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30 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are They Getting It?

One thing each year that I struggle with is getting our players to understand what we are trying to do.  You would think after 7 years as a head coach and doing the drills we do every day for 4 years that they would get "it".  No matter what we do during the summer or how often we work on things, they have to get "it" during games once the season begins.

The easiest thing that players do, and really what we all do in life, is to rely or fall back on what you know.  To rely on that which makes you comfortable.  No matter how successful or not it makes you, you still do it because it is easy.

Last night, I attended a high school basketball game in Louisville, KY.  The game starts and one of the people I was sitting by made a comment about 3 minutes into the game.  One team had raced to a huge lead and the team behind called timeout.  This gentleman said "wow, that team is just getting out coached".  Now, that kind of thing doesn't sit too well with me especially when I am tired.  I told him that it wasn't coaching that one team came out hitting shots and the other did not.  His comment was "they are shooting too many 3's" (the team behind).  My response...I am sure he didn't tell them to shoot and miss them and I bet that is what the timeout is about.

The teams come back out on the court and wouldn't you know....the team that was behind came back causing the team who once was ahead to now be behind.  Timeout....and of course behing who I am, I then said...."I guess the coaching got better after his timeout".  The gentleman smiled.

To me this story shows if the guys on any team get "it".  What is "it"?  It is what the coaching staff is trying to convey to the individuals and team overall.  It is trying to fight against everything that is out there going against what the individual and team needs according to the coach.

I sat with Mike Burris, head coach at Olney Junior College, and we talked about that in depth.  Him being a JUCO coach, he has his players for two years and their mentality is farther along than my guys, but having them for two years it is hard to teach a "system".  That's another word I love; system.

What is a system?   Here is my system: 1. get kids to play hard and compete. 2. get my best offensive players in a position to take great shots, and 3. come up with some way to make it hard for the other team to get great shots.  That's it.

Maybe that is why my guys take so long to get it.  Maybe they actually get it much better than I comprehend because often others have a higher opinion on our team than I do and vice versa.  Call it the "competitor" in us as coaches, always looking for ways to make our teams better.  But this weekend was the first time this season that I felt like our guys were getting it on the offensive end.  If we can maintain that and then start getting it defensively, we should improve greatly as the season progresses.