Saturday, October 3, 2015


One of the great things about social media is not only the information that becomes available but new relationships developed.  One of those for me is with Coach Steve Finamore (a great follow on twitter) who has an amazing passion for the game -- he, like all good coaches, is a continual learner.  Steve recently visited the Detroit Pistons for a practice session and Steve was great enough to share those notes and we want to pass them on as well.  This is part of I of Coach Finamore's notes:

Detroit Pistons
Practice #1
Tuesday September 29, 2015
10:00 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.

- Huge sign on the wall at the Pistons practice facility behind basket:


- Championship and division banners hang from the rafters.

- Pistons team and coaching staff walk onto court together at 10AM.

(Many players were at practice facility at 8 A.M. getting in extra shooting with coaches)

Coaching staff:

Stan Van Gundy, Brendan Malone, Bob Beyer, Malik Allen, Tim Hardaway, Charles Klask.

- Coach Van Gundy has said in the past that attending a clinic should not change your overall philosophy.  Beyond clinics, SVG suggested to go out and watch people practice. I agree. In the past I have found attending practices has helped me so much as a coach.

- This morning there are a few college coaches observing practice. Pistons give out three handouts. One handout is a card asking for any feedback we would like to share about practice. SVG values anything you can share with him regarding practice. One thing I came away with is that SVG cares about the game and its coaches.

- Pistons start with a walk-through on transition defense.

- “Getting back on defense” is emphasized the entire time.  

Reaction time is key. Get back to middle of floor. Point and talk.  

“Getting back” is something you can control states SVG.

- Coach Van Gundy is one of the best I have ever seen teach the game.  He makes it so simple to understand. He’s teaching pro’s why it’s so important to get back on defense.

Detroit Pistons Defensive Musts:

1-Get Back

2-Protect the Paint

3-Close and contest

4-Pressure the ball

5-Defend without fouling

6-Block out and rebound

- Pistons work on running their offense.  After they score, Van Gundy emphasizes getting back to half-court. He wants them getting back to the center circle.  Assistant coaches on sidelines shouting to get back to all five players.


What are your rules on getting back on defense?

-1 and 2 are back on the release of the shot. Dead sprint to the other end of the floor.

-4 and 5 go to the boards unless they are above the free throw line.

-3 makes a decision to crash or sprint back.

Match up when you get back. You don’t have a man in transition.

- Pistons worked on their four-man shell drill for :24 seconds.

“Twenty-four seconds of work!” –SVG

- Lots of energy. Lots of talking. Everyone was involved and engaged and encouraging each other.

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