This article was written by Arkansas Women’s Coach Mike Neighbors when he was an assistant at Xavier.
This post is only a portion of his entire article.Click here to see Part 2
Coach Neighbors has a weekly newsletter that is outstanding. If you would like to subscribe, email me and I will forward your interest on to him.
Well Coached teams are motivated: These teams play with an energy and a visible passion that proves they are engaged in the process that their team and coaches have established. These teams display fight and toughness and you usually cannot tell the score of the game by simply watching the actions and reactions of their players and coaches.
Well Coached teams have good shot selection: These teams have the most shot attempts by their best scorers. Those best players know when to take a shot and what shots should be taken based on time and score. Rarely do you see well coached teams without their best scorers having the ball when it counts.
Well Coached teams have little or no game slippage from practice: These teams are able to execute and they are able to play at a high intensity level. They seem to make things look easy in their execution. Their timing and spacing are usually impeccable and their movements appear rehearsed because they are in practice every single day at game speed. Few missed lay-ups, few mishandled passes, limited turnovers when dribbling all a result of having practiced at game speed.
Well Coached teams players hold the ball when their coach speaks: In viewing a practice when a coach speaks the gym is silent and all eyes are on the speaker. (I personally played for a coach that would glare down a dribbled ball across the gym even if that person were not part of our squad). It’s not the actual act of the players holding the balls as much as it is that coach commanding that respect.
Well Coached teams have genuine enthusiasm because the are invested and bought in: We can all tell the difference between genuine and manufactured enthusiasm. Have the person that films your games dedicate an extra camera to your bench one game to see if you really have your team INVESTED…Be prepared for what you might see on the video…
Well Coached teams don’t have to be coached on effort: Very rarely do you see the coach of a well
coached team spending valuable game (or practice) time convincing their players to play hard, to give effort, to give extra effort. They just do it. Obviously those desires have been instilled at some point and time in the past but there is not one second wasted during a timeout for a well coached team with a coach using time to talk about effort, energy, or enthusiasm.
Well Coached teams players display proper techniques in fundamental areas of the game: Inside pivot foot on the catch, triple threat position, butt down on defense, chin on shoulder in post defense, take a charge, dribble with their eyes up, pivot from pressure rather than dribble,
make two handed passes, post with a purpose, cut hard off of screens, hold their box out on the FT line, dribble with left hand up left side, use shot fakes, make back door cuts, etc. They LOOK like players.
Well Coached teams have great spacing and timing on offense: Regardless of what style of offense a well coached team incorporates they utilize tremendous floor spacing among their players and execute with precision timing. Shot selection is also a component of this attribute.
Well Coached teams don’t leave trash in visiting locker rooms, benches, or on the bus: One of the most well coached teams I ever saw was at a team camp in Neosho, MO. After each game, their players (without instruction by the way) walked the length of their bench AND their opponent’s bench picking up every piece of trash they could find. That stuck with me and two good things came from it in the near future. On that trip home from camp when I got the bus back to the bus shop, I picked up every single piece of trash and put it into a box. At our next team workout, I emptied the box onto the floor of their clean locker room and told them where it came from.
I then told them I was going to walk out of the room for 30 seconds and every piece of trash that was still on the floor when I got back would equal one set of dribble pull backs before practice started. (Dribble pull backs were our form of punishment rather than straight running. Start on end line. They get two dribbles forward then one dribble backward until they complete a down and back. Great conditioner/reminder/ball handling all at once) Needless to say they about killed each other picking up the trash in 30 seconds. The 2nd thing is something we still do at our Summer Camps to this very day. During the first break I walk around and drop a piece of trash on the floor near the concession area. I watch until some camper picks it up and throws it away. Before the next session begins, that camper is called up and receives a $10 gift certificate to the concession stand. The rest of the week campers are fighting with each other to pick up trash around our counselors!!
Well Coached teams execute set actions coming out of timeouts/quarter changes/halftimes: We all have faced those teams who were lethal coming out of situations in which their coach had time to diagram an action that their players could then come out and execute for a timely basket. This might also be changing a defense to off-set a play that you have expertly drawn up to use. Regardless of the situation, these teams always seem to be able to take what they had practiced and/or talked about onto the floor at a crucial time.
Well Coached teams don’t lose their poise/composure others might become distracted: Time/score, home/away, loud gym/silent gym, good refs/bad refs, slick basketball/flat basketball, slick floor/sticky floor, fan shaped backboards/wooden backboards, chain nets/colored nets… didn’t matter…well coached teams PLAY
Well Coached teams don’t react to calls that go against them or their teams: Even in the most crucial of times, well coached players and teams hand the ball to the official and play the next play. There is no
wasted time/energy on something that can’t be changed anyway. Not to say they play without emotion. It just isn’t wasted on a official and a call that didn’t go their way.
Well Coached teams utilize drills in practice that emphasize many facets of the game: When you observe a practice of a well coached team their standards of play become obvious through their drills. Drills are either game situation, game speed, or game technique… Sometimes the drill is all three, sometimes just two, but never less than one. There is ZERO wasted time in a well coached team practice or game preparation.
Nothing to “fill in” there to reach a desired length. My all time favorite was watching a boys team at a school I coached do ten minutes of 2-line lay-ups before workouts every single day of the season. I then kept count of how many lay-ups their defense created and their offense created on the year… FIVE… So, for over 1000 minutes of practice time, they got FIVE lay-ups… They didn’t press, they didn’t deny passes in half-court… Does that seem like time well invested? Did I mention they actually missed one of the FIVE?
Well Coached teams move on the air time of passes on defense: It seems like well coached defensive teams have an extra player on the court. They are moving as a unit in constant harmony with effective communication. When the basketball is in the air, all players are on the move and talking about it!!
Well Coached teams use different things in practice to condition than they do to punish/remind: As a result the players understand the importance of being in condition and being reminded. Running does NOT motivate or remind every player. Well coached teams have a coach who takes the time to recognize these areas and remind/punish accordingly.
Well Coached teams have a sharp, crisp pre-game warm-up: The time leading up to tip off is an extension of these teams practices and preparation. They are moving… there is energy… there is enthusiasm… I spoke with several WELL COACHED teams coaches who mentioned they believed a sharp warm up was worth 3-5 points come game time. Another coach said it was a team goal to have the opponents glance down to their end more than once and “wish their warm-ups” were like theirs… I have seen intricate passing drills (many of which we have shared in our Newsletters). I have seen coaches physically out their putting them through a series of defensive slides… I have seen teams diving on the floor in unison to simulate going for loose balls.
Well Coached teams can run 5-on-0 offense with players going game speed: I was actually written up at one high school for calling this portion of our practice DUMMY OFFENSE, so to this day I try to call it something else… dry offense, 5 on 0, ghost defense, etc… Regardless of what you call it, most every team has this time dedicated to their practices to go over their SET actions or even their MOTION read/reacts…
Well coached teams can do it at GAME SPEED
This post is only a portion of his entire article.Click here to see Part 2
“Make two handed passes”….while I agree with the foundation of the article and found it worth developing a checklist for what a well coaches team looks like, somehow a two hand pass makes the list? Two hand passes are easier to guard and your best players should be able to pass out of either hand just like using either foot as a pivot.
Brandon Kinnard says
I would like to receive Coach Neighbors news letters. This was a great read.