Sunday, November 29, 2015


Outstanding list compiled by (outstanding website).  Click here to read the entire post which also includes video.

1. Ball Reversals
  • Make the Defense Move
    • The more times the ball goes from side to side, the more the defense must rotate and closeout.
    • Be down ready on the back side as the ball is swung to you.
    • Attack closeouts that are too close, and shoot the ball when the defense closes out short with hands down.
  • Don't Catch and Hold the Ball
    • Be thinking one play ahead and be decisive with your moves.
    • Don't waste your dribbles. Either drive the closeout, shoot, or move the ball.
2. Player Movement
  • Don't Stand
    • Players that stand are easy to guard and force one on one offense.
    • Sometimes you may need to space, but most of the time you should always be moving.
  • Hard Cuts
    • Read your defender and make the appropriate cut.
      • Back cut
      • Face cut
    • Make decisive cuts.
    • Set up your defender before cutting.
    • Slow to fast.
    • Look to score on every cut.
    • Your cut may open up a scoring chance for a teammate.
3. Screens
  • Set GREAT Legal Screens
    • Use screens to help get other teammates open.
    • Must head hunt on screens.
    • Never screen and stand.
    • Read the defense and offensive player using the screen to determine whether you should roll or space after you set the screen.
    • Slip the screen if you are being overplayed.
  • Use Screens to Get Open
    • Set up your defender before using a screen. EVERY TIME.
    • Read your defender when using the screen and then make the appropriate cut.
      • Curl cut
      • Straight cut
      • Fade cut
      • Pro cut
  • On the Same Page
    • The player using the screen and the player(s) setting the screen must work together.
    • Must have great timing and spacing when executing a screen.
  • Hand Offs
    • Use hand offs similar to ball screens to help teammates get open.
    • If your defender is cheating the hand off, fake it and then make a move.
4. Penetration
  • Drive and Kick
    • Great penetration forces the defense to suck in and help, which opens up the kick out pass.
    • Get your shoulders to the basket before making the kick out pass.
      • This sells that you are attacking the basket and makes the defense sink in.
    • Receiver needs to be down ready to either shoot, drive, or swing the ball. Don't catch and hold!
      • If you catch and hold, the defense can recover and the ball movement is dead.
  • Stay Under Control
    • Don't leave your feet and open yourself up to charges and wild passes.
    • Don't over penetrate into trouble.
      • If you get too deep into the defense, there are too many hands to deflect your pass.
5. Passing Angles
  • Receiver Needs to Create Passing Lanes
    • Don't stand and watch on penetration.
    • Either slide up or down to create a great passing lane.
    • A great time to move is once your defender turns their head to watch the ball.
    • Find the passers eyes, especially when the ball goes into the post.
  • Down Ready
    • Don't catch the ball standing straight up and down.
    • Anticipate what you are going to do with the ball by how the defender is guarding you; shoot, drive, or swing pass.
6. Inside Out
  • Post Play
    • Get the ball into the post and then look for kick outs when the defense helps.
    • Find the post players eyes and create passing lanes by moving up or down.
    • Hard cuts on the weak side will be open with a great post passer.
  • Pass Fakes
    • Being unselfish opens up opportunities for pass fakes and keeps.
    • Works great for hand offs in the high post area.
    • Must sell the pass.
    • Use your body to shield the ball from the view of the defender.
7. Designed Plays
  • Executing Offense
    • Use set plays to help establish ball movement and player movement.
    • It can be a set play or a motion offense.
  • Read the Defense
    • Don't be a robot to the play.
    • If the defense is cheating the play than make them pay.
8. Unselfish Plays
  • Extra Pass
    • Turn down an okay shot for a great shot.
    • This type of play will be contagious and lead to better shots for everyone.
  • Set Up Teammates
    • Make a move with the specific desire to set up another teammate for an easy shot.
    • Not just the point guards responsibility.
  • Celebrate Winning Plays
    • Get excited when a teammate makes an unselfish play.
    • It must be all about the team.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Our motivational passout to our team today with an assistant from Lipscomb head coach Greg Brown who tweeted this yesterday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


“Rebounding is one of his staples,” said Izzo’s former associate head coach and current Northern
Illinois head coach Mark Montgomery, whose own team finished last year atop the Mid-American Conference in rebounding. “It’s something he’s going to work on every single day.”

We came across an article from a year ago from written by Brett Koremenos on the culture of rebounding at Michigan State and how it is developed by Tom Izzo. The article is titled "How Tom Izzo Turned Michigan State into a Rebounding Factory." Below are a few excerpts I took from the article but you'll want to click on this link for the entire post because Koremenos has video to go along with his column.

Montgomery says that everything Michigan State does — from its film sessions to past players coming back to impart wisdom — is aimed at creating the tough, gritty culture we see embodied in its play every season. The emphasis on rebounding is a key part of that because, along with defense, tracking down a missed shot doesn’t require any basketball-related talent.

“There’s no skill involved,” Montgomery says. “You want the ball more. It’s in your heart. It’s body on body. It’s kamikaze. You go in there and come away with it.”

In order to rebound, as with anything in life, you have to learn to crawl before you can walk. And Izzo starts by breaking down his rebounding technique in the form of one-on-zero, one-on-one, and two-on-two drills from different spots on the floor. Except, Michigan State doesn’t drill the traditional boxout that most fans associate with the game. You won’t go to a Spartans practice and find players putting their backsides into an opponent, trying to shield them off from an errant shot. Instead, Izzo teaches a technique for defensive rebounding he calls “hit-find-fetch.”

Michigan State players spend a good portion of their practice time honing this technique and mentality under Izzo’s watchful eye. Many other coaches spend only a cursory amount of time on this facet of the game — not that it makes them inherently better or worse, just different.
Izzo doesn’t just stop at those smaller breakdown exercises, though. In fact, they’re only a prelude to the grand march of rebounding drills: the war drill, a 5-on-5 slugfest featuring one ball and 10 Big Ten athletes trying to secure a rebound amid total chaos.

Friday, November 6, 2015


Here are some excerpts from a well-written article by Anthony Oppermann for the Galveston County Daily News on Houston football coach Tom Herman.  Coach Herman has his Cougars 8-0 and he gives credit to the evolution of the culture he is creating. You can read all of this article here, but here is a section I really enjoyed:

Ask Herman about the team’s perfect record or national ranking, and he will tell you it doesn’t matter, none of it matters.

But then he will say something that does.

“Praise always feels a lot better than criticism in the short term,” Herman said the Monday after the Tulane game. “As humans, we try to seek out praise, and what I told (the team) is the really successful people seek out criticism. They want to be criticized, and they want to be helped to improve on their craft.”

Herman has admitted that his role is equal parts football coach and novice psychologist, especially when dealing with 18- to 22-year-olds.

“They’re prone to just revert back to being primal, and the human element, the human side of things says, ‘I’m just going to cruise through today and do what’s easy.’ What’s easy is to go through the motions,” Herman said earlier this season.

And speaking of primal, there was the moment after Houston’s 59-10 win at Central Florida when Herman applied his primal principle to dealing with adversity.

“The primal human instinct, human element is to freak out and try to do things that you’re not trained to do,” Herman said. “We want to make sure that our guys, even when faced with a tremendous amount of adversity, they’re very mindful, they take a deep breath, and they go just focus on the next play.”


There are different kinds of simplicity.  Some are better than others.

The master instructor knows the details but coaches with simple instructions: stand tall, breath and so on.  The master teacher understands every word of her text but concentrates on the central idea.  The ability to explain complicated things with clarity is a mark of mastery.

Unfortunately, it's sometimes those who have mastered the least who talk the most.

Simplicity is easy.  Clarity is earned.  We earn clarity by confronting complexity.

From "Resilience" by Eric Greitens

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Our team's motivational passout today includes a great quote and concept via Tom Izzo.  Team's that take ownership of their program, that hold themselves and each other accountable, have a far great opportunity of succeeding and achieving their potential than those teams that rely on their coaching staff for everything.  Team ownership and accountability is the ultimate culture.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


As a coach, there are so many things that you deem important -- things you want your players to know and understand -- things that are high on the priority list in terms of what you want to teach players.

Certainly there are numerous things that players need to learn and improve on.  Some they are willing participants in the education and development process.  Work with a player on improving his or her shot and chances are you will have a focused pupil.  The same can be said in dribbling and ball handling.  All players, regardless of position, want to be able to put the ball on the floor.  And while this at times least to the overuse of the dribble, players certainly will list and work if you want to help them improve this area of their game.

But it is important for them to understand that the large majority of the game, on the offensive end, they will be playing WITHOUT the ball.  Their ability to properly execute the fundamentals of footwork while learning to move without the basketball is far more important than many of them understand.

And nobody has phrased it better for them to understand it than Coach John Wooden:

"What you do before you get the ball, 
determines what you can do after you get it."

That is a very profound statement yet not enough coaches spend the time to develop this area and of course very few players give thought to it.

Are you teaching the proper footwork for moving without the basketball?  The most foundational cut in basketball is the your players master it?  The v-cut allows them to get open on the perimeter or to set up the defender for a back cut.  The v-cut allows them be better screeners or to utilize screens better.  The v-cut allows a post player to move better in the post.  Are you working to improve your v-cuts daily?

The ability to read the defender makes a difference in if, when and where you catch the basketball.

We mentioned screening.  I'm not sure there is a better way to get open than by being an excellent screener.  The key is being "excellent."  Are you teaching a correct screening stance couple with the proper screening angle?  Are they sprinting to screen?  And, the biggest key, are the screening with the screener is the 2nd cutter mentality?

Do you show video of your team or other teams and have your players focus on what's going on away from the ball?

Because the best offensive players in the game truly understand Coach Wooden:

"What you do before you get the ball, 
determines what you can do after you get it."