Don Meyer Basketball Coaching Notes

Coaching notes from Don Meyer:

How to Evaluate a Game: Tools that we use to determine how well or poorly our team actually played. Many times the scoreboard is a poor judge of your team’s performance.

1. Turnover Margin: Looks to see if your team has “sureness” with the ball on offense and whether your team can create turnovers on defense. As the coach, you might have a goal of having a +5 margin, for instance, or you might set a mandatory goal of, for example, always having less than 10 turnovers and having a goal of forcing at least 15 turnovers.

2. Rebound Margin: Using a rebounding margin is a good barometer of how well you competed on the glass, and is probably better than measuring your rebounding effort with absolute numbers. For example, having a goal of out-rebounding your opponent by +10 is probably more realistic than saying that your goal is to get 50 total rebounds every game. Each game will have a varying number of rebounding opportunities due to the pace of the game, referees, etc.

3. Field Goal Attempts: If everything is equal, the team that gets the most and the best shots will win. Newell’s Rule = “Get better shots than your opponent and get more of those better shots.”

4. Field Goal %: Two rules that your program could live by are; your best shooter should have the most shots (shooting isn’t equal opportunity) and your worst shooter should have your best FG% (only takes lay-ups, wide open shots).

NSU Shot Grading System:

4 = Wide open lay-up
3 = Wide open shot by good shooter
2 = Contested shot by good shooter
1 = Terrible shot
0 = Turnover

5. Free Throw Attempts: The golden rule is to make more free throws than your opponent attempts.

6. Free Throw %: It’s one thing to get to the free throw line; it’s another thing to make your free throws. Great teams make their free throws.

7. No opponents player scores more than 15 points: We like to use 15 points as a barometer to see if any one player really hurt our team. Most teams may have one or two stellar scorers that require special attention on defense and if our team can’t slow those players down, it will be a long night. Holding great scorers under 15 points is a great measure of how well your team is playing team defense, because it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to stop a great scorer with one defender; help-side, rotations, and an overall effort by all five players on the floor is required.

8. 3-Point Game: Refers to both on offense and on defense. On offense, it’s simple enough – your team must make open 3’s. The players that are great 3-point shooters need to be the ones taking those shots. On defense, we always stress the concepts of “No 3’s to a 3” and the concept of a “Dead 3” ? A player that has at least 50% of his / her attempts from the three-point line. A Dead 3 gets no standing looks; he / she must dribble to a shot. Thus, how well did your team defend the 3-pointer? Also, how well did your team get your 3-point shooters open?

9.Floor Game: The floor game encompasses a wide range of possibilities, including getting loose balls, taking charges, saving the ball from a turnover (saver-savee idea), etc. Your team could have a goal of taking a minimum of 2 charges, or getting 90% of all loose balls, etc.

10. Assist Game: The assist game can mean many things. As a coach, you can look at your team’s assist: turnover ratio, possibly with a goal of 2 assists to 1 turnover (2:1). In addition, you can look at the assist to made basket %. Another, less subjective way of tracking assists would be to track how many “screen assists” your team has in a game; the number of times that a team member’s screen (possibly a back or flare screen) led to a wide open shot or lay-up.

4 Types of Players:

1. Unconscious & Incompetent: These types of players “don’t know that they don’t know.” They aren’t even aware that they don’t have a feel for the game. These players aren’t going to contribute on a winning team.

2. Conscious & Incompetent: These players now realize that “they know they don’t have it.” These players still don’t have a feel for the game and are lacking in the skill department but they realize where their weaknesses are and can now begin to improve ? Awareness is the beginning of correction.

3. Conscious & Competent: At this level of development, the player is able to perform various skills (competent), but he / she must think about everything that he is doing before performing the skill; i.e. catch the ball, go into triple threat, direct drive, etc. ? You know, but you don’t flow. Very robotic.

4.Unconscious & Competent: The most difficult level to reach, this player can perform the skills without having to think about them. For this type of player, the game naturally “flows.”

“The Anal Coach”

The final topic that we shall discuss is the idea of the anal coach. There is always a discussion as to how much control the head coach should exert over his players. Should he (or she) dominate the players, attempting to control every aspect of their games, not to mention their lives? Or, should the coach be a “player’s coach” and cater more to the needs of the player? While there is no clear-cut answer, and while it can be argued that both ways work in certain situations, we would like to talk about the concept of the anal coach and what that coach will do to a team.

We argue that the anal coach will always have good teams, but never great teams because that coach can’t let the player’s play. An anal coach will make bad teams better because of the control, discipline and organization implemented into the program, but at the same time, an anal coach will also make good teams worse, because he will confine the players to a certain degree; he won’t be able to let them make plays because he has to control everything on the floor.

Key quotes:
•A weaker coach has to exert more control
• A stronger coach does not have to exert much force
• The strong can be kind, the weak must be cruel – Sun Tzu.

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