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Sunday, October 18, 2009


I got my hands on a new book this past week, "Game Strategies and Tactics for Basketball" from my friend Kevin Sivils. I first met Kevin as an assistant on Dale Brown's staff and immediately recognized a passion on his part to TEACH -- which is why I am not surprised that his book is an excellent one.

The book itself is different but is exactly one that so many coaches need. If you are looking for some plays, quick-hitters and detailed X & O's, this isn't the book. But if you are looking for help to better teach the X & O's and, most importantly, apply them in game situations than this is a must read. There are thousands of books and videos on plays but this is unique look at STRATEGY including the following sections:

The Right Approach Goes A Long Way
It speaks to theories Kevin learned from Coach Wooden and Don Meyer as well as understanding what you can control from the bench and what you cannot -- including your relationship with officials.

The Logic Behind It
Delves into both strategic thinking and tactical thinking

Management Issues
Again, this is game coaching that we often don't give enough thought to such as preparing to play at home and on the road, bench decorum and bench organization.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
This is a great chapter on planning and practicing special situations

Controlling What the Coach Can Control
Detailed look at pre-game warm-up, substitutions, timeouts, and jump balls

Some Thoughts on Defense
A different look at defense with thoughts on how to foul for profits, special defensive strategies and how and when to change defenses.

How Fast Do You Want to Play?
Kevin talks about how to speed the game up and how to slow the game down.

The End of the Game
This is a section on understanding time and score, killing the clock and what do you need to do to comeback in a game.
It is All in the Details
A lot of great checklists to help your stay organized in a variety of areas.

From the Summary -- some thoughts from Kevin:

Coaches should always be thinking about teaching the game, and regardless of the outcome of the game, never stop coaching and teaching the players!

The time to plan for special situations and bench coaching strategy and tactics is long before the game.

The coach should decide what to do before games so decisions will be made in a calm, unemotional environment.

The coach's responsibility is to TEACH the players.

From the section on "Bench Coaching for Success":

"Don't whine, don't complain, and don't make excuses!" - John Wooden

If ever there was a creed or slogan that every coach in every sport should adopt, this might be the one. All players must accept responsibility for their actions, their inactions, and their individual responsibilities. It is almost inbred in each of us as humans to resist these very things; thus, the need for coaches everywhere is to teach the Wooden Rule.

Whining simply produces negativity and annoys other people. No one likes to be around a "whiner." It is not good for the player, it is not good for the team, and it does not foster a positive team environment. It can also be like a contagious virus. If one player whines unchecked long enough, the whining can spread like the contagious virus. Whining also prevents a player from being proactive and taking steps to eliminate the very thing that he or she is whining about, preventing the player from living up to his or her potential.

For a copy of this book: