Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Over 15 years ago I wrote a book titled "The Art of Being An Assistant Coach." As part of writing that book I surveyed over 35 head coaches. The quote above was one that I took from Coach as his advice to assistant coaches. I have been fortunate to have worked for a few coaches that have lived up to that guideline -- I am even more fortunate that I've had a mentor in him that has lived up to that as well.
Post Rule: “Get your butt ahead of your opponent’s butt.”
Goal: Force at least 2 passes when offense has the numbers.
Don’t allow a skip for a 3 or drive in transition.
Rule: Deep man never leaves paint until post comes to release
#2 Dribble Penetration
Toughest thing to defense in the game of basketball
Rule on Closeouts: “We don’t force the ball any where — we tell them don’t get beat.”
Coach Matta: “If you give up catch and shot too much you’ll lose your scholarship.”
Teaching Point: Don’t allow ball to get to shot pocket when defending great shooter.
On non-driver, we will defend passing hand (scouting)
#3 Post Up
OSU Fronts the LP
Teaching Point: Want quick feet like a boxer
Ball up top, we are up the line, on the line
Will front the LP always, even if the low post takes a step off the lane.
Push Him Under The Basket
Teaching Point: If your late fronting, don’t front.
#4 Off Ball Screens
Teaching Point: On jump to the ball, they want the jumper to extend far enough to “swipe” at the ball.
Main defensive objective: Get 5 guarding the ball!
Down Screen...trail all cutters — no sliding through.
First Rule: Don’t get screened!
If you are constantly getting screened you are not going to be able to play for us.
Teaching Point: Must start when the ball is in the air.
Teaching Point: “If my man is screening, I’m in help.”
#5 On Ball Screens
Coach Matta wants to know if we are “zone up” — (hole covered on ball screen)
Teaching Point: On ball screen you don’t have a man.
Coach Matta: “Hard & Hedge” — blitz mentality
Ball Defender Rule: Make him use the screen (don’t let him reverse back)
Ball Defender Rule: Defender must go over the screen (not behind)
Want defender on screener to recover “through the ally” (between ball defender and screener)
#6 Basket Cuts
No face cuts.
#7 Offensive Rebounding
You can’t spend too much time blocking out
OSU likes bubble to work on rebounding.
#8 Screen the Screener
-jump low and take away low cut
-screen defender will bump high cut
-on guard-to-guard pass, jump to ball and “swipe”
-thru on down screen (swipe creates lane to cut through)
#9 Shooters w/Great Range
Vs. a shooter, OSU exaggerates denial to force back cut
In transition defense, OSU teaches to run the lane — vs. Shooter, run to the shooter.
#10 Out of Bounds Plays
Will alter our coverage based on scouting
#11 3 Pointers in Late Game Situations
Contact switch on dribble hand-off vs. shooter on late game shot
Teaching Point: Player switching on shooter should have high-hands
5th Defender Principle: Defender whose man is out of the play — your goal is to mess the play up.
During walk-thru Matta makes sure player knows… “You are the 5th defender on this play.”
The Choice to Act: The first choice we make each and every day is, Will we act upon life, or will we merely be acted upon?
The Choice of Purpose: But plenty of us have made the choice to act, only to find that we made poor choices—choices that turned out to be of no value to ourselves or to others, some perhaps even harmful. So, alone, the choice to act is not sufficient. And so the second choice we make each and every day is of great significance: To what ends, or purposes, will our daily choices lead? We each want to be of value—to know our life matters.
#1 Are we getting to the free throw line. Most free throws wins games. Remember, game in the paint doesn't always mean low post play. Dribble Penetration is big.
#2 How many offensive boards do we get. You can't send 4 to the offensive boards against good rebounding teams. At Memphis we sent 2 1/2 to the boards. Rule: if perimeter player shoots in the paint, he goes tot he glass. Rule: if a forward shoots outside the paint, he gets back on defense. Transition defense starts on the offensive boards.
#3 Did you get high percentage shots for your best players. This is the first question I ask after each game. Best players can only shoot a high percentage in two of three areas (wings & top). The true test of an offense is that it can get good shots for their players where they hit the shots.
Source: Hubie Brown
Monday, September 29, 2008
Attitude was a big part of her teaching philosophy. She demanded of herself and her staff that we were positive teachers. Certainly that doesn’t mean that on the occasions that merit it, that she didn’t raise her volume and display her displeasure. In fact, she could dissect a team with precision if they were not concentrating or executing. However, the difference with her over many coaches is that she would immediately begin looking for positive things to compliment after she ripped a team.
It was the same after a loss. Coach Gunter would let the team know in no uncertain terms that she was upset with their performance. More importantly, as a master teacher, she would detail the areas that we were lacking. The next morning, however, in our post game staff meetings, she would always make sure to let our staff know that we were going to be positive and uplifting with the team. Her theory that she rode to great success was to instill confidence in her teams and this would start with a positive practice.
She wanted to correct and construct...not criticize.
A. To take the ball to the basket
B. To improve a passing angle
C. To balance the floor and maintain proper spacing
D. To escape trouble (trapping situations, etc.)
As a note, we don’t believe that you should need more than three dribbles in the women’s game to achieve any of these dribble maneuvers. We also don’t allow any dribbles that would have your back to the basket. We want all dribbles to be under control and for the dribbler to maintain vision so they can see the cutting and screening action as it unfolds. Passing the ball to an open cutter is not an easy thing to do against a good defensive team. It is critical that the ball is delivered when the receiver is most open and for that to happen, the ball handler must be in a position to see.
One of the absolute keys to becoming a better shooter no matter what your skill level is in that fundamental is shot preparation. It's about showing your hands and getting you feet set -- long before the ball arrives.
We have all coached shooters that shoot well when left open, but the key to great shooter, the shooter that can knock down the shot in traffic, is that they have done all the work to get ready to shoot before they catch the ball.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Some other brief comments from each quality:
#2 Collaborative…”Working together precedes winning together.”
#3 Committed…”Commitment comes as the result of choice, not conditions.”
#4 Communicative…”It’s also about communication. Talking to each other. We forced the kids to spend time with each other to find out things about each other.” This quote came from Coach Herman Boone. You will recognize the name if you watched the movie Remember The Titans. Coach Boone is the legendary coach that brought the segregated football team together at Williams High School in Virginia.
#5 Competent…”People forget how fast you did a job — but they remember how well you did it.” — Howard W. Newton.
#7 Disciplined…”Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.” — Roy L. Smith
#8. Enlarging…”Players who enlarge others do more than value their fellow team members; they understand what their teammates value. They listen to discover what their teammates talk about and watch to see what they spend their money on. That kind of knowledge, along with a desire to relate to their fellow players, creates a strong connection between teammates. And it makes possible an enlarger’s next characteristic.”
#9. Enthusiastic…”People can succeed at almost anything for which they have enthusiasm.” — Charles Schwab.
#10. Intentional…”You’ve got to think about ‘big things’ while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” — Alvin Toffler.
#11. Mission Conscious…”He who has a ‘why’ to live for can bear almost any how.’” — Friedrich Nietzsche.
#12. Prepared…”Spectacular achievements come from unspectacular preparation.” — Roger Staubach.
#13. Relational…”When it comes to relationships, everything begins with respect, with the desire to place value on other people.”
#14. Self-Improving…”Perfection is what you’re striving for but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility. Do the best you can under the conditions that exist.”
#15. Selfless…”You have not lived today successfully, unless you’ve done something for someone who can never repay you.” — John Bunyan
#16. Solution Oriented…”No matter what anyone may tell you, your problems are not your problem. If you believe that something is a problem, then it is. However, if you believe that something is merely a temporary setback, an interim obstacle, or a solution in the making, then you don’t have a problem.”
#17. Tenacious…”To see far is one thing; going there is another.” — Constantin Brancusi.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Meek, scored 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting (including 2 of 3 from behind the arc) along with 8 assists. Marie also tallied 14 points on 5 of 10 shooting and 4 of 4 from behind the free throw line. She also had 4 reboundings, 2 assists and 2 steals.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The first C, the one you are responsible for is concentration. It involves you blocking everything out of your mind when it comes time to practice. You cannot be thinking about shopping, or heading to the movies, or playing with your friends while you are practicing. You have to dedicate yourself to focusing in on that which you are presently doing. Concentration is one of the most difficult things for a player on even the highest level to obtain and then to maintain.
“Concentrate...for the greatest achievements are reserved for the man of single aim, in whom no rival powers divide the empire of the soul.”
-Orison Swett Marden-
A great story on concentration is told of golfing legend Ben Hogan. Of course Hogan is considered one of golfing’s all-time greatest. He is one of only five golfers to capture the Grand Slam of golfing while winning PGA Golfer of the Year four times. Hogan was in the middle of a key putt when in the background a loud train whistle sounded. Without any problem, Hogan sank the putt. A member of the group which Hogan was golfing with asked him if the whistle had bothered him. His reply: “What whistle?” He was so focused and concentrated on the immediate task at hand that he had blocked out all possible distractions.
With proper concentration comes control. You can control the basketball, you can control your body, and most importantly, you can control your thought process. By concentrating on doing everything you do as well as you possibly can do it, and within the fundamental guidelines, you will find that you will be able to have control over situations that you couldn’t before. It is difficult to improve greatly on foot quickness but if you work on concentration during your drill work you will seem quicker. Yes, you will be a little quicker but the majority of it will come from being in complete control on the court.
By adding both concentration and control, we arrive at confidence. I have never seen a great player that didn’t have confidence in herself. Let me take that one step further and say that I have never seen a great player that didn’t do the things necessary to gain the proper confidence. You see, players aren’t born with confidence and they can’t go out to the mall and buy it. There are some athletes out there that show false confidence by bragging, but the truly great ones, the ones who reach their maximum potential know that they gained confidence from proper work habits day in and day out.
The final Fundamental C is consistency. That means doing what you do as well as you do it and doing it that way all the time. Working hard is not a sometime thing. Concentrating is not a part-time job. You want to be consistent in your approach in everything you do. It takes mental toughness to come to practice everyday and consistently give it your best mental and physical effort regardless of everything else going on. Hall-of-Fame baseball player Willie Mays summed it up perfectly when he said: “In sports, it isn’t hard to be good from time to time. What’s tough is being good every day.”
A simple formula is:
CONCENTRATION leads to CONTROL…
CONTROL leads to CONFIDENCE…
CONFIDENCE leads to CONSISTENCY.
What is important to understand about confidence is that it is a result of the Ladder of Success along with the Fundamental C’s. One of the key factors in confidence is that key component of preparation. In other words, if you do your homework, you don’t have to worry about your test score.
“Confidence comes from planning and practicing well. You get ready during the week and the confidence will be there on Sunday. This confidence is a difficult thing to explain. But you do get it and the team gets it if you have prepared properly.”
NFL Hall-of-Fame Coach
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. Complete mental and physical preparation has to do with sacrifice and self-discipline. And that comes from within.”
Legendary Tennis Player
“Confidence comes from preparation and the only way to be fully prepared is to practice something until you have it down so well that you know it will work.”
NBA Hall-of-Fame Player
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The first screen we will discuss is the Down Screen. Some more terminology that we will use with our team is to “look below you to screen.” This translates into if you are up top on the perimeter and there is another player on the perimeter on your side, you are in an ideal situation to screen. We especially like for our high post players to “look below” to screen.
To set a down screen, we want to again use a v-cut movement. As a screener, we want the first part of the v-cut to be aggressive. We tell our players to make the defense take away the first cut before changing directions to set the screen. The major reason for the v-cut movement is to put us in line for the proper screening angle. On the down screen, we want our back to be towards the ball. We believe this is the screening angle that gives the defender on the cutter the most difficult in maneuvering around. Diagram #1 shows the screener using the v-cut to set up the down screen so that she has her back to the ball. Diagram #2 shows the defender anticipating the down screen so the screen continues to the basket for a return pass and lay-up.
While it may be repetitive, we want to again talk of the importance of the screener sprinting to the screen. It makes the screen more aggressive and gives the defense less chance to react. Another phrase that our team hears on a daily basis is that we should sprint to screen, setting the proper angle, and allowing the cutter to come off the screen so cleanly, that another defender has to leave her assignment to help on the open cutter. A final phrase that is often heard at practice in regard to screening is to “headhunt.” This simply is an aggressive term for seeking out the defender she needs to screen.
"I didn't realize that Coach (Knight) would keep teaching us those three basic screens nearly every practice day for the rest of my time at Indiana."
taken from Playing For Knight
The Green Bay Packers were known for many things under Lombardi including toughness, fundamentals, and execution – but they will long be remembered for the Packer sweep. What you may or may not know is that Lombardi designed the sweep with precision blocks (screens) and taught his backs to hit the first open hole (cut) and what became known as “run to daylight.” Unlike traditional football plays that call for running backs to run the ball into a specific hole, Lombardi taught his players to make reads by what the defense gave them.
In Lombardi’s biography, When Pride Still Mattered, author David Maraniss made the following observation:
“Lombardi taught the quarterback how to read the defense and select from the options in a rational way so that they did not feel overwhelmed. Freedom through discipline and simplicity...he place the emphasis on reading the defense and giving the quarterback fewer plays but more options.”
Another perception by Maraniss showed that Lombardi ran a system that taught players to think and they he had a great grasp in role development by involving the entire team in the success of the sweep.
“The sweep had another meaning in Lombardi’s system: it was his defenition of team, a play in which the offensive players had to think and reac together, eleven brains and bodies working as one. ‘Everyone was important in the sweep,’ said Ron Kramer.”
Lombardi, noted Maraniss, believed in “freedom within structure” and “perfection came with simplicty.”
The following thoughts came from Lombardi in his book, Run To Daylight:
“Fundamentals win it. Football is two things; it’s blocking and tackling. I don’t care about formations or new defenses or tricks on offense. If you block and tackle better than the team you’re player, you’ll win.”
“In all my years of coaching, I have never been successful using somebody else’s plays.”
“Discipline leads to freedom.”
“Every game boils down to the things you do best, and doing them over and over again.”
“The team that controls the ball controls the game.”
It was in the book Run To Daylight in talking about the Packer sweep that Lombardi noted that the latin root for “decision” is “to cut away from.”
Yes, Vince Lombardi would’ve been a motion coach. As he so eloquently put it, “They call it coaching but it is teaching.”
We have pinpointed twelve areas that are important to our man to man defensive attack. They are areas that we try to touch on daily in our practices in some form of drill. We refer to these as the Dandy Dozen of Great Defense. While this book is basically covering the man to man philosophy of our defensive approach, you should note that these same twelve guidelines apply to all of our defenses including our pressing and zone attacks.
The Dandy Dozen of Great Defense is printed up in passout form and given to our players early in the season. We expect them to know them. We make sure when we are talking at practice about one of the areas that we mention it as one of the Dandy Dozen. When we watch video, both good and bad clips, we make sure to point out our defensive clips by relating them to one of the Dandy Dozen.
#1 STOP THE BASKETBALL
This is the overriding principle of our defense. Everything that we do in our defense is designed to stop the basketball. The way we defend the basketball, the way we contest the passing lanes, the way we deny the low post, the way we play helpside, the way we defend cuts, the way we jump to the ball — all designed with the thought of stopping the basketball.
#2 HAND ON THE BALL
Pressuring the basketball in the proper manner effects so much of what we do defensively. It allows us to overplay the passing lane as well as extend our help. We want to constantly influence the basketball away from the basket. When it is up top, we want to influence it to the sideline. When it is on the sideline, we want to influence it to the corner or back towards the jump circle. We ALWAYS want our hand on the ball. Regardless of whether it is before the dribble, during the dribble, or after the dribble has been picked up. If the ball is passed, we want a hand on the ball. If the ball is shot, we want a hand on the ball.
#3 JUMP TO THE BASKETBALL
This is a critical part of our defensive philosophy. Anytime the ball is passed, we should have five players jumping to the ball. More importantly, they must be jumping on the airtime of the pass. In other words, we want to begin our movement the instant the ball leaves the passers hand. Too often, a defensive player or team, moves after the receiver has caught the ball — that’s not quick enough.
#4 CONTESTING THE LOW POST
Games are won down on the block. We must be a good low post defending team if we are to be successful. When the ball is above the free throw line extended, we want to 3/4 the low post with our lead foot in the passing lane. When the ball is below the free throw line extended, we want to front the low post. Unless our scouting report says differently, we don’t want to allow any low post touches.
#5 CONTESTING THE HIGH POST
We believe this is simply the most dangerous place on the court for the basketball to be. Not only is it in the middle of the court where we cannot establish helpside and ballside principles, but it is close enough to the basket to be shot or driven. Defensively we must be able to anticipate the post flash and contest the pass to the high post. We should have a foot in the passing lane and contest with such vigor that we force the high post player to cut backdoor or extend her cut well beyond the high post area.
#6 HELPSIDE POSITIONING
It is our helpside that makes our defense strong. This does not mean that we want to play in such a way that we are constantly relying on our helpside. In fact, the use of our helpside means that some form of our defense has broken down. The key to helpside is to take away offensive spacing for our opponent. Our opponent should constantly be looking at 3 (offensive players) vs. 5 (defensive players) situation if we are stationed properly. If the ball is above the motion line, we want the helpside defensive player to have 1 foot in the paint forming a triangle with herself, the ball, and the player she is defending. If the ball is below the motion line, we want the helpside defensive player to have 2 feet in the paint, again forming a triangle.
Once we have our defense set properly, we want to make sure that we are anticipating situations that need help. We want our help to come early. We don’t want to have to help once the ball is in the paint, rather before it gets to the paint. We don’t think we can help too early, but we certainly can help too late. Another reminder in regards to our help is that recovery is just as important. Help without recovery lessens the effectiveness of the defensive possession.
Because of the way we play defensively, we will often force the offense to skip the basketball or pass the ball in such a way that forces our helpside to rotate to ballside. How we closeout will be critically important in our ability to contest shots on shooters as well as how we take away penetration against the drivers. Know who you are closing out on and defend accordingly.
The worst thing we can do defensively is to put together a tremendous possession and not finalize it with a good blockout and rebound of the basketball. Treat each possession like a “work week” and the basketball is your “paycheck.” Make contact, maintain contact, find the basketball, and go rebound the basketball.
#10 DEFEND WITHOUT FOULING
It is vitally important that we do all the previous mentioned steps without fouling. There are three things that we don’t want to give up on defense. One is an open shot by a good shooter. We take this away by putting our hand on the ball when it is shot. The second is to not allow an uncontested lay-up (we will talk about this in #12). And finally, we don’t want to bail out the offense and let them get to the free throw line for easy points.
#11 TRANSITION DEFENSE
In the proper outlining of our defense, this should be listed first. Before we can play outstanding half-court defense, we must first sprint back and take away easy opportunities from our opponent when they fast break. We must stop the basketball first and make sure we don’t allow any open lay-ups. Next we should make sure that all good shooters are not allowed an uncontested shot. The goal of our transition defense is to force the opponent to play against our half court defense.
#12 KNOW YOUR SCOUTING REPORT
We will rely heavily on scouting to take our opponent’s out of their offense. It is important for our players to know what our point of emphasis is defensively and for them to understand who they are defending individually. Scouting has been tremendously important to our defensive success and will continue to be.
It is our opinion that if you have a set philosophy with each of these twelve areas and work towards refining them each day that you will have an opportunity to become a good defensive team. If we could make this list a “Baker’s Dozen” and add one more, it would be motivation. It is up to you as a coach to sell you team on defense. And not just the individual components of the system but the overall benefits of team defense and how those individual components complete the defense.
Selling defense to your team is a daily event — with no days off. We use statistics, video, drills, speakers, and anything else we can think of to stress the importance of defense and how it relates with the overall success of our program.
If you can get your team excited about playing defense, and couple that with the Dandy Dozen then you will put a team on the floor that will be difficult to score against.
As Coach Meyer continues to recover from his automobile accident, I ask everyone to continue to keep him in his prayers. Now that his left leg has been successfully amputated, the doctors can move forward to treat his cancer and allow him to start his recovery to allow him to return to his team.
Yesterday, our team watched Coach's video on "Team Attitude." This has been an annual event for Lady Tiger Basketball for the past 11 years. For our lone senior Kristen Morris, it was her fourth time. His message of team attitude and it's importance to the success of a program have been a common bond in our program over the past decade.
I have said this on numerous occasions but I don't know of anyone that has contributed to our sport more in the past 20 years than Coach Meyer. He teaches players on all levels through his camps. He teaches us as coaches through his videos, books, clinics and academy. He is both passionate and tireless in helping us become better at what we do.
We love you Coach!
HOW THEY THINK
1. IT’S PERSONAL...they hate to lose more than the love to win.
2. RUBBING ELBOWS...they understand the value of association.
3. BELIEVE...they have faith in a higher power.
4. CONTAGIOUS ENTHUSIASM...they are positive thinkers...they are enthusiastic...and that enthusiasm rubs off.
HOW THEY PERPARE
5. HOPE FOR THE BEST BUT...they prepare for all possibilities before they step off the field.
6. WHAT OFF-SEASON?...they are always working towards the next game...the next season...the goal is what’s ahead and there is always something ahead.
7. VISUALIZE VICTORY...they see victory before the game begins.
8. INNER FIRE...they use adversity as fuel.
HOW THEY WORK
9. ICE IN THEIR VEINS...they are risk-takers and don’t fear making a mistake
10. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS...they know how and when to adjust their game plan.
11. ULTIMATE TEAMMATE...they will assume whatever role is necessary for the team to win.
12. NOT JUST ABOUT THE BENJAMINS...they don’t compete just for the money.
HOW THEY LIVE
13. THEY DO UNTO OTHERS...they know character is defined by how they treat those who cannot help them.
14. WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING...they are comfortable in the mirror...they live their life with integrity.
15. WHEVER EVERYONE IS WATCHING...they embrace the idea of being a role model.
16. RECORDS ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN...they know their legacy isn’t what they did on the field...the are well-rounded.