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Friday, September 22, 2017

PERIMETER PLAYER SKILL DEVELOPMENT

The following comes from a lecture I gave at A Step Up Assistant Coaching Symposium several years ago.

2 GOALS FOR PERIMETER SKILL DEVELOPMENT

GOAL #1: Improve and stretch the skill of the individual player
                  Technique: proper execution is critically important in all drills

“Be a skill coach, not a drill coach.”
-Coach Don Meyer

 Overload Drills: must take players out of their comfort zone to stretch them

GOAL #2: Improve skills related to offensive system of play for your team
1. What does your team need for your players to do well?
2. Don’t improve a skill you don’t need

CONCEPT #1: Don’t just work on your players’ weaknesses — stretch and further develop their strengths.

CONCEPT #2: Maximize individual workout time...don’t just work on fundamentals, work on relationships.

CONCEPT #3: Measure when you can...stats can help.

CONCEPT #4: Always utilize video when possible.

CONCEPT #5: Sometimes skill development needs to be in a team setting as opposed to individual.

CONCEPT #6: Singleness of purpose will create quicker improvement, confidence.

CONCEPT #7: “Catch them doing something right.” -Don Meyer

CONCEPT #8: Break down the whole and create a part-method drill.


In developing solid perimeter play, we want to first look for and then develop the following characteristics:

1. SHE MUST HAVE GOOD VISION
Vision is a very encompassing matter. A good perimeter player does more than just see her teammates, she also sees the defense. This particular type of vision allows the good perimeter player to make the proper decisions with the basketball.

2. SHE MUST UNDERSTAND HER STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
A good perimeter player knows what she does well and works hard to get in position to take advantage of those skills and fundamentals. Just as important however, is the fact that a good perimeter player knows what her limitations are, her weaknesses, and stays away from them.

3. SHE KNOWS HER TEAMMATES STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES
This is very difficult for the average perimeter player, and in fact, it is a rare quality usually found in the best perimeter players. That special type of perimeter player knows who the best shooters are on the team and tries to get them the ball when they are open. She knows who the best posters are and feeds them the ball. She knows who has trouble dribbling the ball and doesn’t pass them the ball when it might put them in a dribbling situation.

4. SHE MIXES AGGRESSIVENESS WITH PATIENCE
The good perimeter player knows when to push the ball up and when to hold it up. She knows when to attack the basket and when to reverse the ball. She is prepared to play at whatever speed is necessary for her team to be successful.

5. SHE IS HARD TO GUARD
A good perimeter player is constantly working to get open and at the same time occupy her defender. She understands that she must move with a purpose, because she must never confuse “activity for achievement.”

6. SHE IS STRONG WITH THE BALL
Whether she is dribbling, passing, or holding the ball, she is going to be strong. She is not going to let the defender rush her into a mistake.

7. COMPOSURE—COMPOSURE—COMPOSURE!!!
The best perimeter players never let anything upset them. They don’t let the crowd affect their play; they don’t let the other team affect their play; and they don’t let any breakdowns by their teammates affect their play.

8. SHE MUST BE PHYSICALLY STRONG
We want players that are warriors in the weight room. This is an area that you as a coach must be committed to as much as the players.  Players know what is important to a coaching staff. Working hard in the weight room doesn’t mean that we are interested in huge muscle bound athletes. We are interested in developing upper body strength and explosiveness from the lower body.

9. SHE MUST BE AN EXCELLENT CONDITIONED ATHLETE
We expect our perimeter players to be able to outrun the opposing perimeter players down the court for fast break opportunities. And, just as important, we expect our perimeter players to be able to outrun the opposing perimeter players and be in good defensive position in defensive transition. In our motion offense, our perimeter players are constantly moving. We are always telling them, “be hard to guard.” All of this demands a supremely physically conditioned athlete.

10. SHE MUST BE A SMART PLAYER
We expect our perimeter players to be able to “think” the game. Again, because of our motion offense, our perimeter players are expected to constantly make decisions while on the floor. When and who to screen, when to pass, and when to dribble are just some of the instant decisions we expect them to make. Equally, because we utilize scouting reports, they must know which particular player they are defending and how to defend them.

11. SHE MUST POSSESS A GREAT WORK ETHIC
Obviously, to be a warrior in the weight room, a supremely physically conditioned athlete, and a mentally prepared basketball player, you must first possess a great work ethic. We demand a lot from a our perimeter players and the truly good ones are not afraid to work. To be a top-flight player, a good work ethic is a year round necessity.

Monday, September 18, 2017

4TH AND GOAL EVERY DAY

I've enjoyed reading 4th And Goal Every Day by Phil Savage.  Savage isn't just a writer -- he is a former NFL assistant coach and general manager who has worked with some of the games best coaches.  Add to that his current position as radio color analyst for Alabama football and you have a very unique set of eyes on the Crimson Tide football program and the championship philosophy of Nick Saban.  Savage chose the title 4th And Goal Every Day because he felt it summed up the mindset in the Bama program -- a constant sense of urgency.

For me, I was especially drawn to the sections of the book that dealt with recruiting and player and team development.  Not surprisingly they go hand-in-hand:
Alabama does not care so much "what" a high school player is doing on the field.  It cares more about "how" a player is doing it.  There is a big difference.  What he is doing might look dominant against high school players, but how he is doing it -- athleticism, instinct, explosiveness -- might show his further potential.
Nick Saban would rather take a guy with "tools" in his body that have not yet bloomed over a high school player who is "an effort guy" making twenty-five tackles through willpower.  Saban thinks he can coach the player with tools so that his pure ability will allow him to far surpass the results of the overachiever with limited skills.
As for player development, it should surprise no one that a big key of Bama's success is the structure of their practice:
Recruiting is significant, but what they do best at Alabama is player development.  Talk to any NFL scout and he will tell you that the Alabama practice field resembles a pro camp more than any other college program in the country.  The drills and techniques being taught in Tuscaloosa are the same ones used during the week by NFL players who slip on the pads for the Sunday games.  The Crimson Tide soaks its players in film work, fundamentals, repetition, and patience.
If you love football, this is an outstanding book with Savage going into the details of teaching, coaching, evaluating and giving great stories to support those areas.  But it's also a great book for coaches who want an inside look at one of the best. 

FUNDAMENTALS ARE FUNDAMENTALS

Got this via an email from Greg Eubanks last week.  I know Greg through my relationship with Coach Don Meyer. Greg played for Coach Meyer from 1988-92 and as I told Greg, I know that Coach is looking down and smiling at his comparison of baseball to basketball fundamentals!


Breakdown drills - a starting infielder in MLB is working on fielding grounders and he starts from his knees. Crossover: do the shooting progression

at :42 - Line everything up - "once you cross your body you've got no control" (at 2:15). Crossover: Get your wrist, elbow, knee and toe all lined up on your shot

at 1:05 - Details matter - How he gets the ball out of his glove, where the ball sits in his glove makes the difference in getting an out or not. Crossover - Details matter - it's the difference in winning and losing

at 1:00 - Look at the intensity in which he practices, the exaggeration with his eyes and hands

at 4:12 - "It's a process. It doesn't happen in a couple of days."  Crossover - You don't become a great shooter or ballhandler overnight or by only doing it every few days. It's a process that takes work and you'll see results but it may not be for a while.

at 8:06 - Why do we do drills? We isolate skills and when we carry that over to the 5/5 is when the magic happen.

at 10:55 - If you practice the skills you'll be ready for the games and you can play aggressive and make plays. "Play wide open with our minds and wide open with our athletic ability"

You think Ozzie is in the MLB just by chance? He's talented but that's just one factor.
 There's lots of talented guys who never come close the MLB.  He's also coachable, pays attention to details, and works hard. 

What are your goals and what are you doing to achieve them? What's holding you back?


Thursday, September 14, 2017

GARY BLAIR COACHING ACADEMY JUMP DRIVE FOR PURCHASE

We've had a lot of request for information on the Gary Blair Coaching Academy information and if it would be available to those coaches who could not attend.  It has been a tradition of our to make as much of the materials available as possible.

This year, for $40, you will receive a jump drive that will have video of each of the presentations along with all the passouts the coaches made available while speaking.  

Click here for more ordering information.


In addition, there will be the following:

Aggie Offensive Playbook
Aggie Defensive Drill Booklet
Aggie Man to Man Defense Booklet
Passout on the Aggie Point Zone Defense
Passout on Aggie Scouting Guidelines

There will be also 50 set of clinic notes taken from other clinics from coaches such as Hubie Brown, Bob Knight, Roy Williams, Sherri Coale, Geno Auriemma, Pat Summitt, Don Meyer and many more.

Also included will be over 30 articles on coaches such Bill Parcells, Nick Saban, Rick Majerus and many more.

The video  segments include the following speakers along with their topics:

Mike Neighbors - Green Light Shooting Program
Mike Neighbors - Teaching and Motivating the iY Generation
Gary Blair - Aggie Man to Man Offense
Kelly Bond-White - Aggie Primary/Secondary Break
Amy Wright - Perimeter Player Development
Bob Starkey - Good Things I've Learned Along the Way
Bob Starkey - Aggie Shell Defense Series

Plus a complete Texas A&M basketball practice.

Any additional questions? Email me at: rstarkey@athletics.tamu.edu



THE OPPORTUNITY TO PURSUE EXCELLENCE

In a few weeks I'll be speaking at the PGC/Glazier Coaching Clinic in Dallas.  I have two segments and my last one is titled: "Don Meyer - Lessons Learned from a Legacy Left."  I've spent the last few days rereading Buster Olney's great book on Coach Meyer, "How Lucky You Can Be," and came across a passage back in the acknowledgments that I'm going to share with my team today:
"I first met Don Meyer when I was twenty-four years old and a first-year reporter at the Nashville Banner.  Meyer's practices were always open to the public, and so, once or twice a week, I would sit in and watch and listen. When the team met in a classroom before of after practices, I would take a seat in the back.  The underlying message that I heard him present to his players -- that every single day provided you with the opportunity to pursue excellent or not -- resonated with me from a young age."

Monday, September 11, 2017

DON MEYER'S TEAM TRADEMARKS

The following is a list create by Coach Don Meyer on what he wanted the "trademarks" of his team to be.  Do you have a list of what you want your team to stand for?

1. TEAM ATTITUDE (WE BEFORE ME) 
Love for each other 
Unselfish 
Trustworthy 
Huddles on the floor 
Clean locker-room 
Help teammates up 
Wipe up floor 
Sprint off floor 
Disciplined Know Roles 

2. SERVANTHOOD / STEWARDSHIP 
Courteous / Polite 
Picking up trash 
Sportsmanship
 Respect for the game / Opponents
 Doing the next right thing right 
Helping Keith

3. TOUGHNESS (NEVER OUT HUSTLED, NEVER OUT THOUGHT) 

4. FUNDAMENTALS 
Defense 
Offense 
Transition and Talk 
Sureness 
Stance, Vision, Position, 
Talk 
Triple Threat 
Ball Pressure 
LBBBOS 
On and up the line 
Doleac 
Closeouts 
Feeding the post 
High hands --- Hand Above Ball 
Cut and space 
Shot pressure 
Drive and space 
BOPCRO 
Follow through 

5. STUDENTS / TEACHERS OF THE GAME 
Notebooks 
Camp 
Active and teaching bench 

6. COMMUNICATION 
System of talk 
Echo yells 
Posts demand the ball 

7. CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT (KAIZEN) 
Sense of urgency 
Warm-ups 
Buying-in 
Attention to detail 
Red Team workouts

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

TIM ELMORE'S iY GENERATION

During one of the stops along the way during the July recruiting period, Joni Taylor told me of Tim Elmore and his work in communicating and leading millennials also know as the Y Generation.  She told me of his book series titled "Habitudes."  She had so much passion in her voice I went back to the hotel that night and researched it.  Joni is someone I greatly admire and respect so when she says "you gotta check it out," I did.

I went to Elmore's website and purchased a series a books titled the "Coaching Millennial Athletes Bundle" which included the book "Generation iY."  Elmore refers the Y Generation as "iY Generation" because of their nature of their information gathering and communication through things such as their iPhones and iPads.

The book was amazing and is an absolute must read for those looking to maximize their ability to communicate and teach today's student athletes.  I took 30 pages of notes from the book. 

Elmore goes in great detail to explain how this generation has evolved and then explains the positive and negative ramifications.  Better yet, he gives some concrete guidelines to assist us as coaches. 

For example, how important are our words and messages that we deliver to our team?  As Elmore explains:

"We need to remember that every time we stand in front of our own kids or a group of students, they are silently asking: Why should I listen to you? What do you have to offer me that’s different than the other options in my life?"
Understanding this requires thought and preparation when communication.

The most profound statement from Elmore and one that so many of us have a difficult time swallowing is:
"To connect and influence Generation iY, we’ll likely have to adjust to them."
Another concept that Elmore delves into is the one of the helicopter parent:
"Too many parents invest too much energy in protecting their children, and forget that their number-one job is to prepare their children for life without them. Parenting is ultimate leadership. A parent is the ultimate mentor in the life of their child."
And while this is true, we also see instances of the same philosophy and culture within athletic teams.  Sometimes we as coaches are swift to judge parents without looking that we are guilty of the same sins.

What we must understand is regardless of the facts, that we have inherited a different and unique generation to coach, the responsibility still relies on us to help steer them in the right direction.  I often speak at clinics and one of the things that I talk about is "don't be that coach that talks about how difficult it is to coach this generation."  In all honesty, all coaches could make this statement -- including the ones that coached us.  Be the answer.  Or as Elmore states:
"If we’re serious about transforming the world, we have to be serious about investing in this next generation.  What we do today as adults will no doubt determine who they will become as adults."

As I said, I took 30 pages of notes from this book.  I fully believe I am going to be a better coach for having read it and that's a powerful thing to say about a book.  In closing, here are a few more thoughts from Elmore on teaching:

Teaching must supply not only information, but inspiration for students.
Teaching must do more than measure a kid’s memory; it must motivate a kid’s imagination.
Teaching must cover not just the facts of history but the feelings that history produced.
Teaching should not just be about increasing intelligence, but also about increasing innovation.
Teaching cannot only be about what to think, but how to think.