Two-ball drills, transfer and inspiration

Originally published in Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletter 6.4. Now available in Kindle and paperback. Subscribe to the weekly newsletter here.

After their practice on Monday, two teenagers from our women’s team worked along the baseline on a two-ball drill that I had introduced the previous week. This is my primary purpose for introducing challenging dribbling drills: To inspire players to practice on their own. We do not spend much time on dribbling. My men’s team generally practices dribbling on Thursdays when we have fewer players. With our skill workouts, we usually work on general dribbling in one of the two workouts per week. In the 11-12 hours of practice and workouts each week, we spend roughly 20 minutes on dribbling (of course, other drills, games, and scrimmages incorporate dribbling).  Read more

Practice Planning Presentation

Game-Based Practices and Practice Planning

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Practice Planning Preparation

Every discussion, article, or lecture I hear about practice planning talks about the importance of having high quality practices.  I am a firm believer in how a team or athlete practices is how a team or athlete will play in the game.  There is no magic switch to turn on.  Therefore, practice is the most valuable time for coaches.  Here are some tips that I have incorporated into my practice planning from experience and the website, Teach Like a Champion. Read more

Planning a Practice with the Competitive Cauldron

Since writing about the system that I use, I have received a couple questions and decided to start a new post and thread here. The competitive cauldron is the name that Anson Dorrance, University of North Carolina women’s soccer coach, gave to his system of wins and losses. I believe he got the idea from Dean Smith. I started my system after reading one of the several books by or about Dorrance that I have read.

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Coaching Frosh Basketball – Week 1

Despite night classes twice a week, I am coaching a freshmen boys basketball team. Former NBA scout Clarence Gaines suggested that I wrote about my philosophy for each week. Coaching will be tough, as the season is compacted, we just finished tryouts, and I am not going to be there all the time because of prior commitments and class schedules. It is what it is.  Read more

Planning a Youth Basketball Practice

A friend emailed and asked for advice, as he volunteered to coach his son’s youth basketball team. As in many leagues, most of the players are beginners, and teams only practice for an hour or two each week before playing their weekend games (and people wonder why youth leagues are overly-competitive with a 1:1 practice:game ratio; leagues are teaching parents and players that practice is unimportant, and games matter most, primarily because practices are inefficient from a profit standpoint). Here is a sample practice plan. Read more

Assessing your Coaching

Last week, I videotaped a lecture that I gave to my Intermediate Weightlifting class to use for an assignment for an Education class on college teaching. I had to watch my teaching, use a self-evaluation form and write about the experience.

Simply looking at the self-evaluation form reminded me of several things that I like about other coaches that I often forget to do myself: Read more

Interview with De La Salle’s Frank Allocco

Since today is the first day of official basketball practice for high schools (at least in my area), I interviewed De La Salle High School’s (CA) Head Coach Frank Allocco. Allocco has won two C.I.F. State Championships during his tenure at DLS and is regarded by many as the best high school basketball coach in the state. Before his season started, he answered several questions about preparing for the season and sustaining excellence.

BM: As the first official practice of the season approaches, how do you plan for the up-coming season? Do you have a season plan?

FA: We definitely have a Season Plan. We will begin with the building blocks of our offense and defense with special emphasis on fundamentals. As the year progresses, we will adjust our schedule to involve more team play.

BM: What are the biggest deficiencies for players moving from freshman or junior varsity to varsity basketball? Or, put another way, what areas tend to have the most room for growth?

FA: Players must adjust to the speed and physical play of varsity basketball. Quickness, jumping ability must improve dramatically. Moving without the ball, getting themselves open for good shots is always challenging for a player entering varsity basketball.

BM: Do you lift weights as a team in-season? If so, how often?

FA: Yes, we try to maintain a weight lifting protocol a couple of times a week. Managing time to do everything you would like to do without interfering with the academic workload is quite a balancing act. However, Academics comes first……

BM: What do you emphasize in training? Obviously everyone wants to be great at everything, but what do you emphasize in particular?

FA: Fundamentals, teach kids how to play. Whatever you emphasize as a coach is what you will get.

BM: How do you manage to sustain excellence year-in and year-out?

FA: We have created a culture of working hard and sacrificing for the good of the team. Our players are “other-centered” rather than “self-centered.” Our defensive tradition is consistent regardless of the talent level that we may have or may not have during a given year.

BM: What do you think is the most important attribute or characteristic of a great practice?

FA: Time management, keep practice on task, moving briskly, keeping players interested, challenging them to want to improve.

BM: What is the first step that a coach can take to develop a championship team?

FA: Set lofty goals and sell your players on the things that they will have to do to get there. Believe in yourself, your plan, and your team.

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