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Basketball Strategies – December 2010


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HoopTactics Newsletter

Sound Advice for Solving Offensive Problems
The Vital Sixth Person Role
Developing a Defensive Stopper
Use of Pre-Season Games to Build Depth

Coaching Tip: Coach players not the system.

It’s not what you run, but how you run it that counts. Basketball is not a game of offenses and defenses, but a game of effort and execution. If you are experiencing problems during games, go back and work on basic fundamentals and execution. Do not change or add new plays.

Player Development: Importance of sixth person Role.

The importance of the sixth person(s) role in basketball cannot be over emphasized. It is one thing all excellent teams have in common. Establishing and utilizing the sixth person role in many ways is a much more important coach’s decision than determining the starters. To be successful, the sixth person(s) must possess better skills and leadership than some of the starters. In addition, the sixth person usually can play multiple positions. Without exception, when they enter the game, their role is to energize and make the team stronger.

Determining and getting a player to accept the sixth person role can be a challenge since player’s and parent’s egos can be involved. However, by communicating the vital importance of this unselfish team role, they should be more than likely to understand and accept the role as a real honor rather than a demotion.

Coaching Strategies: Developing a Defensive Stopper.

A vital but often overlook position on a team is a defensive “Stopper.” Having an outstanding defensive player is essential to any championship hopes. Like shooters, stoppers aren’t born and just don’t happen. They must be development and nourished. Successful defensive Stoppers are a result of having solid on and off ball defensive fundamentals along with a strong attitude and relentless determination. They are highly challenged and motivated when it comes to stopping and frustrating the opponent’s leading scorer. They thrive on the responsibility and opportunity of denying a good shooter a last second shot opportunity.

However, this attitude and self‐confidence must be created, fostered and supported by the coaching staff throughout the season. Since a Defensive Stopper’s role is primarily that of a defensive specialist, any offensive output is a bonus. Their job is to stop not score.

Coaching Strategies: Use Pre-season Games to Build Depth.

During Pre-season practice games, it is wise to rest your top players as much as possible. This will save their “Legs” for the critical end of the season and play-offs as well as reducing the risk of injury resulting from playing when physically tired. However, just as important, by giving reserves valuable playing time and experience, it will develop a team’s depth. In the event that a top-lined player is lost during a game or for the season, a player with quality game experience will be able to step-in and take their spot.

On the colligate level, where RPI ratings are important for post season play and ratings, resting top players is very difficult. However, the basketball seaon is like a marathon, and you need players with “Fresh Legs” at the end. Forget the stats and rest your top players whenever possible. Go for the “Gold.” Many of Championship hopes are lost because of tired legs.
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