I also suggest use of mouth guards (all ages). Injury from elbows or unseen basketballs can be prevented.


Email:
cdee05@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
5/4/00

Question

Yes, I am a 20 year old college student who loves basketball, playing and coaching. I really do not know how to break into the field. I am a finance major at at OU. I did coach a summer camp last summer, youth, ages 5-12 and really loved it. They are not needing anyone outside of their regular staff this year and I am wanting to coach. I have played sports since I was 5 years old and was All-State 3 years in a row in high school. It seems like a part of me is missing when I'm not playing or involved with sports but it seems like it's not a lucrative profession to pursue. Also, I don't really know how to go about getting a degree that would enable me to coach, except maybe a physical education major, and that, I feel is too risky as far as me being marketable if coaching doesn't pan out. I am looking for coaching jobs this summer and have coached and played basketball and soccer. Please give me advice and any contacts you might have in my area.

Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you.

Ryan :

Answer

Private email sent 5/4/00.


Email:
kherr@umich.edu
Date:
5/1/00

Question

I coached a 7/8 grade girls basketball team last season. The team was ten players in grade 6 and 7, so we had some real competition! The problem? My tallest player is 5' 6. The last team we played consisted of 15 players the shortest was my height 5' 7". I know this will be a disadvantage next season, but my kids are tough and follow directions well. We managed to win 4 of 8 games last season which gave us the opportunity to play in playoffs at the end of the season (you have to have a 500 season to participate). The team we played killed us, and the coach at half time (although 20 points up) said he was sorry but had to play his first string so he could be competitive the next day ( why are guys so cruel?). Your suggestions on how a small team can take advantage of tall players would be appreciated. Many thanks! Coach Herr

Answer

Basketball favors taller teams. I can't change that. John Wooden was pretty clear about it. He said, "When both teams are tired, the tall players will still be tall." However, its rare that two two teams are perfectly matched except for one team being much taller. The shorter teams usually have advantages they can exploit as well. Tall teams must be in shape and be able to play fundamentally sound basketball in order to win just like anyone else. We were very successful this year against taller teams. We used the "Pressure Man to Man" defense described in an article by that name on this site that featured pass denial, including fronting the post players. We also ran the court as hard and kept the game pace as high as we could which forced the taller teams into turnovers and fatigue errors as they tried to keep up. Another article that may help is "Desired Traits" that explains the importance of various player attributes.

I think the coach's rationale for keeping the starters in even though up by 20 at half was pretty lame. Another article, "Coaching Conduct" talks about the issues of managing scores in games like that. Most coaches have too much regard for players in general to treat the opposing team like that. You just had the misfortune of playing against a jerk. Maybe next year you'll meet again and you'll have the stronger team. How will you handle the situation?


Email:
coachskr@bellsouth.net
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
4/28/00

Question

Question: I have quite a bit of experience coaching boys ages 9 - 18. In fact most of the better players in the city that I live have played for me at one time or another. I also coach in the city's Pro/Am summer leagues and other highly competitive adult leagues in the area. Now most of the youths I originally started coaching are preparing to go off to college and the different high school the coaches of the different high school they attend have not and are not preparing them to make the next step. Most of these students/players are from the inner-city and their parents really don't have a clue about the directing their child so for the most part they come to me for help. What I would like to know is how or who should I try to contact for these young men. Some have good grades some are marginal. I'm not sure if it is permitted by the NCAA for coaches to be in contact with third parties or not. I'm not an agent nor looking for anything in return, I just want to help these student take advantage of the opportunities available to them. Most of these kids are like sons to me. I mentor, tutor, help find jobs for them, provide transportation and quite often financially support them with little or no support from anyone. I would like to have some kind of connections to help direct them after they finish high school. I don't know any of the local college coaches. I'm pretty busy trying to make a difference and it seem to me that these local college coaches are always looking out of town for their talent but when I take some of the youths to the games I feel that the local (overlooked talent) is just as good if not better. Sorry for being so wordy but I want to make sure you understand where I'm coming from and what my concerns and intentions are.

Answer

Private email sent 4/29/00. This is a good question. I offer these sites for more information about college placement for high school basketball players:
1. http://www.allouthoops.com/ 
2. http://www.competitiveathlete.com/
3. http://www.hoopacademy.com/
4. http://www.ETeamz.com/HoopAcademy


Email:
scotsarmy@hotmail.com
Date:
4/27/00

Question

I am doing an I-search for school on coaching basketball and i was wondering if you could tell me what traits a coach should have to be a good coach? Also if you could email me addresses of sites on coaches with addresses other than .com. thank you. George Johnston

Answer

I don't believe there is one type of person that makes a good coach. A combination of traits that work for me may not work for you. What I feel is very important is a coach's motivation in the first place. If the first priority is to teach basketball and to help each player get the most of the season, it will be hard for the coach to go wrong. Good coaches are usually competitive people and sometimes in their zeal to excel, the purpose of the game is to build a w/l record. Stay away from that. Skills that help a coach are communication with kids and parents (and that IS a skill to develop with practice), organization and the depth of understanding of fundamental basketball. Use your unique personality characteristics and life experiences as best you can. That's what makes you a special coach.


Email:
jon_is_special@yahoo.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
4/27/00

Question

How do you coach?

Answer

Private email sent 4/27/00.


Email:
RM5050@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
4/26/00

Question

Question: Do you feel coaching differentiates between boys and girls?

Answer

Private email sent 4/26/00.


Email:
bohar@brandywine.net
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
4/20/00

Question

Question: Hello Coach,

Thanks for all of the great info. My question is hopefully easy to explain. When I get your Coach's Notebook page, I can easily print out any of the new articles that you list on the page. But when I click on the topics menu at the top right of the page, click on the topic I want, then try to print it, all I get is the "Coach's Notebook" heading, and the rest is blank. Can you help clear up this technical difficulty for me. Thanks, Bob Q.


Email:
Skoop35@aol.com
Date:
4/23/00

Question

Question: When a coach what are all the things that you look in the player, including everything from personality to the game ? What are your standards and what do you expect them to be able to perform and do ?

Answer

There is an article in the Coach's Notebook that answers much of this. Its called Player Traits. I suggest you read that.

Concerning personality, many coaches look for aggression. They like scrappy players and are willing to put up with temperament that goes along with it. In fact, many coaches write asking how to increase aggressiveness in some of their players. They feel their player(s) is too passive and demonstrates that by not working hard enough for rebounds and loose balls. Or, they see a kid with great athletic potential, but little internal drive, and want to know how to fire him/her up.

I don't believe a coach will have much success changing personality traits. Some players are inherently more aggressive than others. It is a good wake up call sometimes to tell a player that they are playing too "soft" and therefore won't be getting much playing time or will not be making the team. Then you may see behavior change if the player really wants to be on the floor.

Sometimes coaches mistake smartness for softness. I put a great value in players that avoid conflicts such as driving through traps, because they know that they
have nothing to gain and something to lose. Its much safer to pass the ball under pressure than drive through it. Such a player may not be as exciting to watch, but the turnover count is lower when unnecessary risks are avoided.

I do not have certain performance standards, such as a specific FT% to qualify for the team. I do have benchmarks that I want the team to meet.

2pt FG% 60+%
3pt FG% 33+%
FT% 70+%
Turnovers - 15 or less

These are predicated upon achieving 1 point per possession - ideally around 80pts a game. This year we (9th graders) were a little under all those benchmarks (except the turnovers) but still averaged 68 pts/game. I think they are good targets for the team and the individuals.

I expect that the players be ambidextrous dribbling and on layups by the end of the season. Kids that come to tryouts able to use both hands well have a big advantage over kids who are single handed. I also expect the players to always play hard, even in practice, and to follow the team plan. Players that work against the team by not running the plays or not playing defense the way we've practiced won't play much. We've cut some good, tall athletic bodies because they didn't follow directions well.


Email:
PAIGE@GALLITINRIVER.COM
Date:
4/24/00

Question

DOES YOUR SITE HAVE PLAYS IF SO WHAT DO I CLICK TO FIND THEM?

Answer

There are plays, all right. Not  a whole lot, but these plays offer simple plans that a team can learn with limited practice time. Look in the Topics Menu and select the article called Easy Offensive Sets. You may also enjoy Coach Jackson's Page. He has listed many, many plays. Some are explained meticulously. If you have questions, just email me back.


Email:
steady888@aol.com
Date:
4/19/00

Question

What do you think of "private lessons" for a 12 yr old girl in basketball? There are two, reputable coaches in my area selling private and semi-private lessons for up to $35.00 an hour (minimum 2 hours). My daughter is tall and has done quite well on several age appropriate teams (AAU, CYO, Rec) and I want to do the right thing. Would kids in college basketball tell me they had had such instruction at this age? Can basketball be taught this way?

Thank you, GH

Answer

I'd even pay $70 for myself to get two hours instruction from a coach I respected. Knowledge is gold, IF it is applied. If you decide on the lessons, go and take notes. Your daughter will need to learn and practice what they have to offer. You may need to remind her what the coach was teaching. The only negative I see here is that 2 hours is kind of long. If that time could be spread into 1/2 hour segments, she could get good direction, then practice, then come back for questions and clarification. You don't need to pay for drill time. She just needs to understand the concepts and perform them under guidance to make sure she has it. She'll need to perfect the skills on her own time. I don't think 12 years old is too young to learn good fundamental skills. Every year we look at the new crop of 9th graders coming into high school and only a few can demonstrate that they have been taught well. Will the lessons make a difference in her getting into college basketball? Maybe ... if she works hard now applying the lessons. She'll need other important attributes - good grades, continued enthusiasm for the game and a willingness to work hard simply because she loves to play.


Email:
lyndac@citcom.net
Response Type:
Date:
4/12/00

Question

Question: I agree with your opinion of off season training 100%. I usually take my team to one team camp with some minimal practice beforehand, and all of the other activities of the summer are things such as cookouts etc.. However, I have a couple of very motivated girls who have asked for individual workout ideas to do on their own time. I was looking for some creative workouts (maybe 15-20 min) they could do on thier own. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Lynda


Email:
firepow55@aol.com
Date:
4/14/00

Question

Question: Again, great sight, Alaska! You know the folks from C.T. are looking for a new home. Later, b-ball ed


Email:
l.cesari@selta.it
Date:
4/11/00

Question

Question: I need more information about the trap defense. I am coaching a minor league basketball team in Italy and we are going to the playoff in a month. Will like to step up our defense by trapping mid court the opponent. Thank you

Luigi Cesari

Answer

In the article on defensive fundamentals there is a small section on traps. I plan to expand it with some additional ideas. Briefly, those ideas are:

1. Only trap in the back court, like during full court pressing situations. You have time to recover when the traps are beaten.
2. Trap when the ball handler turns his back to the basket. He won't see the second defender coming.
3. Do not trap when the ball goes into the extreme corner. The reason is that one player should be able contain the ball handler sufficiently to force a bad pass. Its more important that all the receivers are covered.
4. Do not trap at mid-court. Pressure at mid-court is great, but traps will get you into trouble when playing good teams. They will draw two players to the ball then pass and you will spend the rest of the possession rotating to cover the open man. How may times do you see mid-court traps force a turnover? How many times do you see teams draw a double team then pass to an open man and get an easy basket? To me the math is simple. I do not advocate traps at mid-court, even when you are desperate.

The better answer is to pressure the ball handler and vigorously protect the passing lanes. The ball handler is not really under pressure unless there is no one to pass to. When defenders one pass away from the ball sag back, the dribbler has an easy escape route, but if his teammates are all covered, he will make riskier choices. Concentrate on pass denial - it really works. The biggest danger is back door cuts, so you need to have players two passes from the ball sag into the key to help.


Email:
lyndac@citcom.net
Date:
4/9/00

Question

Where can I find a good individual workout for high school girls to do in the off season? I am looking for something that would provide activities for specific positions as well as general skills for all. I would like to find something with variety to help prevent boredom. Thanks.

Answer

By the time we reach the end of the season, our players are "done". We've worked hard for nearly six months. Things get a little goofy or suddenly tempers flare up. That's when you know it's time to back as off a a coach. During the last week or two of the season we give the kids a lot latitude in choosing practice drills and in general try to make practice fun. Otherwise we won't accomplish much. The point is that it is really tough to expect much from most players in the off season unless they are preparing for college. Some of our kids get into other sports, work weights, run, or practice personal skills. I think its very important to avoid burnout. If you keep the kids together as a team, make it fun. Try another recreational sport. Take them out to a movie. 

I realize I have not answered your question as expected. Its just that I haven't seen a real successful off-season program and am somewhat skeptical. Some of our high school teams make a special summer trip and attend a tournament. That has proven to be good motivation for the kids.


Email:
nopg@yahoo.com
Date:
4/10/00

Question

How do you "take over" a game at the point guard or ball-handling position?

Answer

This is a great question. Thank you. The answer depends on who you are. Are you someone who is clearly dominant compared to the other players? Can you score at will? Are you reliable enough at shooting that your teammates can screen your defenders and give you quick looks? If you can answer "yes" to these questions, maybe you can actually take over a game as a point guard. I know that many kids dream of such things. Now, read the next paragraph carefully.

I have seen far too many games that were lost because some point guard decided to save the team. The game plan is abandoned and the man with the ball attempts to score at all cost. The team loses confidence. The offense becomes dysfunctional. The game ends ugly and players are so frustrated their eyes are full of tears. Now, read the next paragraph carefully.

I have seen smart point guards that keep their heads when the pressure is on. They execute the offense and are careful to put the ball in the right player's hands for the score. There is no concern for personal point totals, only the win, and it doesn't matter who makes the last shot. The entire team is enthusiastic because each member is part of the solution, not a bystander that never has a chance to contribute because the ballhandler is over-controlling the game. 

So, decide what kind of player you are. Five men are stronger than one. If you can get all your teammates working together, then you have truly taken over the game. Chance are, the game won't even be close. Good luck.


Email:
eason95713mclaughlin@yahoo.com
Response Type:
Date:
4/5/00

Question

Question: is their any way that you give me some pic of plays

Answer

Most of the plays on this site are diagrammed. You can view animated plays on some of the other coaching sites. Try the Basketball Highway. During the off-season I hope to add more plays and drills that have diagrams. I have many sent in, but haven't had time to develop them. It takes a while...


Email:
gaylechelsea@hotmail.com
Date:
3/31/00

Question

What are some basketball plays?

Answer

Look in the topics menu, above right. Towards the bottom of the list, under the category OFFENSE you'll see an article called "Easy Offensive Sets". Inside that article are several plays explained and diagrammed. They're very basic and effective. For more ,try my coaching links page. Some of them have dozens upon dozens of plays.


Email:
dbld_2
Date:
3/29/00

Question

I need information on teaching the 1-2-2 match up zone. I coach freshman boys and would really like to use this defense.

Answer

I don't have an article yet on matchup zones. Our team  uses zone full court presses then matches up man to man if the opponent gets across half court. The concept is as simple as sticking with the closest man. Some unusual matchups occur, but we don't switch unless its easy to do so. The switching was causing more problems than the mis-match. Besides, smaller players that are fundamentally sound do OK against bigger people, so we don't force the switch. Here is a link to an
animated matchup zone, http://www.eteamz.com/basketball/instruction/tips/tip.cfm/Match%20Up%20Zone/ but it looks a lot like our Pressure Man to Man style (I do have an article on that). Also, I recently saw a similar question on an egroups.com basketball discussion site and somebody suggested a video on Temple. I'll keep your address and if I find something better, send it your way. Hopefully, I'll have matchup zones as an article for next season's coaches.


Email:
Hemmo66@hotmail.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
3/28/00

Question

I need to know the referees hand signals for a time out, backcourt violation and substitution. Please Help. Mark Hemmings

Answer

I found a site that shows pictures of common referee hand signals. http://www.nba.com/Basics/00422964.html The signals are also shown in the high school basketball rules book.


Email:
DVeene2336@aol.com
Date:
3/28/00

Question

This is a great site for tips on coaching basketball. Is there one like this for little league baseball?

Answer

I think I've seen about all the basketball coaching sites. That has left little time for baseball surfing, although baseball and softball are my summer time sporting passions. This site has some web coverage of our high school baseball teams - go to http://www.alaskalife.net/sjordan/ - my home page to see the section leading into baseball. There's no coaching advice there, however. I have already started a page that is devoted solely to hitting, but it is a month away from completion. It'll be pretty interesting I suspect as I have a long list of opinions on that subject. 

Anyway... InfoSport: Baseball has a real nice list of baseball links. I suggest you start there. Go to http://www.baseball-links.com/ and if you find a great site, please let me know.


Email:
jmhammers@aol.com
Date:
3/25/00

Question

What is a good source on coaching information on the fundamentals of defense? I’m not looking for a book on defensive plays, I want a book or video that talks about things like foot work, stance, and drills that I can use to improve the defensive skills of my team. I coach a grade school basketball team through the city parks department each year. I start coaching a team in fourth grade and stay with them until sixth grade. I have been doing this for about eight years now. I understand the technical aspects on a lot of different positions in the game, but I don't feel I understand the technical aspects of defense the way I should. Thanks, Mike

Answer

I do not have much of a coaching library of books and tapes. I have been blessed with good mentors and good kids that helped me learn on the job. I have asked some friends to provide recommendations that may serve you better. One site I like with books and tapes is Power Basketball. I'll send you an email when I get some response.


Email:
whitecollie@hotmail.com
Date:
3/27/00

Question

How do you do a lay-up?

Answer

I don't do them very well any more, I'm afraid! I'll assume you want to show someone new to the game, so here is how I would teach a layup ... 
1. Start without the ball. Mark the take off point on the floor, maybe 3-4 feet from the basket at a 45 degree angle. Begin about 20' from the basket and have the kids run and jump off the proper foot at the take off point (left foot from the right side of the basket, right foot from the left side of the basket). Praise them for height and trying hard, but insist on the proper foot at the proper point.
2. With a ball, have them try to make the layup using the same principles. If they cannot dribble well enough to do this drill, move in close so they just take one dribble, take off and shoot. A novice team may need substantial time on just these two points.
3. Show them how the square on the backboard is a target. You may need a separate drill with no movement where they just bank the ball in.
4. When they gather the ball in to take off, teach them to keep the ball close to the body, raise it to the shooting shoulder, then with one hand, straighten the arm and shoot.
5. Teach follow through, palm to the basket, ball spinning directly backwards. The idea is to keep the layup as simple as possible, keep the body square to the basket, eyes on target. They should see the basketball go through the basket even after a fast run at the basket.
6. In time, move the take off point back and work on acceleration upon approach to the hoop. But that is lower in priority to simple motions and consistency. If your team is accurate at the simple layups, they'll do fine.
7. Do a lot of layups in practice. Challenge the team to make as many as they can in a row. Establish a team record, then beat it. It will help the kids shoot successfully under pressure.

Hope this met your needs. If not, send me an email.


Email:
RJVLEHMAN@prodigy.net
Date:
3/27/00

Question

Question: I was looking over your Alaska Play offense and feel that it looks effective and plan to implement it into our junior high girl's offense next year. My question is do you feel this offense should be used strictly against a man-to-man defense or is it also effective against a zone defense. Thanks for your time.

Answer

We used the Alaska Play during our fall season against both man to man and zone (U17 boys). Against a zone, if the defense extends to the ball as most teams do these days, the pass to the post and subsequent cut will be effective. In fact, that aspect alone opens many possibilities. Instead of handing off to the cutter, our post would pivot and follow the cutter finding an opening in the wake so to speak. If the cutter isn't open on the cut, the post can kick the ball back out where it is quickly rotated to the weak side where the cutter now awaits.

The main advantage to the Alaska Play is that the players know what to expect any time the ball is passed. The play unfolds on its own, yet has some structure to it. It will help them with motion style offenses used by their future coaches. TIP: Practice layups using a pass to a post and hand off. I was amazed at how much time the boys needed to get used to that concept. They don't do it in their playground play, so were clumsy at first. They learned it well after a couple weeks. The kids also need work learning to pass in to a post under pressure and posts need to learn how to make space and create pass openings.


Email:
Mucher @worldpath.net
Date:
3/20/00

Question

I'm looking for a motion offense and a weight training program for my HS team.

Answer

I am kinda partial to the Alaska Play on this site. Its documented pretty exhaustively. There are many motion based plays out there, though, and some are even animated. Sites I'd suggest if you're play hunting are Coach Jackson's Page, High School Basketball Coaches and Coach's Home. Weight training is outside the scope of the Coach's Notebook. I believe in weight training and work out myself, but do not plan to make recommendations on that topic.


Email:
maddyl@hotmail.com
Date:
3/18/00

Question

I need as much info as I can get or any example of peoples coaching philosophies (any sport). Have any ideas?

Answer

Well, I have a couple ideas. I don't know how deep you wish to look into publish coaching philosophies, but material is out there. John Wooden devoted an entire chapter to his coaching philosophy in his book, "Practical Modern Basketball". Perhaps a trip to the library with a notebook or laptop in hand would provide you with information you need. If you check my links page, there are several pages listed that have substantial reference lists. Two you may try first for your particular quest are Fonzhoops and High School Basketball Coaches


Email:
ttl1@earthlink.net
Response Type:
Date:
3/19/00

Question

Great Site! Just started coaching last season & reading a lot. I look forward to reading your coming soon sites Drills & Favorite plays When will they be up? I need more drills & practice advise (12-14 year old boys group) Thanks, Mark

Answer

Thanks, Mark. I have about a dozen plays/drills to diagram and explain. The time that requires will likely not be available for another month. With the plays, though, will be some links to pages that list dozens of plays and drills - more than you would ever need. If you're hungry for plays right now, try Coach Jackson's Site and others on my links page.


Email:
GaPGuRL25@aol.com
Date:
3/17/00

Question

How do you play basketball? What are the basic rules and plays that I should know?

Answer

Thanks for submitting most fundamental question of all! It made me realize that all the pages on this site talk about basketball without ever defining the game. Sometime soon I'll devote an article that attempts to define basketball. As concisely as I can state it for now, basketball is a game of throwing a ball through a horizontal ring suspended above the ground. Originally, the story goes, people tossed a ball into a peach basket nailed to the side of a gym wall. Someone had to fetch a ladder after each successful shot and retrieve the ball. But, that's it, plain and simple. Everything else is a variable. 

Here are some basic tenets, all of which can be changed if needed. Usually, basketball is played on a rectangular court with a basketball goal at either end. Teams consist of 5 players that take turns having the ball. The ball may be moved by throwing to another player or by bouncing it on the floor while walking or running. Points are counted each time the ball is shot through the goal. The team with the most points after a pre-determined length of time is the winner. 

The basic plays are covered on this website. Rules would be published, too, but the national standard rulebook has a copyright statement specifically prohibiting internet publication. You can read the rules for international play (a little different than USA) at http://www.fiba.com/fs_main.asp.


Email:
RJVLEHMAN@prodigy.net
Date:
3/17/00

Question

As a first year coach I have greatly appreciated this website and have checked it numerous times a week. My junior high girls have great difficulty grasping the concept of boxing out. We like to stand and watch the shot go up in the air. I have shown them what they look like on film and that has helped a little. Do you have any drills that you can suggest. I would like one or two that we can use every day in practice next year. Thanks for your time and a terrific website.

Answer

Your comments are appreciated. I don't know why kids are so reluctant to box out - its like its uncool or something. I've used the standard "coach shoots, everybody rebounds" drill, scrimmages where only rebounds count for points and one on one rebounding exercises. The kids grasp the techniques quickly, so I think the coaching challenge is in getting them to change game behavior. I always praise kids for boxing out. Anyway, I saw the following drill in a bulletin board and kept it. Perhaps you'll like it, too.

Match up the kids by size and weight the first few times then as the winners go on, mismatches occur just as in a game. Line them up back to back in the key with 3 or 4 pairs from basket to free throw.  The objective is to use your butt to back the opponent out of the key.  Arms out but only the elbows may be used to contain the opponent. Spinning off the opponent is allowed and if you push the other person out even on your original side, you win.  Winners advance against winner until we get a butt wars champ.  The amount of giggling and laughter is still amazing to me.  After being taught tricks to win; spreading of the legs, balance, sinking of the weight (butt), they are then introduced to why we did butt wars or boxing out.  This is now the time to progress to a basketball and rebounding.  The next time they need to have boxing out reinforced, I used to ask them to go win a butt war and get me the ball. The younger kids loved it.  Hope this helps. write me at ruff1_c@yahoo.com if you need clarification.  It is only a game to help put fun in fundamentals. - Coach Chris


Email:
fox@otenet.gr
Date:
3/18/00

Question

Could you give me some advice on how can I improve my penetration skill? , cause I am a player with a good shooting skill but when I am played too close by a defender I have problem to penetrate him and go to the basket quickly and successfully. Is there any good basketball or physical drills that I can do ?

Answer

Players that are successful at penetration are not those who have some secret move. More likely, they excel at choosing the right moment, basic technique and having some clue in mind as to what they will do once the have penetrated the defense. Another key point - use mis-direction. Start from the triple threat position and be a genuine "triple threat". Its easier to drive if the defense believes you are about to pass or shoot or drive a different way. Here are some "do's and don'ts" for you to think about.

1. If you are well covered, pass the ball. Its the safest alternative. If you are double-teamed, always pass the ball.
2. Make sure you start with one long step, not a a quick short step or a step backwards. You'll get called for traveling.
3. If the defender is close, make space for yourself by stepping into him/her while protecting the ball. When you step back, you should have some room. If the defender advances closer, you should be able to duck around and go.
4. Have a plan when you penetrate. It looks pretty bad when you cut in the key only to be surrounded by people and no where to go. Penetration should draw defense opening up other players to pass to. make sure your teammates are either cutting to the basket or following in your wake. Obviously, if no one picks you up, you have a shot.


Email:
lyndac@citcom.net
Date:
3/16/00

Question

How do I justify giving a MVP award in a team sport? I have preached TEAM all season.

Answer

Easy - don't give out an MVP award. I never have. An MVP award doesn't serve the team concept and it doesn't share credit with the rest of the team that helped make a star player so successful. We keep stats all year, so at the end of the season its easy to recognize everyone for their contributions - third highest rebounder or No. 2 in 3 point percentage. In addition, you can have several other awards: best hustle, sportsmanship, longest shot made, Smith&Wesson award for most shots taken, etc. Awards should be fun and recognize contributions. They shouldn't put one player above the rest. Thanks for a good question.


Email:
gdewey@hollandchristian.org
Date:
3/16/00

Question

I looked for zone presses on your site and could not find them. Where are they? Also, do you have anything diagramed about a half court 1-3-1 trapping defense? Gary

Answer

Zone presses are discussed in the article "Implementing a Press" found in the - DEFENSE - section of the topics menu in the right hand corner of the page. Rather than diagram every full court press I could think of and show player rotations, I spent time discussing roles that defenders should play in all zone presses, including the half court presses. You can set up in any press you want, but as soon as the offense makes a move, the defense must adjust accordingly. While offense can dictate the action because it has the ball, defense is reactive. Therefore, in whatever press configuration you elect to use, the players must know how to respond to situations common to all zone presses. 


Email:
FMW816@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
3/15/00

Question

Coach Capalarie ( univ of mass) had a confrontation with a coach from Temple ( Black Coach) beleive his name was Clancy, about 3 years ago. any information will help solve an argument. Mr Clancy supposedly threatened Coach Capalaries life TRUE?????

Answer

Sorry - don't know.


Email:
Thugster83@Hotmail.com
Date:
3/13/00

Question

How can I improve my outside shot, what techniques can I use?

Answer

Check the article "Basic Skills" in the -OFFENSIVE- section of the topic menu. The basic things to think about when you practice are: face the basket squarely, jump vertically - don't let your momentum carry you sideways, don't bring the ball down before you shoot, keep your elbow in cose to your body and follow through. Focus on a specific part of the rim throughout the entire shot (some say front, some say back).


Email:
rage21@otenet.gr
Date:
3/15/00

Question

Could you tell me, what's your opinion about defending a team's best player, Is it better to eliminate his action, or try to stop the supporting cast scoring ?

Answer

My philosophy is to defend the team, not a player. Here's why. A dominant scorer will probably get his points anyway. Such a player is usually used to scoring against the odds. If you devote multiple defenders to one opponent, you are leaving another open and the smart teams will make you pay dearly. Being too focused on a certain player will usually cost you more fouls, and then you give up points on the free throw line.

Here's some positive things you can do... Keep the pace up if you think you can tire the scorer down, or slow the pace down to limit the number of shots (I prefer the former). Avoid putting this person on the line. Some scorers drive incessantly hoping to draw fouls and taking shots that won't go in. Play good position and box out. If the scorer gets off to a bad start, the mentality is usually for them to shoot even more. Use that to your advantage. If you have a good pressing team and can generate turnovers, you will reduce the number of the scorer's possessions.

 


Email:
wbutler7@bellsouth.net
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
3/12/00

Question

I need info on how to do a good pick and roll drill

Answer

Private email sent 3/12/00. For those interested in pick and roll, see the article "Basic Plays".


Email:
tafoyal@osm.com
Date:
3/10/00

Question

I coached a 5th grade boys team this year, and I'm looking for a player evaluation form. Our season is over and I would like to sit down with my assistant coach and give the players some positive feedback and develop them for next season. Thanks, Lee

Answer

I agree - an individual, post season evaluation may be very helpful and offers an opportunity to guide them on improvements needed for next year. I have seen something close to what you want. Rather than answer you here, I'd like to email you something then post the form in the "Downloadable Tools" section found in the Topics Menu.


Email:
remarc26@aol.com
Date:
3/11/00

Question

MY QUESTION IS CONCERNING THE TRIANGLE OFFENSE. THERE WAS A POSTING ABOUT SIMPLIFYING THE OFFENSE BUT THERE WERE NO BREAKDOWN DRILLS FOR IT. ARE THERE ANY BREAK DOWN DRILLS WHERE THE GUARDS AND POSTS CAN SEPARATE? OR ANY DRILLS THAT WILL HELP MY PLAYERS UNDERSTAND THEIR OPTIONS? I'M WORRIED ABOUT PLAYERS STANDING AROUND TOO, IS THERE MORE FLUENCY TO THE OFFENSE WHEN RUNNING IT? PLEASE HELP, I LOVE THE CONCEPT OF THE TRIANGLE BUT I FEAR ITS COMPLICATION. PLEASE HELP. THANKS,

COACH MORGAN

Answer

The article on this site explains how we simplified the triangle offense. The key to teaching this offense is to understand that it is NOT a 5 man offense. There are two parts - a 3 man game and a 2 man game. Criticisms that 2 players may be standing around during the action are valid, but I prefer to think of them as staying out of the way. How many times do you see plays broken because a player tries to get involved and succeeds only in bringing a defensive player to the ball? Spacing is a very important concept. This offense doesn't work well in a crowd. Fluidity hasn't been a problem because we get a shot so quickly. We're getting about 70 shots a game in the high school format. The challenge is getting the ball to the post cleanly. If that can't happen, the ball goes to the other side of the floor to the 2 man game. They can run a 2 man play or the post can rotate to that side and start a new triangle. 

Breakdown drills are easy. In the two man game, they will run a give and go or a pick and roll. Those are basic plays all coaches should teach. They are described in the article "Basic Plays". In the 3 man game, a post element is added, which allows another dimension to the give and go concept. To practice this I suggest 3 on 3 play with one player always in a post position. Also, run your lay-up drills with a post. Players pass and cut to the basket. This added interaction is a chance for turnovers, so make the players comfortable with it. Your post players will need to develop moves to the basket because there will be many 1:1 situations. You can read about those in the article "Developing Your Big Player".

The benefit of the triangle offense is that it allows the players to make decisions based on defensive reactions. They can't do that without being very familiar with the most fundamental of offensive plays. The triangle just gives them a chance to use them.


Email:
emmasuz@tinyworld.co.uk
Date:
3/9/00

Question

I am a new coach and am wondering what percentage of the team training session (if any) should be allocated for drills which are specific to the players position. and how this should be incorporated into the team training sessions. Also should the fitness training take into account the players position to be more specific to the needs of the players position Thanks Emma

Answer

Coach, the age and experience level of your team is a big factor here. If your kids are grade school age and haven't played much, I would not have much specific training. I would devote about half the time to team skills (offensive set and defensive plan) and the rest to personal fundamental skills - lay-ups, ball handling and passing; defensive footwork and positioning; and maybe 5% conditioning. Coaches of young teams are usually have limited gym time and assistant resources, so its necessary to focus strongly in team needs. Also, if the kids practice enthusiastically, they'll get sufficient conditioning for their level of play.

If you're working with high school players, practice daily and have an assistant, there's much more you can do. We emphasize conditioning early in the season, up to 20% of practice (sprints, full court lay-up drills, etc.). The conditioning is generalized for the team, however, not specific for positions. We do separate post from perimeter players for drills, though. Its important for big people to learn the basic moves to the basket, understand shot-blocking techniques and learn to defend post players. While one coach handles that, the other is working with the guards - perimeter shooting, dribble penetrations, and so on. Percentage of time? Coach's call, I guess. We might split like this for a half hour three times a week.

One more thing, every coach has something special to offer. Whatever your strong point(s), give as much as you can of those. Most players move from coach to coach. Make sure they take the best you have with them. Another coach will develop them differently, but may not have the gifts you have.


Email:
burns57@go.com
Date:
3/8/00

Question

Question: As a coach, one of the more frustrating things I see is when my girls dribble into 'traffic': one on three. What is an effective drill to teach players how to dribble effectively (e.g., no turnover) in traffic? Thanks! - Michael

Answer

Coach,
I know just how you feel! Players dribbling head down and headlong into trouble. The key (in my opinion, anyway) is not to improve dribbling, but to stop dribbling and pass. Even highly skilled ball handlers will get into trouble splitting traps. Sometimes they get through and look great, but turnovers will happen. I prefer to avoid the conflict altogether. We pass rather methodically to break a press, and our turnover ratio is pretty decent. The crowd doesn't ooh and ahh, but we don't suffer the consequences either. Dribbling isn't all bad, but your girls should advance the ball until they anticipate the defensive pressure, not until they're in it. My best ball handlers have learned to draw a double team then pass before its established.

Here's a drill. Requires 12 people, but you may alter it to fit your squad. You can have 2-5 players on offense, the rest are paired up in segments of the floor. The offense must advance the ball using rules you dictate, ie pass only - no dribble, or no more than 2 dribbles, etc. The defensive pairs must stay in
their segments, but otherwise can be as creative as they need to be to stop the offense. If the offense advances up the floor and scores (very tough to do), you
can assess rewards/consequences as you see it.

What will  happen is that the offensive players will feel intimidated at first. Later, they will realize that by being patient, moving without the ball, and executing good passes, they can beat the "horde". They will learn to have more confidence in their passing game. If they have trouble, you can very the size of the segments and the number of defenders.

The shell drill  is on my site. The offense can practice in this drill, too, especially driving to draw two defenders, then passing to the open player.

If you have a player that persists in driving into traps, you may need to resort to bench time. I am generally pretty patient with players, but when someone drives into a trap (and this is a no-no that we talk about) I figure they need to rest awhile.


Email:
doc6300@.com
Date:
3/8/00

Question

Question: We are going to play a team that jumps and traps out of a tenacious man to man full defense. Any new ideas on how to attach this type of defense?

Answer

I am guessing your email address is at aol.com.

Sounds like you're playing a team that plays defense like I wish my team would! I just have a few suggestions.

  1. If they like to trap, use it against them. We finally called off the trap part of our half court defense. The trick is to draw the trap, but pass off before the trap is fully set. Teams usually trap on the sidelines, so drive there. Someone will be left free when two defenders go to trap. That person must go to an open area to get the ball. Our team was getting beat this way and as the ball traveled around we eventually fell behind in the rotations until an easy basket was scored.
  2. Aggressive teams love to anticipate passes. My answer is to frequently bait them with pass fakes and back door cuts. If we notice an opponent that lunges frequently, we'll fake pass to his man who then cuts back to the basket.
  3. Try to minimize risks. For example, risky passes inside, cross court passes and forced drives between defenders are the kinds of mistakes that kill you against good teams. Be calm, patient and take care of the ball.
  4. Slow the tempo down to your pace. Many teams start racing around in a great state of urgency against a good defensive team. Just relax. A slower controlled pace may really frustrate a pressure team.

Email:
weatrspoon@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
3/8/00

Question

Question: how do you increase a player's foot speed? This player has decent endurance but his speed needs to be drastically improved Thanks in advance for you help.

Answer

Private email sent 3/8/00.


Email:
rage21@otenet.gr
Date:
3/7/00

Question

Which is in your opinion the appropriate number of free throws, 2 and 3 point shots per day for a player to do in the in season period?

Answer

In my opinion, shooting repetitions falls into the individual skills area. The number of shots depends on the player's level of desire to excel. When I coach recreational teams that have little practice time, we do little shooting, perhaps 10 minutes in each of our two practices per week. In the high school format where we practice 5-6 days a week, we devote about 1/2 hour to shooting drills using partners. That half hour covers Mikan drill, short bank shots, free throws, short jumpers and threes. I never counted the total shots, but I will guess about 100-150 shots per player. Sometimes, we may devote an hour to something basic like lay-ups (using different approaches) striving for consecutive made baskets. Sometimes we may open the gym for a couple hours of unstructured individual skills practice. The players that excel at shooting, however, are those that spend an additional hour or more per day working on their shooting. Its one of those skills where one must pay dues to rise above the competition. The only limits are the player's opportunity and desire.

 


Email:
briangiroux@netscape.net
Date:
3/5/00

Question

I am trying to find info on how to be a graduate assistant. I played 1 year at the D-1 level and then the rest of my time at the NAIA level. I have some connections but am looking for other ideas as well. If at all possible I would like to be at the D-1 level. Is it wise to volunteer first to get a foot in the door. If you have any suggestions please email me them.

Answer

Brian, thanks for your question. I need to respond from my background in the corporate world. I have neither played for coached at the college level. I just want you to know that up front. However, if I have my eye on a certain job in the company, here's how I'd go about getting it. First, I would be very clear that I want the job in question. This has paid off for me twice. Even though the position wasn't open, I told everyone involved that I wanted it, even the guy that had it.

I went to a talk by Coach Pat Riley. He said that you can get whatever you want if you are willing to help others get what they want. So, that's the approach I used here. "I want this job - will you help me get it? - what can I do for you?" That's the logic.

Is it wise to volunteer? Absolutely. Its a relatively risk free test drive for both parties. If you do, participate as if you were being paid, be as useful as you can. Support the head coach - totally. Its not a time for asserting yourself or showing how smart you are. Its a time for showing the head coach how you can help him and HIS/HER program succeed. You will need to gain the trust and confidence of the head coach and his staff. So, don't alienate the staff. What can you do
to make the assistant coaches more successful, too? If the assistants are telling the head coach how great you are, (s)he'll listen.

So, that's how this game is played here. I'll bet it will work for you. Keep your pride in check. Be  more eager to learn than teach. Take notes when the boss talks. He'll be both flattered and confident that you understand his message.  Ask questions when you do not understand fully - its way better than missing the point then taking action. Lastly, be happy to be there. That will count for a lot.

I wish you the best.


Email:
smirni@athserv.otenet.gr
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
3/6/00

Question

Question: My team has a turnover problem, could you advice me how can I eliminate this?

Answer

Private email sent 3/6/00.


Email:
PurdueSP@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
3/6/00

Question

Question: Do you, as coaches, feel pressure to send your high school athletes to summer sports camps and outside programs? I am doing a project for school and am looking for opinions and feelings from coaches on this subject. Thank you.

Answer

Private email sent 3/6/00.


Email:
tcollin1@twcny.rr.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
3/5/00

Question

What is the best formation for the tip-off?

Answer

Private email sent 3/5/00.


Email:
tcollin1@twcny.rr.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
3/2/00

Question

What are the 1,2,3,4,5 player duties and for best results what are characteristics that a player should have for these positions?

Answer

Private email sent 3/3/00.


Email:
tcollin1@twcny.rr.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
3/2/00

Question

What does it mean to post up and what do the players do?

Answer

Private email sent 3/3/00.


Email:
smeggysmeg@hotmail.com
Date:
3/2/00

Question

What do you find is the most effective and successful way of teaching your players the teams offensive sets?

Answer

The real key is to teach the basic two man plays first. These are detailed in the article, "Fundamental Offensive Plays". The whole point of an offensive pattern is to create some of the common situations where a couple players can take advantage of a momentary opportunity. If the players don't pick and roll well, for instance, they will probably have trouble in a motion style offense. If your offensive set uses a pass to the post and cutters, practice your lay-ups using a post. I say this because the main reason I see sets fail is because the players don't execute the basic skills.

Another important point is to encourage the kids to create their shots off the pattern rather than insist that they run all the way through it all the time. Many players get so wrapped up in running the play, they miss the openings created through the process. To combat this in practice, declare one player only who can score. The team will be looking every chance to get the ball to that player during the play and the designated player will learn all the points that openings are possible. Share the designation. 

Test the play against a older, stronger team if you can. This will quickly expose your vulnerabilities. Maybe the entry pass is awkward or maybe the post people need work getting open. Its a good way to find out before game time. Another tip - break the play into segments and practice those over and over. As the segments improve, add them together piece at a time. Finally, give the play time to be learned. Many teams bag a play too quickly and move on to something new if they don't get immediate results. Offensive sets are hard to perfect and need time to mature. That's why simple patterns are best. You may like the article "Designing Plays".


Email:
rwong84@hotmailcom
Response Type:
Date:
3/3/00

Question

Question: I tried to download the diagram of the court from your page but the file didn't read correctly(its just a bunch of characters and numbers). Do you know where i can download both diagrams of full court and half court. I really appreciate your help.

Answer

I emailed you some court diagrams in Word format and one in pdf format. To open pdf files, like those on my site, you need to go to http://www.adobe.com and download Adobe Reader (free!).


Email:
Nomadsbasketball@altavista.com
Date:
2/29/00

Question

Question: How do you get a 14 year old to be more aggressive on offense? He is very aggressive on D, but he doesn't look for his own shots and drives. It is costing him playing time. What do you suggest?

Answer

What is holding the player back? Little confidence in shooting ability? Risk adverse? Sometimes its the player's nature to play a non-shooting role on a basketball team. If so, it will be difficult to create a change. My son is a point guard who prefers to pass. He is encouraged to shoot all the time, but
takes only 3-4 shots a game. Last night was a good game, 6 pts and 12 assists, but I too worry that it will cost him PT.

With the team I am working with, we play 3:3 to get all the players involved. In that format, everyone needs to be active. We've use it to awaken some sleepers
that have gone quiet on offense. Also, when practicing half court offensive sets, I like to designate who will score. The offense runs until that player scores. Then someone else is designated. It helps certain people not only look for their shot, but look for it constantly while they run through the pattern.

My personal opinion is that it is OK if a player doesn't initiate drives or shots very often. What isn't OK is when a player passes up on open shots the play has created. The team needs its players to shoot when the opportunity arises. I get upset when a big guy passes on a shot and kicks the ball out. I don't get upset if a perimeter player elects not to shoot an open three and passes inside instead. Big difference.  Many coaches are of a different mind and want players to personally initiate shots, its just not my style. I prefer consistency and good open looks.


Email:
Rick17Fox@aol.com
Date:
3/1/00

Question

My question isn't coach related, yet it is coming from a 7th grade player. You see I have a question on what kind of workouts should I do this Summer? (I play PG) besides basketball camps (I'm already planning for two) or organized league (I will get into one). Also I have another question for you, do you feel a player can get too emotionally involved in a game?

Answer

I think you will be pretty busy already. I suggest to take some time and analyze the weakest parts of your game. Are your free throws as accurate as you'd like? Can you drive and shoot well with you weak hand? The off season is a perfect time to work on such individualized, specific skills. Concerning your second question, yes, a player can certainly get too emotionally involved. When those emotions come, they are best if channeled into your game. Let them fuel your body. But a good player, especially a point guard, must keep his head. If you are upset over a call or a mistake you make, how can you direct your team or settle them down? Plus, its hard to concentrate when your emotions are out of control. Thanks for writing.


Email:
Rick17fox@aol.com
Date:
3/1/00

Question

Question: Where do I find info on leagues within my area? Should I ask coaches?

Answer

Yep. If you have a YMCA (or other organization that promotes youth sports) see if they have a web page. The Y is at http://www.ymca.com. Your local coaches will certainly know what's up for league play.


Email:
rachelmiller90@hotmail.com
Date:
2/28/00

Question

How do you upgrade AOL? 

Answer

I prefer to just answer basketball questions here, but if I can help, I'll try. I suggest you log on to AOL's site at http://free.aol.com/tryaolfree/index.adp?124647. There you can download AOL 5.0 or they will send you a cd. Should be pretty easy.


Email:
mr_lackey@hotmail.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
2/27/00

Question

I'm the coach of a small school up in Toronto, Canada. We are playing a team this week with one outstanding player. They play a 2-3 defensive set with their main player in the middle at the bottom. He is taller, faster and smarter than anything I've got. Do we attack him, avoid him at all costs or run picks at him?

Answer

Private email sent 2/27/00.


Email:
radium@eisa.net.au
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
2/27/00

Question

Question: This is not a coaching related question, but perhaps you can help me anyhow. A few years ago, 5 to be exact, I used to play basketball. However, with the advent of busy arduous schooling, I gave up sport completely. Now I have only an 'average' sportsman rank, and I want to get back into basketball and get my skills back! Do you have anny suggestions on how I can get back into it or any training schemes I should follow??

I appreciate any help. If you would like me to rephrase my question, please dont hesitate to ask me! Thankyou very much!

R. KARGAS

Answer

Private email sent 2/27/00.


Email:
Kf024@webtv.net
Date:
2/25/00

Question

My question is that I am a basketball coach. This year my team did really bad because they couldn't hit their jump shots, 3 pointers, lay-ups, or free throws. I made them drill them  but they still didn't hit them in the game. Can you tell me any other ways to get them to hit their shots? Thanks.

Answer

Read the article in the OFFENSE section titled "Basic Skills". There's an important section on Shooting. Successful shooting is based upon three elements with a distinctive priority: Confidence, Selection and Technique. Very briefly, confidence is based on practice, proper shot selection provides a reasonable opportunity to make shots and proper techniques enable shooters to be consistent. If a coach builds players on these three building blocks, the shooting percentage can't help but improve.


Email:
tennalk@usa.net
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
2/26/00

Question

I am looking for a offense to run against a box and one. My star player averages 28 points a game but is having to play against the box and one more and more often. I found a site on the internet that the coach said he had a great offense to use. His star player was able to score more points as well as the rest of the team. But I lost the e-mail address and can't find it again on the internet. Was that you or have you ever seen this? I would appreciate any help. I coach high school BB we are currently 23 & 0 and heading to sub-state being ranked #1 in the state in 1A. Thanks!!

Answer

Private email sent 2/27/99. Note: this topic was addressed below on 2/14/00.


Email:
devinbower@email.msn.com
Date:
2/23/00

Question

Question: I'm a new coach and I've been reading some basic coaching books. Some of them number their players 1-5. Is there a general rule as to which positions are assigned which numbers, i.e. are point guards always #1 and low posts #5?

Answer

Sorry you missed my original reply to your question on 2/11/00. Anyway, here it is...
Pretty much. Offensively, 1 refers to the point guard; 2, shooting guard; 3, small forward; 4, power forward; 5, center. Now, all people are different and all teams are different, so the talent in coaching is not turning people into numbers but into players. However, this system is useful for diagramming plays and showing where you'd like certain players to set up. You can also use this system when describing a press. The smaller numbers (hence smaller players) are the first to greet the ball handler. The bigger numbers are the bigger players, who are closer to the basket. So, if I were running a 2-2-1, I'd tell my two quick guards that they have positions 1 and 2 up front. The next two players are assigned positions 3 and 4 at the half court line. That big, goofy kid that isn't listening to me at the moment, gets position 5, defending the basket.


Email:
kselkregg@aol.com
Date:
2/23/00

Question

I just finished coaching my daughter's 7th and 8th grade team in a local league. I would like to give some simple guidelines for off season personal training and practice for the girls. Do you have a simple 1 or 2 page outline for personal practice and drills each girl could work with on their own that I could leave with them? Thanks Kevin Selkregg

Answer

I do not have a written page of summer workout drills, but I do have some thoughts to share. Be forewarned that many coaches will disagree with me on off-season activities, but that's the way it is. First, I recommend kids take a break from organized basketball during the summer. Take some time to rejuvenate. I'm not saying never touch a basketball - just don't get into a game schedule. Use the summer to experiment or learn a new skill. If they have a hoop in the driveway, use it to practice free throws or threes. Or maybe there is a move to the hole that the player wants to perfect - the off season is the time. Serious kids may set up a daily regimen and track progress, but most will probably benefit best by staying physically active in a different sport. That way, their mind gets a rest from basketball and they still stay in shape. When they do pick up a basketball, its for fun and trying new things. One thing that really helps is if a parent is willing to share time with them even if nothing more than feeding the ball for shooting practice. If parents do that, do not offer a constant stream of advice, just enjoy the moment. 

The danger in serious basketball year round is after a while, games are no longer special. Teammates' habits or coaches styles that may be overlooked or, at worst, considered annoying at times during the regular season, can become tiresome issues after months and months. Constant competition may promote injury. Sometimes kids can just get sick of the sport and quit. That's why I suggest a break for the summer. Play ball for fun, but also get some balance established so that next season is highly anticipated.


Email:
littlevanilla112@aol.com
Date:
2/23/00

Question

My team never moves on offense im point and they just never move or try getting open, and when they are open and i pass to them they just stand there, and wait for the ball, they don't make an effort, we have state tournaments coming up soon we won in 6th grade and in 7th we lost it was taken hard by everyone so this year we need to at least Finnish in the top 4 were playing in 2 tournaments an B tournament and a D tournament we are a B team but not many players so we always get wore out and the other team beats us on the breaks, any advice, or suggestions?

Answer

I can certainly sympathize. Basketball is lot more fun when everyone is working hard. Here's what I think you can do. Being point guard, you have a lot of power because you decide who gets the ball, right? Pick one kid on your team that you think will work with you. Tell him to set some high screens for you. When you drive past him, kick the ball back sometimes so he can shoot. Two players working together can be pretty effective. Then tell your teammates that people who screen get the ball, otherwise you'll shoot it yourself. Have players screen even for other players who don't have the ball so they'll be open. You can toss them some dimes and get some easy baskets. If you can get one or two guys started, the others will follow. Tell them exactly what you want. Reward them with the ball. Tell them that you want them to score more than you want yourself to score, but nobody gets the ball unless you think they deserve it. If you learn how to take charge of your team now, you will be a great floor leader as you get older.


Email:
t-l-kiss@mailcity.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
2/21/00

Question

How is a single training session structured to cater for the needs of individuals and positional requirements?

Answer: 

Private email sent 2/22/00.


Date:
2/22/00

Question

We have played 15 games this season. We are 7-8. We are the Westport Y2K. Our biggest challenge is that the boys [5th grade travel] don't yet remember to box out. In our last game, despite talking about boxing out and giving up one shot, the other team out rebounded us and got 3 shots per possession. Any advice on getting the kids to rebound, box out and limit the other team to one shot per possession? I love this site- great work, a tremendous resource. BRAVO! Thanks again- Gene Westport, CT gene@rsdt.com

Answer: 
Thanks for your kind words. Your question is a common one. That doesn't mean the answer is easy, though. It just means everybody has the same problem. What I find peculiar is that when we do the rebounding drills, the kids do great. When we scrimmage and count only rebounds for points, the kids do great. Then, in the game, its the same old thing. The shot goes up and all eyes are on the ball and our guys wander in towards the basket. I've captured this on videotape and with snapshots. There is no doubt that the kids understand what their supposed to do.

Now, I've noticed when a player moves up to play in the JV or varsity scrimmage, suddenly they (well, some) remember to block out. I think for the first time they are desperate enough to succeed that they start thinking about boxing out. Now I am asking the players on the bench to remind the active players. When the shot goes up, we all yell "box out" and sometimes that helps.

Are your kids turning their backs too soon? Sometimes our guys turn to box out but they have no clue where the offensive player is. I ask them to find their man, put a forearm up, on contact with the arm - pivot and seal. In fact, it works well to lean down on your arm and use your weight to help yourself pivot.

We keep shot charts. After the game I try to acknowledge the top rebounders. Once, one of our players realized he was two rebounds short of a double-double, and you should have seen him box out after that! It proved to me that if the desire to get the boards is truly there, the task can be done.


Email:
RH17COACH@aol.com
Date:
2/22/00

Question

Hi Coach, I have been coaching in the park districts around my area for 3 years for grades 5th through 12th and I'm also a certified coach by the American Sport Education Program My question to you is how can I get to coach a school team or do even schools even let people who are not teacher coach at school ? Any information the you can give me I would be very thankful and thank you for your time. Russ

Answer: 
Did you see the article in the topic menu called "Becoming a Volunteer Coach"? That article fits your situation and follows a natural path from youth league into high school. I'll tell you one thing ... your experience as a park district coach won't likely carry a lot weight if your striving for a paid position in the school district. The certification as a coach is helpful. What I think you'll need to do is find an established high school coach (or middle school coach - whatever level you're aiming for) who is willing to take you on as a volunteer coach. This experience will really help you establish credibility, both for your knowledge and commitment. You will learn a lot if you're fortunate enough to catch on with an experienced mentor. I coached youth in the YMCA for ten years, thought I knew something, then found out how much I needed to learn when I volunteered at the high school level. Some school systems insist that a head coach be a teacher, so sometimes that's a real obstacle. Even if the school system allows contract coaches, teachers will probably be preferred. I suggest you ask the coaches of your favorite school if they would like a volunteer assistant, then be prepared to help in any way they want. It may take a while before you're actually teaching basketball. And, you'll need to be able to do it their way. Give it a shot. Some day a spot may open up for you. Put the kids first, your ambitions second. You probably love every minute!


Email:
Nomadsbasketball@altavista.com
Date:
2/19/00

Question

What software do you use to draw your play diagrams for your web site. I would like to draw plays to give to my kids. Thanks.

Answer: 

I use Visio, a graphics program in use at my "work that pays me money". Its a drafting style program where you can select shapes, lines and curves from a toolbar. Designing a basketball floor is pretty easy using squares and circles. Then make a series of small circles for players. Using cut and paste, it goes pretty fast. Other graphic programs can do this. One answer is the Free Playbook . You can make plays that move, or it also works to make static representations. The main advantage is that the court and players are already includes in a template, and you have styling options. If you have a Windows system, you can also use the Programs/Accessories/Paint option. Its primitive but it works. I made this drawing from scratch in about ten minutes.


Email:
dlebme@frognet.net
Date:
2/18/00

Question

Question: I am about to host an all-star tournament. I plan to have 8-12 teams what is the best format for this. I have one weekend to get all the games in. Please send me your ideas and a bracketing for your suggestions. thanks Coach "D"

Answer: 

Wow! There's a lot of work here. I can help you, but you need to give me more information. How many courts do you have? Are you looking at a 2 or 3 day weekend? How long do your games last? I've seen games compressed to an hour with a 5 minute break in between to a full two hours per game. Running clock or stopped clock?

My favorite format is 8 teams with a three game minimum. Requires 12 games. You can do it in two days with 2 hours per game. A twelve team double elimination tourney needs 23 games (or you can drop the "if" game to get to 22 games). To do that, you need to run 65 minute games and hustle them along to get it done in two days with one court. There are two extremes... Tell me more and I will send you a bracket and suggestions.


Email:
Schwirtz@execpc
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
2/13/00

Question

Question: Are there any diagams of foot skills I could teach my daughter?

Answer: 

Private email sent 2/14/00.


Email:
Pbaugh1222@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
2/13/00

Question

Question: Our 3rd grade boys basketball team played in our first tournament this past weekend and quickly discovered that we were ill prepared for playing against a full court press. We urgently need to develope an attack against a full court press but the problem is we have very little "gym time" for practices. Therefore, we are hoping to find a simplified and effective press breaker that will get the ball up the court for us. Any suggestions?

Answer: 

Private email sent 2/14/00.


Email:
hs_huston@ivtv.k12.oh.us
Date:
2/14/00

Question

I would like to know a decent offense/play for a triangle and two with the two people guarding the two interior post people. thanks

Answer: 

I would think they would be playing right into your hands. If the triangle is in the key, and the two designated defenders are guarding post people, then your post people are essentially double teamed, leaving two of your outside players free. Here's a recent answer to another person on the same topic:

Thanks for your question. How to beat a box and 1 or a triangle and 2 (aka junk defenses) is a fairly common question. The best answer I have seen is from Coach Gugliotti as posted on the ChalkTalk discussion board at http://www.worldofsports.com/. This is just plain common sense.

Against the box and 1, the offense player who has a dedicated defender simply moves to a weak-side post position where one of the four defenders is playing zone. Now there is a defensive player dedicated to your star and a zone defender playing the same area - automatic double team. That means one of your people is unattended. You don't need an offensive pattern. Just spread out, overload, pass the ball quickly and make your shots.

Against the triangle and 2, same principle:

"Assuming your other three can play halfway decent basketball, place your two studs right next to the two low post defenders - practically shaking hands with them. You should now have four defenders on your two players. Spread out your other three, passing around the perimeter and running the remaining high post defender ragged before taking an easy shot. Eventually, the post defenders will have to challenge the open shots. When they do, you'll be able to screen for your studs, getting them back into the game.

Patience! Your non-studs have to be able to hit open shots (imagine that!)

Phil Gugliotti (p.gugliotti@prodigy.net)"


Email:
VanV71
Date:
2/12/00

Question

Do you know what the requirements to be a seventh grade coach are?

Answer: 
I am sure that depends on where you are hoping to coach. Many places require the head coach to be a teacher even if it means the candidate has no basketball experience. Some places are so desperate they'll take almost anyone who volunteers. You'll probably need to pass a criminal history background check and you may need coaching certification depending on your state and school district policies. There is an article on my site that may help - Becoming a Volunteer Coach.


Email:
devinbower@email.msn.com
Date:
2/11/00

Question

Question: When reading basketball coaching books they always number their players 1-5. Are certain positions always numbered the same way?

Answer: 
Pretty much. Offensively, 1 refers to the point guard; 2, shooting guard; 3, small forward; 4, power forward; 5, center. Now, all people are different and all teams are different, so the talent in coaching is not turning people into numbers but into players. However, this system is useful for diagramming plays and showing where you'd like certain players to set up. You can also use this system when describing a press. The smaller numbers (hence smaller players) are the first to greet the ball handler. The bigger numbers are the bigger players, who are closer to the basket. So, if I were running a 2-2-1, I'd tell my two quick guards that they have positions 1 and 2 up front. The next two players are assigned positions 3 and 4 at the half court line. That big, goofy kid that isn't listening to me at the moment, gets position 5, defending the basket.


Email:
dannypc@aol.com
Date:
2/10/00

Question

I coach a community league team for Jr. High Boys. During a recent scrimmage with another team we were faced with attacking a 1-3-1 zone. We the coaches were caught off guard by this move. Our team was mostly unable to score or to even get good shots at the basket. What is a sound strategy for attacking this type of zone?

Answer: 
Now, against a 1-3-1, I recommend the same offensive principles as any zone: overload and break it in the middle when possible. Many teams try to face the 1-3-1 with a single point guard and two wings, but now the defense is already there. Your offense should set up in a 2-1-2. You have a post on the free throw line that always goes to ball side. The other players enjoy a 2 on 1 advantage on either side of the court. Pass quickly to get outside shots. Here's a diagram of how the 131 will distort as you pass and some opportunities to look for.



Email:
jstelter@novagate.com
Date:
2/11/00

Question

I have a son in Jv Basketball in high school. The coach loves to show & display and firmly believes in favoritism toward a few kids on the team. This brings down the team effort and they have lost all but one game. What advice could you give me to give to this coach. A lost parent for words of wisdom to give advice to a coach. Jim

Answer: 
This is a tough issue and I know your feelings as coach, parent and player. Did you see the Playing Time article? I firmly believe in playing every kid every game. There's so many benefits. Even your weakest kids can hold their own for a while given a chance and the confidence to do so. But, most coaches at the high school level and up probably play their top 7-8 most of the time. There are two challenges you have as a parent. First, encourage your son to think as positively as possible about the basketball, the team, and even the coach. Once you pour your own disappointment into your son, he may soon become disgruntled and unhappy. The coach may not play him because of his "attitude", so avoid that circle. Second, try to understand the coach's point of view. Maybe you do not have all the information about what happens in practice. Maybe some of the kids who are not playing are not putting a 100% into their practice. I see JV players working out every day. Some are willing to learn and hustle, some persist in old habits. Parents often only see the games and miss much of the total picture. The coach may be willing to discuss his philosophies with you (away from the game). However, please do not be confrontational. It doesn't work. Coaches hate it when parents tell them to play their child more. If you take that angle with him, he won't listen. Try asking how your son can improve, what skills should he practice on his own? That approach is much more constructive.


Email:
wcantwell@urbanout.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
2/9/00

Question

Question: I coach a girls 5th & 6th grade school team. Offensively, they play well against a 2-1-2 zone but really struggle against a 3-2 or 1-3-1...Do you have a simple play to run against these odd man zones. My guards are extremely small and have trouble passing over the opposition.

Answer: 

Private email sent 2/9/00.


Email:
Nomadsbasketball@altavista.com
Date:
2/9/00

Question

I have a u15 player who has good mechanics on his three pointer. What drills etc. will help him to increase the speed of his release. He needs to get the shot off faster. Thanks

Answer: 

We just worked on this specific skill today. There are several factors that lead up to a successful, quick release shot, some must happen before the shooter even gets the ball. Let's assume that the shooter has become free and has entered an open area to shoot.
1. The shooter must flash with his hands - hold them just below his face, fingers spread wide. There are multiple benefits: the hands are in good position and ready, the passer has a good target.
2. The pass should be in the shooter's face, or some teach on the player's shooting shoulder. If the pass is off the mark it will cause the shooter to adjust to catch the ball and the shot will likely be ruined before it is launched.
3. If the shooter needs to turn to face the basket, he should brake and pivot on the inside foot after catching the basketball. The outside foot follows around until the all the toes are aligned and facing the basket. If the player jump stops or uses the outside foot to brake, he will lose time and rhythm while getting balanced.
4. The pass should be caught with the hands in shooting position, ready to fire. Knees and elbows are already bent.
5. As the pass is caught, the legs and elbow straighten and the wrist snaps. Time of possession should be about a half second.
6. Do not allow the shooter to catch the ball, then lower it to chest level before shooting. This habit adds way too much time to the release. Beak this habit even if it means shooting percentage goes down (it will recover with practice). The ball should be caught face high and shot immediately.
7. Do not change form, shot angle or arc. Do not rush the shot. The secret is preparation, not moving faster.
8. Practice without the ball as needed to assure proper footwork.
DRILL: Have the player pass the ball to a partner, move to a pre-determined shooting spot. The partner passes the ball back (properly) and the shooter fires away. This can be done like a two line lay-up drill using a post or  two man partnering at a basket. A variation is to have the shooter move close to the basket and receive a high soft pass. The shooter jumps in the air, catches and shoots the ball before landing. If the player habitually lowers the ball before shooting, he won't be able to do this drill. Insist on proper shooting form. If the player can't maintain form, the drill has no value.


Email:
dougk@harryk.com
Date:
2/9/00

Question

Question: You gave a money analogy for basketball possessions in a Chalk Talk discussion some time ago. Do you remember when it was or is that something you have available? It was really good. This is an outstanding site, coach. Thanks for sharing your insight and expertise.

Coach ksox

Answer: 

The Basketball is Money analogy is in the article "Analogies" on the site. I use it often with our players. Last night one of our players turned the game around with his second half decision to stop rushing his attack after making a steal. Every time he stole the ball, he would make a hurried turnover. We told him to consider how much he had earned with the steal - why waste it on a foolish pass or poor shot? In the second had 4 steals and three assists- no turnovers!


Email:
didou@mailcity.com
Response Type:
Date:
2/6/00

Question

Question: i'm searching for tests with i can evaluat the anaerobic power of my basketball team , please send to me a list of them if you can, or better send to me some protocols of them, i'm a student in sports university and preparing my final exam, please if you can send to me quickly. yours ,amicaly

Answer: 

Now look at what you have done. You have asked a question I cannot answer. There are no lists of anaerobic evaluation protocols in the Coach's Notebook. Best wishes with your studies, though.


Email:
GSchutrum@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
2/4/00

Question

Question: Coach: I need a offense that I can have my players run in the half-court set when the opposing defense is playing a box and one. What would you suggest? Thanks!

Answer: 

Private email sent 2/5/00.


Email:
Reeny430
Response Type:
Date:
2/5/00

Question

Question: I would like to know how to attack offensively a 2-1-2 defense. What plays will be successful?

Answer: 

Generally, the 2-1-2 is countered with on odd-front offense such as 3 out - 2 in. The High-Low play in the Easy Offensive Sets article is an easy and effective place to start. The best advice against zones I know is overload one side, pass the ball quickly, reverse the ball quickly to the weak side and, best of all, flat beat the other team down the floor before they can set up their zone.


Email:
may@visuallink.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
2/3/00

Question

What is the best way to stop a 5'9" 10 year old from "cherry picking"? He stood underneath and out rebounded us every time even with aggressive box out. I believe he was over the back quite a bit, but the refs didn't see it that way! We will probably see them again in the championship game. Also, how do I keep my boys from being so intimidated by him?

Answer: 

Private email sent 2/4/00.


Email:
sopoci@sentco.net
Date:
2/3/00

Question

What is a coaching philosophy?

Answer: 

A coaching philosophy is a statement  that defines the values most important to the coach. Successful coaches, and leaders in general, usually have well defined philosophies. The advantage of a structured definition of values is that it enables a leader to determine a direction and then stay on track. A person without established values doesn't know himself, will have trouble providing direction with conviction and will continually be swayed by external forces. Established values allow people to follow and understand you more easily because they know what to expect and what to prioritize. John Wooden listed these philosophical values in his book, "Practical Modern Basketball", 1. Doing your best (as coach and player), 2. Teach Fundamentals, 3. Coaching as a leader, and 4. Success in your style of play is determined by execution, sound fundamentals and conditioning. 

Coaching philosophies vary widely from coach to coach. One may build his program on full time, high-pressure basketball, and attempt to beat every team by as many points as possible. He will have objective means to define his success. Another coach feel that every player should play as much as possible and enjoy themselves to the fullest regardless of scores or win/loss records. In either case, when the philosophy is clear, success is easier to both measure and achieve.


Email: kalothet@yahoo.com
Date:
2/2/00

Question

What is the average yearly income of a basketball coach?

Answer: 

Well, that depends on what level of basketball you coach, doesn't it? Most coaches work for free (like me). I have heard of a few high school coaching salaries around the country and they varied from $2,000 to $10,000 and that's if they weren't exaggerating. I expect that college coaching salaries vary wildly. Some prominent college coaches take home some significant cash, but you need to consider that they are running a substantial business.


Email:
ejs2k@aol.com
Response Type:
Date:
2/2/00

Question

Do you know of any good sites to get basic information on what to do with regards to a sports related injury? Last week, one of my players twisted her ankle pretty hard. She started to get up and fell again when she placed her weight on it. I know that an injured player should stay down until being evaluated, but I want to have an idea as to what questions I should be asking, and what the answers mean. Any assistance would be appreciated, thanks! Bill

Answer: 

Excellent question! I should include an article on site on this important topic - thanks for the idea. I found one site that made it easy to look up a specific ailment and get treatment advice. Try this url:  http://www.drugbase.co.za/data/med_info/acsport.htm  I have a First Aid Certification Card and I recommend all coaches to take the training, even if their league does not require it. For a "non-contact" sport, injuries are a frequent fact of life in basketball.


Email:
heather.gough@thomasmore.edu
Date:
2/2/00

Question

I coach a 7th grade competitive girls basketball team. At the beginning of the season we had tryouts to establish who would make the team. It is made up of 8 girls. I have been having a lot of problems with one of the parents over playing the amount of playing time that her daughter gets. She recently even wrote a nasty letter to me, the principal, and the athletic director about this situation. I have tried to talk to her about it and I feel that she was told about the differences between competitive and recreational basketball in the very beginning. I don't know what else to do. I am a young coach (this being my second season) and I have never had a parent act this way. I can tell that her behavior is affecting the team on a whole. Please help! thanks Heather

Answer: 

OK, I need to tell you a few things. One, as long as you coach, there will always be parents who feel you do not play their child enough, don't run the right offense, etc. That kind of criticism comes with the territory. Listen and consider what the parents say. Then think it over. If you got something you could use, great, use it. Otherwise, don't lose any sleep over it. Two, you did not say how much time the player in question is getting. Is it the #8 person? Sometimes you can play someone half the game and it isn't enough. That's one of the cases you don't lose any sleep over. Three, is this parent mad because the child isn't playing at all or for just a few minutes per game? If so, shame on you. Sorry to be harsh, but with only eight players on your team, all should be playing a lot. I have eleven players on our team and they all play every game - no complaints. Believe me, all the players have good things to offer. Did you see my  article on Playing Time


Email:
mrdo54@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
2/1/00

Question

Question: I am coaching a 3rd-4th boys team. I have five 3rd and only two 4th graders. Of the two fourth graders, only one has ever played and the other has only one year of experience. I have two ball handlers......both 3rd graders. One is very good and scores most of points. The other is good but quite small. So far we haven't won a game. We are not aggressive as we need to be. We have tried a 1-3-1 and man to man defense. We can't get rebounds secondary to lack of size and lack of aggressiveness. We have tried various offenses including 1-4. What to do? Any suggestions? Or just keep encouraging them and hope for the best.

Answer: 

Private email sent 2/1/00.


Email:
bmarkovich@crookston.k12.mn.us
Date:
2/1/00

Question

Question: I am looking for information on a good press and press-breaker for my 8th grade girls basketball team. We have some good height to pressure the ball and average athletism.

Answer: 

There are two presses I like with taller teams. For full court, try the 1-3-1 and for the half court try the 3-2. Each press utilizes traps at half court. Put height where the "3" is in your configuration. Tall people are good trappers. The key is to invite the dribbler into the trap then close it quickly. Don't attempt to grab the ball. Just keep hands high to deflect any passes. The value is in intercepting the pass. Trying to tie up the ball generates fouls. Fouls bail out the offense. Look in the article "Implementing a Press". Both of these are shown in the half court mode, but you can easily extend the 1-3-1. On the 1-3-1, activate the trap just pas the half court line so the line acts as part of your trap. The patterns listed in the Press Breaker article are universal. They will get you through any press as long as your players stay calm and pass crisply.


Email:
bnb2@snet.net
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
1/31/00

Question

Dear coach, I have a freshman girls bball with very few skills. Please tell me the most simple offense to run against man to man. They don't get most of the things we try to do Bob Chatfield

Answer: 

Private email sent 1/31/00. 


Email:
rwinland@yahoo.com
Date:
1/31/00

Question

Question: We have had trouble keeping a lead early in the fourth quarter. Two big games that we have played in we have been leading the whole game, but we have lost each of those games in the fourth quarter. Each team did nothing different, it just seems we lose our intensity. I have worked on situations in practice, but the girls seem to fold. I am always positive and coaching them. any suggestions?

Answer: 

The team I am coaching this year has gone through the same thing. We dumped two of our first three games because the kids just lacked the confidence to complete the game. We blew 10+ point leads in the final minutes. What helped was scrimmaging our JV team. Those kids are much more physical. After getting pounded a few times, our guys finally decided they were tired of intimidation and started playing basketball. Another thing that helped after losing for the third time was the realization that, of the games we lost, we could have won them all. Now we're on a 4 game streak and the kids are enthused. Soon they will get cocky and lose, the next phase teams go through. 

It sounds like your team may accept losing. Some teams don't dare to win. Some don't want to work hard enough to earn it. But I think your kids may be like mine and just need to believe they can. Do you have a offensive pattern to close a game when you're up a few baskets? I use the spread. It may work for you, too.


Email:
bholman23@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
1/31/00

Question

Question: Coach...great site. Do you have any suggestions for breaking a 3-2 half-court trapping defense?

Answer: 

Private email sent 1/31/00. 


Email:
Nomadsbasketball@altavista.com
Date:
1/29/00

Question

Question: On our 4th grade boys team we have kids who pull down the offensive rebound but then have trouble getting the put backs to fall. Some times they shoot with one shoulder facing the hoop to try to hold off the defenders but then they always miss the shot. What do you suggest that we drill and practice to correct this problem? Thanks.

Answer: 

This is tough for ten year olds because they generally need to bring the rebound down to waist level to generate enough power to get it back up to the rim. Unfortunately, that can become a life-long habit. Ideally, they should catch the ball, keep their arms up (or bend at the elbows bringing the ball to eye level)  then put the shot back up. If they can't do that, they will get swarmed, and will be better off kicking the ball outside. For drills, try the good old Mikan drill where they shoot from one  side, grab the ball and shoot from the other, but keep the ball over their shoulders all the time (they'll tire quickly). Also, have a coach or another player bank the ball off the backboard, intentionally missing. The rebounder catches the ball, lands on both feet, and bounce right back up to shoot the ball, using the bounce to power the shot. I discourage players from contorting or twisting to avoid fouls. They often succeed on avoiding the foul, but they also rule out any possibility of making the shot. If the shot gets blocked, no big deal. Blocked shot almost always go out of bounds or result in a foul.


Email:
anton.a.nilsson@telia.se
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
1/28/00

Question

Question: First of all, thanks for a GREAT page!

My question to you: My team boys born 86, we hav had 4 games this year aginst the other "good" team in our division. We have been leading by 6 points entering before the last quarter, and some how they have always beaten us by 1-4 points! Do you have anny tips that we can use to get that little advantage the we need to win against this team? In my way we have better players then them but they play better as a team. We got a good fullcourt press and 4 good scorers we can relie on. Should we try something new, like practice a halfcourt trap and suprise them at the 4th quarter? Please help me with my problem!

Best regards Anton Nilsson, Sunderbyn Sweden!

Answer: 

Private email sent 1/28/00.


Email:
kwalsh@usd218.org
Response Type:
Date:
1/26/00

Question

Question: I coach High school girls bball, grades 9-12. I'm very frustrated and don't know what else to try. We work on passes and rebounding in practice. But it never fails we have tons of turnovers and very little rebounding in the games. Do you have and suggestions to help me out. Also it doesn't matter how hard we play or how well we play, it seems like the other team is always playing better and harder than we do. Thanks!!! kw

Answer: Turnovers are a killer. I coach 9th grade boys and the turnovers have been a real problem for us, too. Here's how we are managing the situation.

First, to motivate the kids to improve, we quantify the turnovers. First two games, we committed 30. Last two games its been mid-teens, so we're pleased with that. We tell the kids turnovers cost you two points each. Each time the opponent gets the ball they will score about half the time, so there's one point. And then, you didn't even get a shot, so essentially you lost a point on offense. Also, they are rewarded with one less 16 to run in practice for every turnover under 15.

Second, turnovers reveal weakness in fundamentals. You didn't say what kind of turnovers predominate your games, but here are some we have experienced.

  1. Unprotected dribbling - ball away from body, bounce is too high and too soft.
  2. Traps - trying to drive through rather than pass around. Once trapped, holding the overhead instead of using triple threat position and stepping into the defense to create room.
  3. Rushing in transition - kid makes a great steal then throws it away with a bad pass, charging, etc. Concept is, after investing all that effort in the defensive recovery, why waste it in a rushed decision? You wouldn't spend your money that way.
  4. Forcing the play - for some reason the players feel a play must be completed in less than 15 seconds. We can run a pattern for a little bit, then someone can;t stand it and forces a pass. Never pass into trouble. Select a shot you can make. Not the first shot, necessarily, but the first good shot. Patience.
  5. Pass execution - passes that are soft, thrown too low, too high, too late or behind the recipient become turnovers. You play as you practice. Don't permit poor passes in practice.
  6. Sometimes kids get rattled or fatigued and make the mental lapse mistakes. As soon as I see one of those or a close call, the player gets a rest.

Rebounds
This takes a personal commitment. If even one player of five fails to box out, the whole team pays the price. In controlled scrimmages, we practice rebound by counting points for rebounds, not baskets. They rebound well then, but in the games real, forget. So, I ask the bench players to participate by reminding players on the floor to box out or watch out for loose opponents. Technically, your player must locate the opponent, not watch the shot go through the air. Impede the path, turn around and stick her rear end into the offense. Too many players stand straight up, watch the ball, and hope to outjump everyone. Rebounding is position, not jumping. Prevent your man from getting the ball, then let the ball come to you. If all five defenders do that, you'll get the ball and it won't even be hard.


Email:
macat17131
Date:
1/26/00

Question

Question: I coach a competitive 5th-6th grade B-Ball team. Do u have any dribbling drills we could incorporate into our daily practice?

Answer: 

We open every practice with a standard set of activities: stretching, calisthenics and then ball handling. Each phase is 10 minutes. The dribbling exercise uses six balls ( 6 lines of 2 players each). Each player drives to half court and back then gives the ball to his partner. Each trip is one of a series of dribbling maneuvers. Obviously, the form is critical, not speed. We do cross-overs, step-backs, shoulder fakes - separate turns for right and left hand. The lines combine and we do two ball dribbles - simultaneous bounce - alternating bounce. Also, you can divide the court into 15' lanes and practice advancing the ball, zig-zag, vs pressure.

Key points are 1. dribble close to the body 2. Dribble firmly, not soft 3. Eyes toward the basket (ask the players to look at certain things while dribbling, ie how many fingers am I holding up?) and 4. go slow as you need to for proper execution. After a few weeks, the kids do all these moves comfortably.

If you haven't seen it yet, try Steph's Dribbling Drills for inspiration.


Email:
uhrgl@hotmail.com
Date:
1/18/00

Question

Question: I'm coaching a 16-18 boys team and I would like to install another defensive wrinkle. Recently, I saw Clyde Drexler's Houston team running a 1-3-1 half-court trap. What are the tenants of this defense? What are the weaknesses (I think the baseline looked like a weakness in the game I was watching)? What kind of players do I need to run this trap? How can I teach this effectively? This site is a great resource. Thanks for the help. Sincerely, Gabe Uhr.

Answer: 

Coach Gabe, if you have an athletic team, this may be an effective defense for you. Its particularly tough on a small floor. The basic tenants, in my opinion, are:
1. let the ball cross half court. You don't want the defense to pass over you. Invite then across the half court line, then trap. Everybody else is now an interceptor.
2. Don't go for steals or jump balls - that leads to fouls. Force them to pass overhead.
3. If you are big, this press looks scary. The only obvious pass is into the corner trap.

The weakness is obvious. The baseline corners are open. Once, in a championship tournament game against a better opponent, we used this defense. As we hoped, they continuously passed into the corners and shot - and missed. Our gamble was that the corner shot would be the most difficult, and they shot poorly enough to let us win. Read the Implementing a Press article. The principles are all the same.


Email:
hersheykisser13@aol.com
Date:
1/19/00

Question

Question: HOW DO I GET A BETTER JUMP SHOT? ALL MY SHOTS MAKE IT TO THE BASKET BUT SOME HOW FALL OUT!

Answer: 

Hhmmm... tough call without seeing you in action. If you are not getting the "shooter's touch" I would first suspect inadequate arc in your shot. Many shooters fire flat shots at the rim and get horrible action. Have the courage to let the ball fall through. Secondly, I would look at the ball spin. Do you get a nice, fast reversed spin on your shot? If it is motionless while in the air, or spins sideways, you have release problems. Lastly, use the backboard inside of 10 feet. Once you get used to it, it is soooo much easier to make those shots consistently.


Email:
jgmmazur@aol.com
Date:
1/19/00

Question

I saw my first look at a matchup zone last week and I would like to know how to run an offense against it. Do you have an idea of an offense I can run against the zone?

Answer: 

You know, I just don't get too hung up on running offense X against offense Y.  I love the principles of the motion offense. The Alaska Play uses those pretty well. This year our kids run a simplified triangle and I like it better every game. It requires teaching the kids to use a post (lost art these days) but, oh my, it is so pretty to see it work. So, frankly, I think either of these approaches will work. It comes down to how well you run your plays more than which plays you run.


Email:
rgovaniii@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
1/20/00

Question

I coach several, youth basketball teams, and my players range from 3rd graders to 7th graders. How can I get them to play more aggressively? Are there practice drills that I can emphasize?

Answer: 

My thinking is influenced by Pete Carril's book "The Smart Take from the Strong". His point was that the kids from the under-advantaged neighborhoods have a stronger hunger. In the realm of my experience, I tend to agree. Many of the kids I coach are from well to do families. They tend to be rather passive. I know several drills that are designed to get kids fired up and competitive, such as putting the ball in the middle of a circle with the kids lined around, then saying, "go get it!" You can make an inner circle of defensive players to make it more game-like. Anyway, the first time I tried it, some kids got all banged up, so I shelved that drill. You may offer incentives for results - fewer running drills or a team night out. But, basically, aggressiveness is inherent in the personality. Kids will follow their nature.


Email:
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
1/21/00

Question

Question: So how many conference championships do you have?

Answer: 

You asked for a private email but you did not provide an email address. So, I'll answer your question here. Semantically, zero, because players win championships, not coaches. Coaches are advisors, consultants, taskmasters, cheerleaders, etc. but not players. So, I do not publish a win/loss record for myself. Have my teams won championships? Sure! Various teams have won at the u17 level, u15, u13 and u12. Last year's high school C team was undefeated (21-0). The most talented team I had the privilege of working with (8th grade) was 33-1. All that aside, the Coach's Notebook is built upon basketball fundamentals gathered from many sources. Read it, try it. If it works, give the credit to your kids. They win the games.


Email:
masterclean@integrityonline7.com
Date:
1/21/00

Question

Question: I coach an 8th grade boys team, none overweight, average to above average athletic skills. We're in 2nd place in a league which the best team is just as athletic as us but of superior height and size...10 kids per team, 5 kids play 1 whole quarter each half, I play any 5 kids in 5th qtr. We match up ok 2 qtrs but other 2 get outsized and blown out. We do need more motion in our offense to overcome their size BUT OUR PRIMARY NEED IS STOPPING THEIR OFFENSE. In Summary: Rating system 1=low 10=high US: Athleticism=7 Height/Size=5 Them:Athleticism=7 or 8 Height/Size=9

Key Question: What's the best strategy against a team like this? **I do thank you in advance for any help re this matter. I'm sure I'm not the only one with this problem. PS. I have 3 or 4 2hr practices in order to implement any suggestions, starting 2/1/2000.

Answer: 

I'd play them m2m using the pressure man to man defense described on the site. Full fronting the post is very effective with the younger kids. Players just stop passing to the post. My team this year is small and average athletically, but, man do they look good at defense sometimes. I used to worry about getting mismatches - their big kid against my smaller kid, but I've learned to give the smaller guys credit. If a player understand the value of positioning and doesn't take foolish risks (reaching in, blocking shots, ...), the results are quite acceptable.


Email:
flw_mcl@msn.com
Date:
1/22/00

Question

Question: I coach a girls 4-5th grade recreational league team. Its my first coaching experience in any sport. Some kids have no experience and a few have good skills, but little game experience. The league rules require every player to get about the same number of minutes. They need to learn everything, but we have minimal practice time, only one-hour a week for a weekly game. Everything I read emphasizes drills concentrating on one skill at a time, but my co-coach favors walk-throughs of game situations and controlled scrimmages to teach the basics of playing the game. How do we balance these needs given the minimal time we have? We're in a cold climate, so the girls get little opportunity to practice skills outside of our practice time. Thanks for any advice.

Answer: 

Tell me about the cold climate! I agree with your co-coach about controlled scrimmages in practice. Of your single hour, I would suggest maybe 15 minutes of scrimmage. In that time, insist that the kids use their off/def game plan including OB plays. The remaining time should be devoted to team defensive skills and the basic offensive skills - lay ups, 2-1 and 3-2 situations. Remember, good defense will provide most of your points. Do not spend a lot of time on half court offense. Considering your practice time allotment, it just doesn't pay.


Email:
NEWTISU@AOL.COM
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
1/22/00

Question

Question: 2 questions: 1) I am coaching a 7th and 8th grade boys basketball team. I have an offense that I've run for a few years, but would like to change to more of a motion offense. Can you outline that for me? 2) I am a decent post player at 6'3 230lbs. I have tried to improve my footwork, which I know will only enhance my game. But I am not having much luck there. Can you suggest a website or book that talks about the big man's game down low? Great Website Thank You

Answer: 

Private email sent 1/23/00.


Email:
bruner9@midusa.net
Date:
1/22/00

Question

Question: looking for stat sheets that i can download starting a youth basketball team. thank you calvin bruner

Answer: 

Calvin, your sheets should arrive by the end of the week.


Email:
Rock40000@aol.com
Date:
1/23/00

Question

Question: I coach a youth boys team and in the first week of practice i focused a lot on defense. Well now my defense is very strong but our offense is very weak. This is the sole reason why we lost our first two games (they were very close). How can I improve their offensive skills and shooting?

Answer: 

Offensive skills take a long time to develop, both for individuals and teams. The best you can do is concentrate on doing the things you know as well as you can. My team has been together practicing daily for two months and only now are we seeing some consistency. You didn't say where your offense is breaking down. Are players spaced properly? Do they know where to start and what to do? Are the players executing the simple things well like picks and accurate passing? A lot of times I see our guys sabotage each other with poor execution. A sloppy pass, an unprotected dribble, its little things like these that can kill offense.

 


Email:
maryhoffmn@aol.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
1/24/00

Question

Question: What are the qualities a coach should possess in order to not only serve as a coach but a role model for high school athletes? I'm looking for something like a job description that someone might use when hiring a coach and also some guidelines for the coach to follow. Thanks.

Answer: 

Private email sent 1/24/00.


Email:
lawrence@onetouch.com
Date:
1/24/00

Question

Question: I have a pretty inexperienced church basketball team that I coach. The biggest obstacle for us is boxing out on the offensive boards. Are there any drills that you are aware of that might help me teach this concept?

Answer: 

The best thing that worked for my son was when he came to an adult open gym with me. The older guys all boxed out relentlessly, probably because none could jump well anymore. I noticed that he immediately improved and, even though he's a point guard, became our third leading rebounder. Another tip... my brother took a picture of our team in action one day. The opponent was shooting. Every single person on our team was gawking at the shot and moving nowhere. That picture got results, too. You can do drills, like the coach shoots and defensive team tries to protect the rebound, but ... I think it comes down to individual commitment. I think its a beautiful thing to see 5 kids blocking out and the ball bounces on the floor before its picked up.


Email:
ww24ever@juno.com
Date:
1/24/00

Question

Question: I would like to know some offensive options I could use against a 1-3-1 trap. My team is made up of 8 and 9 year olds. I can not get them to pass out of the trap. If I could accomplish this we might be able to score. I would appreciate it very much if you could let me know what to do or any site that could shed some light on the subject. THANK YOU! -Willie White

Answer: 

I think its inherently wrong for 8 and 9 year olds to be dealing with 1-3-1 trap defenses. If I were in your shoes, I would try to get the players to pass before the traps are set. Drive until the players come to trap, then pass back to the trailing in-bounder. The key to breaking most presses is having players flash to the middle, get the ball, then pass to players breaking down court. Convince your kids they are being smarter than the opponents by suckering them into trying to set a trap, when all the while they are planning to pass around it. If they are trying to dribble through the press, stop them. Insist on the passing game. Keep passes short and crisp. Tell them not to rush. The defense is creating their own problems by spreading themselves all over the floor.


Email:
belal007@hotmail.com
Response Type:
Date:
1/25/00

Question

Question: what's the best defensive for player under 12-14 years?

Answer: 

Teach the kids man to man defense. Its the basis for everything they will learn later on. Anytime they play with new people or get in a pick up game, it all comes down to man to man. Future coaches will deeply appreciate solid man to man fundamentals. I have two articles on the site describing man to man defense, Pressure Man to Man and Fundamental Defensive Skills.


Email:
zoned18@hotmail.com
Date:
1/9/00

Question

Hello, very nice site. I can get up high enough to dunk, but I just cannot dunk it. Can you give some help on this.

Answer: 

Frustrating, isn't it? I had good hops at your age, too, but never could dunk despite getting well over the rim. Its important to have strength in your hands and long enough fingers to hang on to the ball. Another factor is timing. You need to be in the finish as your hand gets to the rim. A lot of guys wait to long to throw it down. Have you tried dunking on a 9 foot rim? I don't have much to offer - dunking was illegal when I was young - and I spend most of my time now teaching kids to go up strong and use the backboard and achieve the highest accuracy possible.


Email:
jrg2800@aol.com
Date:
1/10/00

Question

Coach: Thanks for the info on the breaking of the trap and press. I didn't expect the immediate response, but know that it was much appreciated.

I have a 9th grader who's improving every game. He's 195, a wide body. He gets a good share of rebounds because of his good positioning and savvy in boxing out, but he'd like to be able to jump higher. Do you have any weight training tips or book suggestions that might be of help over the summer for next year.

Certainly would appreciate any ideas.

Sincerely yours Jack Grossman

Answer: 

Wide bodies are a big advantage. Rebounding is so much more about positioning than jumping high. More often than not, you see see jumper guys on the outside trying to jump over the wide bodies that know what they are doing. Jumping higher is part strength, part quickness. Many guys have lots of power, but they just don't have the explosion of power you need. I suggest quickness exercise, such skipping rope. Practice jumping, first off one foot then the other. Practice repeated, quick, standing jumps off both feet. All this can be done individually and it will help if he can find a place where he can mark his progress over time.

Weights are good, especially toe raises to pump the calves. But... I feel quickness is key.


Email:
RSHULL4163@AOL.COM
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
1/10/00
Time:
4:56:16 PM

Question

I'AM A ROOKIE COACH, COACHING 13YEAR OLD BOYS INTERMURALS. THE ONLY PRACTICE TIME IS 30 MINUTES BEFORE GAMES. I WANTED TO TEACH THEM A SIMPLE OFFENSE. DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS? I HAVE HEARED THAT THE WHEEL IS A GOOD ONE BUT I'AM NOT COMPLETLY SURE HOW IT WORKS.

THANKS

Answer: 

Private email sent 1/10/00.


Email:
EDGRIMLY@AOL.COM
Date:
1/11/00

Question

I coach my sons' youth team. They are playing very well and we constantly go over the fundamentals. we encountered our first ZONE defense last week and now i would like to teach them a zone. I was thinking of the 2-3. Can you advise of anyone zone that is better than another to teach 9 year olds? Thank you .... 

R. Saunders

Answer: 

I think it depends on your team's physical makeup more than age. If there was one best zone based on its own merits, everyone would be running it. If you have just one big player, a 2-1-2 offers interior defense and some protection for your post player. If you have two big guys, try a 3-2. Three big guys, 2-3. Another tip. Try a half court press in the same configuration as your intended zone. For instance, a 1-3-1 half court trap defense can gradually collapse into a 1-3-1 small zone if you have a team that likes to trap. Remember the reasons your running a zone: Make them shoot long, get rebounds and avoid fouls. There are many tips in the Basic Zone article. Practice the shell drill so they understand the concepts of early help, pass denial and sinking into the key when the ball is away. 

 


Email:
moe2harvey@aol.com
Date:
1/12/00

Question

I have seen some Div.II ladies run a half court 2-3 press that is like the 2-3 zone. They usually have two closes girls that trap, however I am having a hard time with the rotation. have you heard of this press... if so is there a book I can get with this in it.

Answer: 

There are fundamental rules to rotations and responsibilities. No matter which configuration you start with, the press must distort depending an what the offense decides to do. Young teams may be predictable in their attack methodology, but older teams will try to beat you in a number of ways. That means your players will need to follow rules rather than a fixed shifting pattern. The fundamental rules for trapping are:

1. Two (and only two) trappers on the ball, two interceptors and one protector
2. Deny all passes to the middle, usually the interceptor's jobs that is closest to the breaking offensive player
3. If a dribbler breaks free, interceptor must stop the ball, protector steps up, trappers fall back to help

I don't recommend or review books or tapes. I don't have time. But, you may try some other sites that do. I suggest:
1. http://www.powerbasketball.com/
2. http://www.bbhighway.com/


Email:
D-MAN!
Date:
1/13/00

Question

Where are the plays?

Answer: 

There are a few sources for plays. The categories are listed under the OFFENSE section. You may choose from basic plays (like pick and roll), offensive sets (Alaska Play and others), OB plays and Stall/Tipoff. I plan to add plays submitted by readers, but that page isn't completed yet.


Email:
fury3509@aol.com
Date:
1/13/00

Question

I am a basketball player from nyc and want to know of good ways to jump higher. Thanx

Answer: 

Take a look at the first question (above). I see this question many times on the coaching bulletin boards. Suggestions generally include weight training, specifically thighs and calves. Some companies offer special shoes that stress the lower leg muscles. I know some people that have shown remarkable improvement in their vertical after weight training for 6-8 weeks.

 


Date:
1/14/00

Question

How do you teach the triangle and two defense?

Answer: 

I don't. It takes a pretty stubborn team to succumb to a triangle and 2. Essentially you have three men playing a zone, usually near the blocks and in the middle of the key. Then the two players remaining are dedicated to the two offensive players you're most worried about. The thinking is that you will deny opportunities for the two top scorers and let three guys protect the basket. But .... what if the offensive team sends their top two scorers down to play post? This creates a confusing puzzle for the defense. There is a dedicated defender on the high scorer AND a defender playing zone in that same area. Worse, the situation is duplicated on the other side of the key. So, theoretically, the defense has four people guarding two players. Who is guarding the other three offensive people? One guy in the middle of the key. I would expect to get some easy mid-range shots and I would expect that among the 8-10 other players on my team, there will be kids having a good shooting night. If they all can't do the job, too bad. We win and lose as a team.

Another idea is to post up your scorers as stated. Then you could down screen on their dedicated defenders and have your scorers pop out.

The triangle and 2 is a "junk defense". If you can use it successfully, fine, but it is highly compromised. Sorry, but I can't tell you a way to effectively teach it. I choose to employ pressure m2m most of the time which provides early help against penetrating scorers.


Email:
mrktgue@aol
Date:
1/14/00

Question

I coach youth basketball at my church. This is only my second year at this and I went from one team to four teams this year. I do not have a real good point guard What advice can you give me? I am in need of some really basic plays for them, we want to be able too beat zone defenses, and man to man defenses. Majority of my teams has never played organized basketball before. I have been teaching them the wheel but what else do you suggest?

Answer: 

You have 4 teams? Oh my! Look under the topic menu for Easy Offensive Sets. Some of these are as simple as can be, and they work. You didn't mention defense, but sound man to man defensive principles is the best gift you can offer. Most teams score <20% off their offensive set. The rest comes from defensive transitions. Check out the Pressure Man to Man article.


Email:
Nomadsbasketball@altavista.com
Date:
1/14/00

Question

Hi I'm coaching my son and a group of 10 year old boys on a new AAU team that we have just formed. I'm wondering what kinds of offenses and defenses I should expect to encounter playing AAU at this young age. Also, what aspect of basketball should I avoid teaching until the kids are a little older? Thanks

Answer: 

I suggest you arm yourself with a solid press breaker and have a good press to throw back at them. Most teams that collect athletic kids for tournaments or travel look to pressure basketball for scoring more than offensive half court sets. Avoid implementing multiple OB plays, gimmick defenses and trendy offensive sets.  Too confusing. Keep plays as simple and direct as possible. Proper execution is so much more important than complexity or trickery. I have had some good 10-11 year old teams. The most effective offensive tactics were maintaining spacing and running pick and rolls.


Email:
tiwell@if.rmci.net
Date:
1/15/00

Question

I have a question, I am coaching a 7th and 8th grade youth team it is a volunteer thing, anyway I have two outstanding guards and decent post players what type of offensive play should I run? - Doug Barfuss

Answer: 

I am not sure how experienced your team is, but it seems like you have a good balance already and will enjoy some versatility in your offensive and defensive strategies. I suggest that you start with the High-Low or Two-Low offenses described in the topic Easy Offensive Sets. They are designed to be introductions into motion offense. Your team should grasp them within practice or two. If they seem too easy, try the Alaska Play in the same section. It is a motion offense based on 4 rules. Once the kids have the rules down (they're easy), the play offers continuous motion and shot opportunities. 


Email:
mjionsdhy@yahoo.com
Date:
1/15/00

Question

Does offense or Defense win games?

Answer: 

Well, except for a forfeit (score is 2-0), you need at least one basket to win, so that puts offense up there in the top two! An irony in basketball, though, is that a team's defense usually creates more situations for a team to score than it's set offensive does. So, I believe a young team should work hardest on its defensive principles to get more points. In general, the team that is more skilled on defense will win because it will get more easy shots than the team more skilled on offense. Another irony... the best defense is your offense. If you have the ball, the other team cannot score. So, in a sense, avoiding turnovers and poor shot choices inhibits the other team's scoring. To answer your question, you need both, but if your team can only be excellent at one of the two, be excellent at defense.


Email:
midg22@hotmail.com
Date:
1/17/00

Question

Can you please help me out. Our University basketball team is a good team when on a fast break but as soon as the play is slowed down we go to pieces. Could you suggest any simple set plays that I can introduce. Thanks Midg

Answer: 

Sounds like your players recognize the opportunities in the open court, but aren't sure how to create them. Half court offenses fizzle for three common reasons: 
1. Players aren't sure how or where to start
2. Basic parts of the offense are omitted or poorly performed
3. Spacing is imbalanced or congested
First of all, don't blame your plays. Some offenses require experienced players who recognize defensive situations to key offensive moves. If the all the players are thinking alike, their team is very effective. They may run a motion or triangle style offense successfully. If that team has two or three players on the floor who are hesitant, though, the plays crash. Some players need a very structured play set so they know exactly where to be and what to do. If your team isn't fundamentally sound in the offensive process, setting or using screens, for instance, plays won't click. Break these points down in practice. Lastly, if the players are too close together, the defense has an easier time deflecting passes, switching, etc. Stay 15 - 18 feet apart. See Easy Offensive Sets.


Email:
Coachmcp@aol.com
Date:
1/17/00

Question

I just wanted to let everyone know that coach jordan has a tremendous site. i really like his K.I.S.S. philosophy. It has helped me very much as a young coach. Thanks for the help. I did have a question though. Which press do you like better the 1-2-1-1 or the 2-2-1? i would like to implement one of them and once the team learns it maybe add the other to give the opposition a different look. let me know your friend mike perez

Answer: 

Thanks, Mike. Draw the 221 on paper. Tilt it 45 degree and what do you have? 1211! These presses are easy to interchange. The 1211 sets up an immediate trap after the in-bounds pass. The 221 doesn't contest the in-bound pass and it waits for the receiver to make a decision on where to go. The trap may not set until the dribbler stops. In both presses, the second two players back are critical. Most people think that the player(s) on point are supposed to get steals, but the real money is in setting the trap and forcing a bad pass for the next two players to grab. These presses are "broken" when the offense is able to pass to the middle of the floor, so those middle players must leave their positions as required to prevent such a pass. See the section on "Implementing Presses". I don't prefer either press. I like to press a couple minutes, then change pace, then press again later. Presses seem to be effective for a short time, then allow easy baskets. I don't like the easy baskets part!


Email:
cyote1982@aol.com
Date:
1/17/00

Question

Coach:

I am interested in teaching my 6th grade team the four corner offense. Is there anyone who can detail this for me.

Answer: 

Check out the article, Stalling and Tip-Off. I call this play the Spread. It is extremely effective when you have a lead and can draw the opponent away from the basket where they are susceptible to back door situations. I use it to control the final moments of a game.


Email:
kaas4@hotmail.com
Response Type:
Private email requested
Date:
1/17/00

Question

I am searching for specific basketball-software for coaches, with which i can draw and register all kinds of offenses in my computer. Could you give me the name of this software and perhaps a supplier or even better, send it to me, so that i can download it.

For your information, my name is Cees van Rootselaar and i'm a professional basketball player in a Dutch basketball-team (premier division).