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Surviving Your Second Year as a Basketball Coach


Chapter 2 - Goals for Year Two


Alrighty then, we have off-season ball out of the way. Now let's go on to our main course, your second year of coaching regular season ball. Before every new season, I highly recommend you have a nice long internal look at yourself. Did you enjoy coaching last year? Do you think your team enjoyed playing basketball last year, and still learned something? Do you really want to do it again? I know, I know, if you didn't want to do it again, you wouldn't be going cross eyed in front of your monitor at the moment, now would you? I got the message, so let's move on.

I always think and talk about priorities and goals. It's now time to go back to them again. It's goal setting time. No, I'm not talking about how many wins do you want this year. I'm not talking about winning your league or a tournament. COACH = TEACHER AND ROLE MODEL so we need to figure out what your players should reasonably be expected to know, and do, by the end of their second year. This will then let you know what you have to teach them this year. Gosh, am I simple, or what? Don't answer that!

TOP 10 LIST of things a graduating 2nd year player should know

  1. How to make a right handed layup at full speed
  2. How to make a left handed layup at full speed
  3. How to set a screen that seals
  4. How to block out for the rebound
  5. How to move without the ball on offense
  6. Proper footwork on defense
  7. Proper spacing on defense
  8. How to play m-2-m defense
  9. How to shoot using the proper shooting form
  10. And anything else we can think of later on.

NOTICE, I never mentioned anything about wins or losses, or specific offenses, or game strategies, or zone defenses, or anything else. These are what we need to help you learn as a coach. This Top 10 List is what you should teach your players. These should be your goals. If your players can learn and retain these top 10 things, then you will have succeeded as a 2nd year coach.

TOP 7 LIST of things you need to learn as a coach

  1. How to handle The Attitudes
  2. Game Strategies
  3. Simple, but effective, offenses to teach your team
  4. Defenses, primarily m-2-m, to teach your team
  5. How to conduct your Learning sessions so you can teach more in a short period of time
  6. How to teach your players what they need to complete their Top 10 List
  7. And anything else we can think of later on - (don't you just love the way I end my lists?)

This gives you goals that you and your players should strive for this year. My job is to help you achieve these goals.

Now on to something different. I believe that as a coach, you have to do your best to make basketball fun for your players. Remember, when these kids first signed up, they signed up to play a game because games are supposed to be fun. Well, I believe that this book needs to be fun as well. I know that I hate boring technical crap, so let's have a little fun. Here's a little story for you, hope you like it.


Ever had a ref that had it in for you? No? Yeah, right! Well Rob is a ref here in town that must hate my team. He will call 20 plus fouls against my team and 2 against the other team. We may be aggressive, but not that aggressive compared to everyone else. The sad part is, he has reffed at least 15 of our games.

We had a big tournament game coming up and I found out that Rob was going to ref our game. Being my normal elfish self, I went to my favorite store, Spencer Gifts. Alas, they didn't didn't carry what I wanted. But, they did send me to a mom and pop specialty store that did carry it. I went there, found what I needed and I was ready.

Because Rob had reffed at least 15 of our games, I knew his routine. He would walk in the gym, set his bag down on the bleachers, walk across the court, confer with the scorer's at the scorer's table, go back to the bleachers and change into his gym shoes. A lot of refs have this same routine.

Game day was no different, he left his bag on the bleachers, walked across the court, and conferred with the scorers. I sent one of my players to the scorer's table and she started asking him all sorts of questions about how she could avoid some of her normal fouls. Rob stuck out his chest proudly and began to expound on all of the things he knew nothing about.

While he was bragging on his knowledge, or lack of, I walked over to the bleachers. I got into his bag and took out his gym shoes.

Let me tell you about most gym shoes. There is a place in the front of the shoe that is ever so slightly tilted up, it's right under the tops of your toes. I taped a small pellet to the bottom of each of his shoes in this area. Where the sole meets the front of the shoe is where these pellets went.

Oh, another thing about Rob, he's big. OK, he's fat. He doesn't move out of a little 4 foot area much, when he refs. It makes the other refs so mad, they filed a complaint with the league about him.

Anyway, I then put his shoes back in his bag and hurried back to my bench. Rob finally came back to bleachers and put on his gym shoes.

Next he positioned himself close to the scorer's table. The scorer's themselves consisted of a parent from each team.

Finally, the game started. Every time we got the ball, my players would dribble close enough to Rob to make him jump out of their way. After he jumped out of their way 3 or 4 times, he started staring at the scorers, with the God awfullest look on his face.

I looked at the scorers and they had an equally scrunched up face and were staring at each other, and then they started staring at Rob, with his too tight referee's shirt that was trying to hide his beer belly.

I started to lose it. What I had done was tape a small, but deadly, stink bomb to the bottom of Rob's shoes. In his jumping around to get out of the way of my player's way, he had broken open the gel packed pellets and unleashed the results of every frightened skunk in the neighborhood. So the scorers were staring at beer belly Rob, and he was staring at them. Finally the woman couldn't stand it any more and she got up and left the table. The man at the table signalled Rob it was alright and he could handle it until she came back.

A girl on the other team was lazily bringing the ball up the court, when she passed within 2 feet of Rob. She stopped for a moment, shook her head a couple of times and then stared at Rob. Then she made a beeline for the opposite side of the court. I think she must have stayed too long, because she passed to a teammate, then rubbed her eyes a couple of times. Then she just stared at Rob for the longest time, then started laughing.

By now you could see the other scorer fanning his nose and shaking his head. Rob moved a dozen feet or so away from the scorers table. He totally ignored the game and just kept glaring at the scorer. Moving didn't help. Pretty soon he was rubbing his eyes. You could see that they were all red and tears were running down his face.

My team knew what was happening, so they avoided Rob's side of the court. All the other team saw was that Rob's side of the court was wide open. Every chance they got, a hapless player would dribble into the invisible fog bank, only to come out gagging and staring at Rob.

Rob moved a few more feet down the court. This time he stationed himself about 8 feet away from a cluster of parents. Pretty soon you could see them turn around and absolutely glare at the people beside them, in back of them, and in front of them.

Finally one old lady looked at her husband and shrieked, "Can't you control that in public?" That was too much, I lost it.

Rob called a referee's time out and went to the opposite side of the court to talk to the other ref. The whole time he was walking he was staring at the sole remaining scorer. He hadn't talked to the other ref for over 10 seconds, when you could see it hit the other ref. It about rocked him to his knees.

The other ref finally said, "Jesus, Rob! What are you doing? Have you lost it?" Then he walked away.

Remember Rob popped not one, but 2 stink bombs, so it lingered and lingered. I don't remember much about that game, but I will never forget the looks and the faces. Teams, and refs, and fans alike, still talk about that game and Rob. I will probably talk about it for years to come.

Remember, more chapters will be posted soon!



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