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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

MOTION ISN'T FOR EVERYONE: BELIEVE AND KNOW WHAT YOU TEACH

I have for the past 10 years been working on a book that details the teaching of Motion Offense.  I'm very passionate about this book -- actually too passionate which is why it is taking me forever to finish.  As I continue to learn, I continue to want to do rewrites.

One of the sections of my book talks about the advantages of utilizing a motion offensive system.  But I felt strongly that everyone should know that motion offense isn't for everyone.  I can't count the number of coaches who have watched our teams of the years that have complimented us on how effective our motion was and how difficult it was to defend.  Yet that doesn't mean they necessarily need to be implementing it.  As in all things that are very good -- it is difficult to teach and to maintain. 

One of the passages in my book comes from Hall of Famer Pete Newell and was taken from the book "A Good Man: The Pete Newell Story by Bruce Jenkins."  Coach Newell recalls Bob Knight explaining how he was developing his form of motion offense and how he would teach it.  Coach Newell explains how he knows it will work for Knight but not necessarily for others: 

“He set up that motion offense right on the floor of our living room. We have the chairs out, everything spread out all over the place. It was almost like a court and Florence was right there with us. The thing was, Bobby understood that offense and he believes in it. What you do, you’ve got to know. Too often a coach will accept the tenets of another successful coach and go against what he’s seen and known himself. You might appreciate Bobby’s offense, but you don’t have the first clue how to teach it, how to break it down, how to put it together. But because Bobby Knight did it, by God you’ll try it. Some guys don’t realize that a few lectures and a blackboard won’t win them the championship.”

The key I think to Coach Newell's comments is it just doesn't apply to motion offense but all things involved in coaching.  I remember when Jud Heathcote and Michigan State won a national championship with Magic Johnson.  They had an excellent team that was anchored by Coach Heathcotes' match-up defense.  So many coaches spent the off-season wanting to play the Michigan State match-up.

During my tenure at LSU, so many teams were running Triple Post on the offensive set.  After all, the Chicago Bulls were winning championships each year with it.  But with the possible exception of Stanford's women's team, no one utilized fully to the extent that you needed to to be successful.

Certainly we can study other coaches and systems to help us formulate our systems of play, but as Coach Newell pointed out, a couple of lectures aren't going to get us there.  Whatever it is you do, believe in it and commit not only to teaching it but first learning it.