October 21

Kevin Garnett: A Legacy of Love for the Game

Dustin Kerns

This article was written by Wofford College associate head men’s basketball coach Dustin Kerns. Coach Kerns is entering his second year as associate head coach with the Terriers, but was also an assistant coach with the program from 2004-07. Dustin also has held an assistant coaching position at Sata Clara, and a graduate assistant position as Tennessee University. 


Kevin Garnett is 38 years old and entering his 20th NBA season.  He is my favorite NBA player for many reasons, but most of all I truly admire his passion and competitive fire to play the game of basketball. When he steps off the floor this season he will join only three other players who have played two decades in the NBA (Robert Parrish, Kevin Willis and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).


What Does Greatness Look Like?

Not only is he still playing, he still produces and has played in more than 1,500 games, regular season and playoffs combined.  Surpassing his financial security, he continues to play because he loves the responsibility to produce.  Kevin Garnett is wired differently – that is why the great players are perceived great.

He always wants to guard the best post player, he is always leading and talking to younger players, and he is always strategizing with post and defensive schemes.  He is paid well, and he should be, because he earns it.  You do not just get respect in the NBA, you earn it, and Kevin Garnett certainly has earned it.  His mind is more powerful than his body and that is a huge reason why he still produces after 19 seasons in the NBA.


Ultimate Team Player

Kevin Garnett, like most great players, has a legacy.  He won an NBA Title, MVP, and owns many records, but his legacy is his love. Who is the next NBA player to have as much respect for the history of the game and its predecessors like Kevin Garnett does?  Who is going to leave a legacy of being an ultimate team guy who was driven by the competition and learning process?   Who is going to overlook being considered a power forward one season and a center the next season because he just wants to be “on the floor”?

The legacy of Kevin Garnett is the journey of his career and how his mindset and attitude made his physical talent go from great to legendary.  There is so much to learn from him and his approach to everything he does.  In the end, he stands for something and is a self-made man.


Notable Career Stats

Kevin Garnett owns a lot of personal accolades but these certainly stand out and deserve mentioning:

*Only player in NBA history to reach at least 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 steals and 1,500 blocks in his career

*Only player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists per game for 9 consecutive seasons (1998–99—2006–07)


Finishing the Right Way

Most likely, this will be his last NBA season and our last chance to watch and appreciate what he does.  The sports world unified and celebrated recently Derek Jeter’s exit from baseball in an epic moment.  I certainly wish and hope whenever the time for Kevin Garnett to play his last game, he gets the same recognition and moment because he has earned it.

In life, at some point we are all replacements of some kind.  We replace someone and someone replaces us in our job or role.  The NBA has to replace Kevin Garnett, but in my opinion his legacy is irreplaceable.


The Challenge

This all leads to the following challenge for players. What will your basketball legacy look like? Are you going to be known as a player that really loved the game, and gave it their all every time they stepped on the court? There is a right way to do things, and the career of Kevin Garnett is an example to every young basketball player as to what that looks like. Be a leader in your actions, and not just in word. There are a lot of people that talk leadership, but not many that show it through their actions.


“I hear leadership, I don’t see it” – Kevin Garnett

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October 21

Shaka Smart Coaching U 2014 Basketball Clinic Notes

Shaka Smart

These clinic notes are from when Shaka Smart spoke at the 2014 Coaching U Basketball Clinic in Indianapolis, IN. Coach Smart is the head men’s basketball coach at VCU, and is considered one of the top college basketball coaches in the country. Previous to coaching VCU, Shaka has also held coaching positions at the following schools; Florida, Clemson, Akron, and Dayton. These coaching clinic notes are going to cover Coach Smart’s defensive system, and a few other thoughts on coaching. The notes were taken by Jacob Collins.


Shaka Smart: “Culture of Havoc”


3 Book suggestions:

  • Know yourself as a Coach – Denny Kuiper
  • Mindset – Carol Dweck
  • Help the Helper – Kevin Pritchard


All coaches should research Jack Clark – Rugby Coach at Cal-Berkeley


Patriots sign in locker room – “We don’t become you, you become us.”

  • How?
  • Constantly teach what we do to the smallest detail
  • Constantly reinforce what we do
  • Constantly provide the answers to the tests


Freshman Orientation

  • Twice a week in the summer that provides some of “the answers to the test”
  •  Every day we_____________________?—Ask yourself what we do
  • What do you do every day?
  • At VCU they work on transitions EVERY DAY
  • Goal: best in country at transitions
  • Older players teaching younger players how it is done
  • In practice transition getting water into getting in a huddle
  • Combine things in drills


Core Values

  • Appreciation—see every opportunity as a gift
    • Appreciation to entitlement ratio
  • Enthusiasm—passionate and excited about our process for success
  • Competitiveness—aggressively pursue greatness
  • Teamship—we fully commit to align ourselves with the team
    • Goals are all team endeavors
  • Accountability—we are responsible for our team and ourselves


3 types of Accountability

  • Coach holding player accountable
  • Coach/player holds themselves accountable
  • Players hold each other accountable


Need to:

  • Coaches must expose any type of hypocrisy in the program


“If it were natural to be a champion, it would happen a lot.”


Havoc – mentality to the way that we approach the game

  1. Fullcourt pressure defense
  2. Halfcourt pressure defense
  3. Transition offense
  4. Halfcourt offense—ATTACK!!
  5. Relentless attack at the offensive glass


Always want to be the aggressor

  • 2 types of pressure defense (VCU utilizes both)
    • Matchup and pressure ball and deny
    • Trap



  • Element of surprise (trapping v. not trapping)
  • Want to keep the pressure on


“That which gets measured gets done.”

  • If it’s a good trap, result will normally be good.
  • Bad traps will KILL you
  • Have to deal with disadvantage situations if you are pressing
  • Need to be good at “Fix-It” situations
  • Transition rules apply
    • 1) Basket
    • 2) Ball
    • 3) Ballside
  • Not worried about mismatch


Most important pass to deny is the entry pass

  • No elbow catches
  • Wants to take team out of their offense
  • Rarely will teams hit backdoor w/o entry pass


Reasons why we press

  1. Turnovers
  2. Force quick & bad shots
  3. Create offensive opportunities for ourselves
  4. Force tempo
  5. Disrupt flow
  6. Make opposing players do things they are uncomfortable with
  7. Difficult to prepare for
  8. Create fatigue
  9. Make depth a factor
  10. Exciting for fans/players/recruits
  11. Identity


Pressing Notes

  • Not a question of if you get fatigued, but what you do when you are fatigued
  • Who gets tired first? Who recovers fastest?
  • VCU wants to play players 6-11 significant minutes
  • Who’s 6-11 is better?
  • Perfect team to play with is a team with no great players (this style)


Pressing emphasis

  • Energy—setting expectation is 1st step in getting them to achieve it
    • Caveat—fouling negates hustle
    • Energy from game to game is up and down
  • Communication—Talking makes you quicker
  • Transitions
  • Deflections
  • 1st to the floor
  • Pressure
  • Stunting
  • Back pressure
  • Outnumbered situations
  • Defending multiple positions
  • Fix-it situations


Trapping Situations

  • Lane to lane—middle tunnel (no trap here)
  • Trap When
    • Ball handler is out of control
    • Ball out of the middle
  •  Favorable defensive matchup=1 man trap
  • Fullcourt 1on1—first day of workouts


Fundamentals of the trap

  • You have to closeout to the trap
  • Take up ALL the space
  • When he pivots away take that space away
  • Live dribble = NO ESCAPE
  • No split/No fouls
  • You have to force an obvious pass = informs interceptors where to go
  • Ball above the head = hands above the head
  • If you foul, foul with lower body


Press Notes

  • Fist—Fullcourt with no trap
  • Guy on ball = madman
  • Off ball put hammer in ribs


Don’t let the ball inbounds

  • Pressure on the ball
  • Position = 1/3 position (1/3) from man and the ball)
  • Stunting = fake with foot and your hand
  • Work on these things every day


2 ways we trap

  • The turn
    • If you see the back of his head, you are gone (the turn)
  • Force the action
    • Force the action from the middle


Key—Pressuring the ball

  • 1 Trapping drill a day
  • 1 Pressing rotation every day
  • Other than that—just working on traps when playing


In scouting focus on:

  • Press attack
  • Entries


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October 17

How to Handle Cutting Players During Tryouts

Of all the unpleasant tasks that basketball coach’s face, telling a player that he has been cut from the squad is perhaps the toughest.
Many coaches have become pretty creative over the years while looking for a way to break the news as gently as possible while others still
post a list on the locker room bulletin board and call it good.

I don’t know which is the best way to break the news to a young man who has his heart set on making the team, but I do have four
suggestions to make the whole process a little less painful.

1. Prepare players and parents beforehand

Before you start your tryout process have a “team” meeting where you can gather all the interested players and their parents and explain exactly what you are looking for in a potential team member. Make it clear to everyone that you are not necessarily collecting talent but are attempting to assemble as strong a team as possible.

National Champion Jerry Tarkanian wanted his Long Beach State, UNLV, and Fresno State rosters to include the 8 best players he could get and then 4 other guys who were just more than happy to work hard in practice and then cheer like crazy during games. As a result, he usually cut better players than he kept for the end of his bench.

If possible put whatever criteria you are using in a letter and have it signed by every player’s parent. In this day and age of extremely involved parents you may find that when it comes to cutting players most of your resistance may come from parents and not the kids themselves.

2. Be available to discuss in person

Depending on the number of players you have to cut you may not be able to spend large amounts of time with each one. However, you should make yourself available for those who want to meet with you; especially for those borderline kids who really thought they were going to make the team. The players who were just “hoping” to make the team will take the news much better and may not need or want to meet with you in person.

When you meet with a player in person, not only can you deliver the news but you can also offer him some suggestions and advice as to which direction he should consider heading. However, when you meet with a player and/or his parents you should always have another coach or athletic director present as sometimes things are misunderstood or even ignored in the heat of the moment.

3. Be honest

The honest truth is that most players are cut from your team simply because they are not good enough. Very few players are cut because they are lacking only one specific skill. Their overall skills or playing abilities may be underdeveloped or you may be in the fortunate situation where you just have several better players at his position.

However, many coaches try to soften the blow by telling players something like, “You’re not making the team because you don’t shoot (pass, dribble, screen out, defend, etc.) well enough. If your shot was better we would have a spot for you.” If that is absolutely true then great. But if not what happens when the below average player comes back after improving that one particular skill?

4. Put them to work

Just because a player isn’t good enough to play doesn’t mean he’s not good enough to help the team in a different way. (Let’s be honest, most of us wouldn’t be coaching if we were good enough to play in the NBA!) Big time programs have and utilize as many as a dozen managers – why can’t you do the same?

How much more productive could your team become if you could videotape every practice or keep individual stats on every player every day? Could you use extra passers and rebounders in your individual workouts? Who better to help with these things than a kid who loves the game but lacks the overall ability to actually get on the floor?

Telling someone he is not good enough to make the team is not fun or easy for anybody. However, by being mindful of the above suggestions you may be able to make the experience less painful and more productive for everyone involved.

Please let us know what you think!

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October 16

How to Do a Euro Step

The Euro step move is a great way to finish around the basket and avoid a charge or shake off a defender. A lot of basketball players use this move, but probably the most famous for using it is Manu Ginobli or James Harden. The Euro step is a great move, but to make it effective you need to learn the right basketball fundamentals to executing it.

This video will teach you how to do a Euro step and then also have a player demonstrate the move so that you can see exactly how it is done. When doing this move there are two things that you need to remember; be under control and then also sell your move. These two things are essential for this move to work.



Drill Name: How to Do a Euro Step

Similar Drills: How to Do a Decelerated Euro Step

Drill Goal: Learn the proper technique and footwork for the Euro step finish.

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball, a partner, and a basket.

Tips: Protect the basketball when you make your move by either cradling it or bringing it over/under the defenders hands. You can finish the move several different ways; same hand/foot, opposite hand/foot, leaner (Steve Nash), etc. This is a great move to use in transition or if a defender is setting up to take a charge. Take a big side to side step when you make the move.


  1.  Dribble towards the basket with your right hand and as you are coming to coach or imaginary defender plant with your right foot and pick the basketball up.
  2. Step laterally onto your left foot and bring the ball across your body by cradling it or bringing it over/under the defenders hands.
  3. Jump off of your left foot and finish the shot by either laying it in, floater, leaner, etc.

*** If you drive to your left do everything opposite.

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October 15

Windshield Wiper Toss Tennis Ball Drill

The windshield wiper tennis ball toss basketball drill is a great ball handling drill that incorporates both a tennis ball and basketball. Using a tennis ball to work on dribbling drills makes you have to focus on the tennis ball, rather than the basketball. This will hopefully help to make dribbling a basketball second nature to you, and allow you to keep your eyes up while dribbling the ball. Once you are able to handle the basketball with your eyes up, you will be able to read the defense, and make the correct play. If you are looking for a great way to improve your handles try tennis ball basketball dribbling drills.



Drill Name: Windshield Wiper Toss, Tennis Ball

Similar Drills: Windshield Wiper Toss Tennis Ball Drill, Broken Windshield Wipers 2 Basketball Dribbling Drill, Windshield Wipers 2 Basketball Dribbling Drill

Drill Goal: Improve ball handling

Equipment Needed: basketball and tennis ball

Tips: Keep your head up, toss tennis ball straight up in the air, pound the basketball, stay low during the drill. Make sure that you are practicing a good tennis ball toss each time. You will need to be able to execute a good toss as you progress to more difficult drills.

Directions: Stand in athletic position with a tennis ball in one hand and a basketball in the other hand. Sweep dribble the basketball back and forth in front of you (in a V motion). While doing this, toss and catch the tennis ball with the other hand. Repeat action for 30 seconds to a minute, and then switch hands.

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October 9

9 Ways to Impress Your Coach & Make the Team

I’m assuming you already have at least a little bit of talent and that you work hard. However, whether you are a role player looking to get more minutes, an established “star” looking to get to the next level, or just looking to impress the coach during tryouts, here are 9 things you can do to help accomplish your goal.

1. Play with Passion

Most basketball coaches love the game (that’s why they coach!) and they want to be around players who love it too. Enthusiasm, attitude, and competitiveness are all contagious. Encourage everyone on the court – even those who are going after your spot. Do everything with the highest level of energy possible. Clap, whistle, and lead the team in high fives! Project your inner Magic Johnson and be the teammate that everyone wants to have around.

2. Play Smart

It’s much easier to teach a player how to improve their ball handling and defense than it is to improve their basketball IQ. Focus on how all the drills and offenses are supposed to be executed and develop the reputation of being a “quick learner.” Since practice time is limited, all coaches want players who pick things up quickly because it saves time and makes things easier for everybody.

3. Pay Attention

When the coach is talking look him or her right in the eye and listen like your career depends on it! Ask appropriate questions so he will know you are listening and truly want to understand what he is talking about and explaining. Don’t be afraid to speak up if he asks a question and you know the answer.

4. Be the Beast of the Gym

When it comes to playing be tough, hardnosed, scrappy, and physical. Box out hard, set hard screens, fight over screens hard, defend hard, run hard and go after every loose ball and rebound like it’s a sack of hundred dollar bills. So few players approach the game like this anymore so if you play like a beast you will surely stand out and be noticed.

5. Be the First in Line

When drills are being demonstrated and run most kids are going to try and slip to the back of the line hoping they won’t be noticed. Not you because you want to be noticed! You race to the front of the line! That way coaches will notice you both as a player and as a leader and you’ll get in more repetitions which means more chances to look good.

6. Be in Better Shape than Everyone Else

It’s plain and simple – the better shape you’re in the better you’re going to look – especially at the end of practice or on the second or third day of tryouts when everyone else is exhausted. By coming to tryouts in shape, the coaches will know you are serious about making the team and didn’t just decide to try out at the last minute.

7. Talk on Defense

Coaches go to bed every night dreaming of having players talk on defense. Why? Because so few actually do talk! “I got #14,” “Help this side,” “Bring him my way,” “I’ve got the lob,” and “make him go left,” are just a few examples of things you can say that will help you get noticed. Not only that but it will also improve your defense and give you an opportunity to show off your basketball IQ – all great things when you are trying to make the team.

8. Be Early & Stay Late

Not on time – early. In fact try to be the very first one there. Then when practice is over don’t be the first one to rush out of the gym. Grab a ball and head to a basket and get some more shots up while everyone else heads out the door. Chances are the coach will come over and spend a few extra minutes working with you. Even if he just yells “Ok time to go!” at least he will know you are trying to get in as much work as possible and that you love being in the gym.

9. Talk to the Coach

Be a person not just a number. Ask him how you did and what should you have done better. After the tryout is over make sure you thank him for the opportunity and that you’re looking forward to working with him. Coaches like drawing up plays and running practices but coaching is still relationship driven. All coaches want players they can talk to and relate to yet many young people don’t take advantage of that. Let’s face it, if a coach knows you and likes you then chances are you are going to get a closer look than a complete stranger will get.

Please share your thoughts:

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October 6

College Basketball: Getting Your Foot in the Door

Cal State Northridge Basketball

This article was written by Cal State Northridge assistant men’s basketball coach Jay Morris. Coach Morris has been a part of the Matadors coaching staff since 2010, and has been an important part of the program since. Before starting at Cal State Northridge, Jay was the Director of Basketball Operations at Long Beach State, and an assistant coach for Westchester High School. 


The allure of the flashy suits, high salaries and camera time come long after the start of most coaching careers. In the past ten years, enormous salaries have been given to head coaches and high profile assistants. These salaries have drawn a lot of people to this line of work.  Getting your foot in the door to a lucrative coaching position can be very difficult and a job in itself.

For one, obtaining a coaching position in college basketball can take years of work, research, patience and persistence. Just as in any line of work or career field, getting your foot in the door is not all about what you know but who you know.

In most instances in college basketball, once you get your foot in the door, it will still take time to work your way to the top (and unfortunately, the modern generation is all about instant success and gratification).  There is no standard method or way to get your foot in the door. The most common step taken by a majority of college coaches has been to coach high school, junior college, or AAU basketball.

The salary will probably not be what you want it to be, but remember, when considering being a college basketball coach, you should have the mindset of doing it for the love of the game, not the money – that is one key to longevity and success in coaching at a competitive level.

When you see a coach gracing the sidelines, the last thing that probably comes to mind is that the coach used to work for free. Trust me, as I did, a lot of coaches started out volunteering. I volunteered for years before I had a chance to get a Division I college basketball job. If you choose to go the route that most coaches do, you have to put everything you have into it. Your passion and enthusiasm as an entry level coach needs to be the same as a coach making a million dollars.


Entry Level Positions

As mentioned, most college coaches get into the business on the ground floor. The number of entry level positions at each school differs and depends on the size of the school’s budget and/or what the head coach wants. Some of the popular titles given to these positions are Director of Basketball Operations (DOBO), Film Coordinator, and Director of Player Development.

My first job in college basketball was as a DOBO. For me, this job was not about the money; it was more so about the opportunity, experience and the love of the sport.  This job paid $1,000 per month, before taxes. In this position, I was able to see and learn all aspects involved in running a Division I basketball program.


Starting at a Lower Level

Being a high school, junior college or AAU coach, is another good way to get in to college coaching. If you coach at one of these levels and put together a successful program, this can help you when trying to get into the college coaching world. The way it usually works is, if you have good players and develop good players to become better players, you will be successful.

When you produce good players, college coaches will have to call you to inquire about these players during the recruiting process.  This is how you begin building your resume and necessary relationships.  A college coach’s job partially relies on your evaluation and recommendations.

You need to be honest with college coaches. In building relationships with these coaches, they need to be able to trust you. If you make your players seem better than they are just to get them placed, a college coach will find out very quickly that the player is not as good as you led on.  A good, trustworthy relationship can go a long way and help you to land a college job in the future.


Basketball Camps

Working basketball camps is another way to gain some key relationships.  With AAU basketball and private entities taking up so much of summer basketball, college basketball camps are becoming fewer.  There are still a number of college basketball camps, and if you can work one of these camps, that is another way to get in the college basketball circle. These camps can be key in building a relationship with a coach or coaching staff.


Online Resources

The Internet is a good source of information. There are many websites that post college coaching information and job vacancies. If you type “college basketball jobs” into a search engine, you should be able to find a number of opportunities.  Just keep in mind that the vacancy might have existed for a while and the search could have already taken place.

As soon as you hear of a possible opening, you need to work every angle you can to try to get your foot in the door.  Unlike some jobs, simply sending a resume and application hardly ever work.


NCAA Coaching Rules

On April 28, 2005, the NCAA adopted the rule which went into effect on August 1, 2005 that a Division I men’s basketball team would be allowed only four coaches on each staff. Currently, there are approximately 1,400 coaching jobs. This may appear to be a big number at first glance but in actuality, it is very difficult to get one of these jobs. If you have no prior coaching experience, it makes it that much more difficult to get one of these jobs.

Sometimes your duties and the things you have to do in such position are not attractive but once you have done them and look back, you will be thankful that you were in a position to learn so much of the behind-the-scenes of a college basketball program.  All entry level positions are administrative in some capacity because NCAA rules do not permit these positions to do any on-the-floor coaching or any recruiting.



If you have a love and passion for the game of basketball and want to teach it at the college level, hopefully this can act as somewhat of a blueprint to assist you in navigating through and getting your foot in the door.  If you are lucky enough to get one of these jobs, be ready to go. When the door cracks open, I can guarantee there will be no time to look back.


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October 6

Kevin Eastman Coaching U 2014 Basketball Clinic Notes

Kevin Eastman Basketball

Kevin Eastman is part of the Los Angeles Clippers organization currently, but was also with Doc Rivers in his time at Boston as well. Coach Eastman has been around the game of basketball for a long time, and is always finding ways to learn and grow as a coach. He is one of the founders of Coaching U, which helps teach and develop coaches of all levels. These basketball coaching clinic notes are from when he spoke at the 2014 Coaching U Clinic in Indianapolis. Notes were taken by Jacob Collins. 


Kevin Eastman Clinic Notes


Reason I became the VP of Operations for the Clippers:

1) Doc asked
2) Doc needed me in that spot
3) It’s somebody else’s time (to coach in that spot)
4) I love working


2 Themes I Live By

“Success lies in simplicity, confusion lies with sophistication.”

“Today is about 2 S’s—Sharing and simplicity.”


3 Things I do better than most

Big eyes, Big ears, Small mouth

  • “Take 1 perfect shot 500 times.”
  • “Be there before you get there.”
  • “Be on a mission every day to Seek and Find.”
    • After you have sought and found—“Think and apply.”
    • Sustained thought
  • Ask yourself 3 questions
    • How big is your excellence gap?
    • What do you want to accomplish every day?
    • What do you want to do with your life?
  • “If you want to be successful, understand the concept of everyday.”


4 Goals in Life

  1. Impact others
  2. Lifelong learner (Be a learn it all, not a know it all)
  3. Share it (knowledge/experience/wisdom)
  4. Leave something (Do you want to leave a job or a legacy?)


Accomplish Every Day

  1.  Read (he reads 2 hrs. a day)
  2. Think
  3. Plan/Organize
  4. Work Out
  5. Do your job
  6. Family Time
  7. Sleep


15 Things to Move Up

  1. Treat people with respect
  2. Be a learn-it-all
  3. Be a great question asker
  4. Be a meticulous note taker (and organize them)
  5. Do the unrequired work
  6. Big Eyes, Big Ears, small mouth
  7. No job too big, no job too small
  8. Know what you don’t know and learn it
  9. Never pass up a basketball opportunity
  10. Seek wisdom from those that came before you
  11. Read every day
  12. Know when to stop the presses
  13. Do you want a fast climb or a steady climb
  14. Be there before you get there
  15. Make a total commitment in your life to thinking


What makes you be the best?

  1. Improvement stamina
  2. Development discipline
  3. Greatness Grind—the concept of everyday


Misc Notes

If you want to climb the ladder—have a plan

Success—is smart, ultimate test is really hard. The ultimate test is failure.

3 things to get through

  1. Mad
  2. Sad
  3. Hard

“Doc only blows up when a player is pissed about something selfish after a win.”


 4 keys to success

  1. Focus
  2. Enthusiasm
  3. Energy
  4. Effort


Actions that are hard to guard

 6 main are

  1. Simultaneous actions
  2. Multiple actions
  3. Boomerang actions
  4. Quick cut game
  5. Driving the closeouts
  6. Backcutting help



On the help, drive the help. Right at the rim.

2 types of penetration on catch

1) Shot fake

2) Quick


On floppy action 2 & 3 lock arms and circle around under basket

“You may know what we are going to do but they don’t know when or how well.”

“Want to be a team of execution.”


“If you have a child, write them a letter and include in it whatever you think they need to be successful.”

  • All the things they needed to do to be successful
  • 2 copies: 1 for them and 1 for yourself


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October 3

6 Assists for Basketball Parents

The play the coach drew up during the last time out has broken down and things are looking desperate.
As if on cue the ball ends up in your son’s hands and after making one of the greatest moves in the history of the
NCAA Tournament he drains a 3 pointer a mere nanosecond before the buzzer sounds.

Minutes later you and the rest of the basketball world are watching the replay as “One Shining Moment” plays in the background. Kind of cool to think about, isn’t it? Now let’s be honest – have you ever thought about that (or something similar) before?

Chances are that if you’re like a lot of parents you’ve had that dream several times before – possibly even more times than your son or daughter has!
Of course there is nothing wrong with that as long as it doesn’t have a negative effect on how you raise your future MVP. Here are 6 suggestions that might help keep you on the right track:

1. It has to be his (her) dream

Being a great player can be his dream and not your dream. It can be his dream and your dream. It just can’t be your dream only! If it is you might see some temporary “success” but in the long run you’re setting up your child for disappointment and failure which could result in a lifetime of resentment.

2. Wag more, bark less

It’s not uncommon for kids today to have a school coach, a club coach, a shooting coach, a skill development coach and a strength coach. The last thing they need is another coach at home telling them what to do and critiquing every mistake, flaw, and shortcoming. What your kid needs is a parent who is going to love him and encourage him and support him no matter what happens. It’s also important to note that you can and should do these things without criticizing and/or undermining his real coaches.

3. Don’t add to the pressure

Encourage and support is good. Added pressure is bad. When I watch club ball I see a lot of kids who are early developers and not necessarily future college prospects. Faster, quicker, stronger, and taller at 10 doesn’t always mean faster, quicker, stronger, and taller at 18. Help him be all that he’s capable of becoming but don’t build him up to be something that he’s not. Once you’re up on a pedestal there’s only one direction you can go and that is down!

4. Don’t embarrass him

It seems like every team has that one parent who is loud, obnoxious, and overly critical of everything and everyone. Don’t be that parent!

If you are that parent one of two things is going to happen. Either your child is going to become loud, obnoxious, and overly critical or he is going to get tired of his teammates and their parents making fun of you (and him) and quit playing. Neither option helps him in any way, shape, or form. He’s only going to be a player for a few years but is going to be your son forever.

5. Reinforce life lessons

The best thing about being a basketball player is not what you get but what you become. Don’t constantly praise your child for the skills he possesses; praise him for the work ethic, perseverance, sacrifice, and determination that it takes to be a player. Sometimes you can do all the right things and still not be considered super successful so teach him the importance of keeping his poise when things go wrong and how to bounce back from both individual and team defeats.

6. Make it fun

It’s been estimated that approximately 3.3% of high school players make a college roster after they graduate. The number of high school players that eventually make it to the NBA is about .03%. That means the vast majority of those players (and their parents) who only play so they can get a college scholarship or make it to the NBA are going to be disappointed in the outcome. The journey has to be worthwhile; it has to be fun. Enjoy the experience and help your child do the same!

Please add to the conversation!

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