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Substituting by Position vs. Substituting at Random
Part Two of a Six Part Series
by Ed McGlumphy, "the Gym Rat", Author Gym Rat Series, Instructional Books


Editor's Note:
Coach McGlumphy, aka "the Gym Rat", will be sharing his winning philosophy in the series, “Six Articles on the Intangibles Designed to Make a Coach Think.”. PowerBasketball welcomes "the Gym Rat" and his infinite wisdom. Stay Tuned for his other articles! Just like the "Gym Rat Says. . . Coaches: It's not what you know, but what you teach that counts"

After 65 years in the gym as a player, coach, athletic director, parent, summer camp director and book author, I have made observations that I think make the difference between successful programs and unsuccessful ones. Everyone goes to the same clinics and knows the same X’s and O’s. Why then are some coaches great and others mediocre?

I have acquired a wealth of information by speaking with thousands of coaches at all levels at major Nike Clinics, State Clinics throughout the East, Midwest, South and Final Fours for both men and women. These coaches know that it is a fine line of intangibles that make the difference between winning and losing.

  1. Don’t be in a hurry to substitute, your starters start for a Reason.
  2. Prepare 10 players in practice by position (two #1’s, and two #2’s, etc.).
  3. Bench players must know their role by position. It is diffi cult for young players to know more than one position well. They may
  4. know one or two sets; but do they know them all, including out-of-bounds plays and presses?
  5. All 10 players must know why the substitution is being made.
  6. Don’t grab the fi rst player you see. He/she will not perform under pressure in an unfamiliar situation.
With these 5 points in mind - the Gym Rat says:
  1. “Coach” have control of your emotions.
    • Patience is a Virtue - let a player play through his/her mistakes (once, twice, maybe three times).
  2. Have players seated on the bench by position:
    • Head Coach, #1 Guard, #2 Guard, Assistant Coach, #3 Forward, #4 Forward, #5 Center, all others - end of bench.
    • Bench organization is so important.
  3. Prepare 10 players by position during practice:
    • Have five “Red” shirt players and fi ve “Black” shirt players. Don’t designate them as 1st team or 2nd team players at the beginning of the year. #1 Red pairs up with #1 “Black”, #2 “Red” pairs up with #2 “Black”, and so forth. Reason for this is the players in the two man drills will get better. Weaker players will improve more when playing with stronger players.
  4. In practice, as we teach each position, we are teaching two players at that position. The “Red” player is in competition with the “Black” player at that position during practice.
  5. Rules for playing time in games and who plays together in practice depends on the following:
    1. Fewest Mental Mistakes - Know how to execute in your position at both ends of the fl oor.
    2. No Excuses - For not going after the ball - not seeing the open man - not going to the basket. (Play North/South basketball not East/West.)
    3. Being in Position at both ends of the fl oor - knowing what offense/defense we’re in.
    4. Controlling his/her emotions - No “hot dogs” in games or practice
    5. Being in shape to play 40 min. in H.S. / 50 min. in college. Fatigue results in fouls caused by grabbing along with other mental mistakes. (Loafing)
gymrat@Tusco.net
Dangers at the bench area:
  1. Too many coaches talking in huddle. (One only.)
  2. Too many players talking in huddle. (None.)
  3. Other distractions in the huddle that cause the coach’s message not to be heard and/or understood. (Excessive water bottles, towels, etc.)

Two of the Greatest coaches of all time never got off the Bench at game time - J.W. and A. R.
They are my model coaches - Guess who??? ___________ ___________ (Answer in Article 3.)

In conclusion, you may agree or you may not agree, that is OK. But after 65 year in a gym, I have seen a lot of GOOD coaches who are POOR coaches at game time. Over substituting and random substituting are a big reason why. My goal is to get you as a coach to think and self evaluate your coaching knowledge. Further information on basketball fundamentals and coaching philosophy is available in the Gym Rat Practice Bible (Coach Edition) or Gym Rat Practice Bible (Player and Youth Coach Edition).


Both publications are published in a managable size, flip book style that allows you to take them to the court with you. They are ideal for Players, School Coaches, Parents, AAU Coaches, Recreational Coaches, and basketball junkies....

Order your Gym Rat Books by contacting:
Coach Ed McGlumphy “The Gym Rat”
6999 Stucky Valley Road SW, Stonecreek, OH 43840
Phone: 330-308-5697
Emal: gymrat@Tusco.net

The Gym Rat Practice Bible (Coach Edition) includes:

  • Daily Dozen Practice Schedule
  • Daily Defensive Techniques
  • Daily Shooting Techniques
  • One Step Foul Shooting
  • Daily Rebounding Techniques
  • 30 Individual Fundamentals to be Taught at all Levels
  • Basketball is a Simple Game of Opposites
  • Testing Your Players
  • A Player’s Report Card
  • Pocket Size
  • Easy to Handle
  • Easy To Flip
  • Take It to the Court
  • The Original Coach Edition


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NOTICE:All material on this web site is copyrighted. No article may be reproduced or redistributed in any form or manner without the expressed written consent of the respective author. Commercial reproduction is not permitted without the written permission of the Coaching Staff at PowerBasketball.


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