Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Three Point Shooting License

I know it is a little late in the season for this, but this is something that you can maybe tuck away in your bag of tricks for next season. The idea behind this is players have to earn their right to be able to shoot beyond the arc. Similar to driving, players have to pass a "test", or in this case a series of tests, to obtain a license.

It is a series of 50 shots. Players have to "pass" with a minimum score of 35 out of 50 on five separate occasions. They do not have to be 5 consecutive (in a row). Players can only shoot for their license once in a given day. The series is as follows:

1. SET SHOTS - Five spots on the floor: deep corners, freethrow line extended wings, and top of the key. The shooter rotates shooting around the horn, shoot twice in the opposite corner and come back around the horn returning to the original corner. The passer (coach or manager) stays one spot ahead of the shooter. 10 shots. Record the makes.

2. BREAKOUT CATCH AND SHOOT - Using the same five spots, the shooter starts underneath the basket. The shooter sprints to the corner, catches, squares, and shoots. The shooter then sprints back under the basket, sprints to the wing, catches, squares, and shoots. The shooter goes around the horn, shooting twice in the opposite corner, and comes back around returning to the original corner. The passer stays one spot ahead of the shooter. 10 shots. Record the makes and add to the set shots total.

3. WING FAST BREAK CATCH AND SHOOT - Starting at halfcourt on one side of the floor, the shooter sprints to the hashmark (28 foot line), breaks to the arc at a 45 degree angle for the shot. The passer stays in the middle of the floor. 5 times on each side. 10 shots. Record and add to the total.

4. WING FAST BREAK ONE DRIBBLE PULL UPS - Same as above except that the passer must deliver the pass early (get it to the shooter at the hashmark). The shooter catches, one hard dribble, and shoots. 5 times on each side. 10 shots. Record and add to the total.

5. TOP OF THE KEY FAST BREAK CATCH AND SHOOT - The shooter starts in the middle of the jump circle. The passer is on the wing. The shooter sprints opposite the passer, setting up his cut, plants and sprints to the top of the key for a shot. 5 times on each side. 10 shots. Record and add to the total.

The license system brings the cream to the top. It helps the other players on the team recognize who shooters are. When I have used this in the past, it helped to define roles within a team setting. When running zone offenses, for example, I could quickly point out who we wanted to find within our scheme.

In my first season at Eastern Washington we had a player shoot for his license every day of the season. He "passed" the test 4 times going into the last week of the regular season. He was not allowed to shoot a 3-pointer throughout the season. He finally "passed" the test for the fifth time on the Tuesday before our last regular season weekend. I don't recall if he shot a 3 in our last two games that year, but I do remember the sense of accomplishment that this young man felt and the additional confidence it provided him.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I wish you, your families, and your teams all a very blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Player Efficiency Ratings

Our returners have lately come to feel like they are entitled to start and/or play major roles without truly working for and earning those roles. I was trying to think of a relatively simple yet effective way of delivering a message to the returners that they needed to produce to earn their minutes. We've tried talking, watching film, running, and a number of things, but nothing worked. The message either was not being received, or they were simply just lazy. I heard a coach once say to a player, "You're either ignorant or defiant. Neither is any good."

I wanted to quantify things. Make it very black and white for them with no gray area. I remember we had a grading system at Eastern Washington that awarded points (both positive and negative) for certain stats that were weighted for what we felt was important. We would add up the points and instead of posting a box score in the locker room, we'd post a single number for each player. The problem with that: A) we'd have to watch the film afterward, B) players didn't get their score until the next day, C) some of the stats were arbitrary and subjective, and D) I can't find that particular grading system. (I'll post it once I dig it up)

So I started calling around to friends and colleagues. What I found was an efficiency grading system that has been used by Oregon Institute of Technology Head Coach, Danny Miles. Coach Miles has a number of accolades next to his name and is a brilliant basketball mind. His efficiency rating is easy to do and can provide instant feedback, even at halftime. This efficiency rating follows:

(Points + Rebounds + [2 x Assists] + [2 x Steals] + [2 x Blocks] + [3 x Charges Drawn])
Divided by
([2 x FG missed] + FT missed + [2 x Turnovers] + [2 x Fouls])

The rating scale is:
Excellent = 1.75 and above
Very Good = 1.5 - 1.74
Good = 1.25 - 1.49
Fair = 1.0 - 1.24
Poor = Less than 1

You can also use this without the charges drawn. That rating scale is:
Excellent = 1.6 and above
Very Good = 1.35 - 1.79
Good = 1.1 - 1.34
Fair = 0.85 - 1.09
Poor = Less than 0.84

The thing I really like about this system, is that it is very objective and takes minutes played out of the equation. It emphasizes to players that they have to be productive, no matter how many minutes they play. I tweeted last night, "Basketball isn't like AT&T. There is no such thing as roll over minutes. Use 'em or lose 'em."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Basketball Court Diagrams

I know that I am always looking for court diagrams to scratch on. You are probably the same way. I figured I would save you the trouble of having to constantly look for them. You can print these off and use freely! Enjoy!

Practice Plan Court Diagrams

Full Court Diagram

Scouting Report Court Diagrams

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Truly Inspiring!!!

I remember reading this article by Rick Reilly back in October of 2003. It is still one of my very favorite stories of all time. Ben Comen is my favorite athlete; ever. The competitive spirit Ben has is unparalleled by anyone. I ran copies of this story and put one in every one of our players' lockers. I told my players that they should be thankful for their gifts and use them to the best of their abilities. If they would commit and play even half as hard as Ben competes, their would be no one to stop them!

Here is The Life of Reilly from Sports Illustrated, October 20, 2003:

Worth the Wait

Why do they come? Why do they hang around to watch the slowest high school cross-country runner in America? Why do they want to see a kid finish the 3.1 miles in 51 minutes when the winner did it in 16?

Why do they cry? Why do they nearly break their wrists applauding a junior who falls flat on his face almost every race? Why do they hug a teenager who could be beaten by any other kid running backward?

Why do they do it? Why do all of his teammates go back out on the course and run the last 10 minutes of every race with him? Why do other teams do it too? And the girls' teams? Why run all the way back out there to pace a kid running like a tortoise with bunions?


Because Ben Comen never quits.

See, Ben has a heart just slightly larger than the Chicago Hyatt. He also has cerebral palsy. The disease doesn't mess with his intellect -- he gets A's and B's -- but it seizes his muscles and contorts his body and gives him the balance of a Times Square drunk. Yet there he is, competing for the Hanna High cross-country team in Anderson, S.C., dragging that wracked body over rocks and fallen branches and ditches. And people ask, Why?

"Because I feel like I've been put here to set an example," says Ben, 16. "Anybody can find something they can do -- and do it well. I like to show people that you can either stop trying or you can pick yourself up and keep going. It's just more fun to keep going."

It must be, because faced with what Ben faces, most of us would quit.

Imagine what it feels like for Ben to watch his perfectly healthy twin, Alex, or his younger brother, Chris, run like rabbits for Hanna High, while Ben runs like a man whacking through an Amazon thicket. Imagine never beating anybody to the finish line. Imagine dragging along that stubborn left side, pulling that unbending tire iron of a leg around to the front and pogo-sticking off it to get back to his right.

Worse, he lifts his feet so little that he trips on anything -- a Twinkie-sized rock, a licorice-thick branch, the cracks between linoleum tiles. But he won't let anybody help him up. "It messes up my flow," he says. He's not embarrassed, just mad.

Worst, he falls hard. His brain can't send signals fast enough for his arms to cushion his fall, so he often smacks his head or his face or his shoulder. Sometimes his mom, Joan, can't watch.

"I've been coaching cross-country for 31 years," says Hanna's Chuck Parker, "and I've never met anyone with the drive that Ben has. I don't think there's an inch of that kid I haven't had to bandage up." But never before Ben finishes the race. Like Rocky Marciano, Ben finishes bloody and bruised, but never beaten. Oh, he always loses -- Ben barely finishes ahead of the sunset, forget other runners. But he hasn't quit once. Through rain, wind or welt, he always crosses the finish line.

Lord, it's some sight when he gets there: Ben clunking his way home, shepherded by all those kids, while the cheerleaders screech and parents try to holler encouragement, only to find nothing coming out of their voice boxes.

The other day Ben was coming in with his huge army, Ben's Friends, his face stoplight red and tortured, that laborious gait eating up the earth inch by inch, when he fell not 10 yards from the line. There was a gasp from the parents and a second of silence from the kids. But then Ben went through the 15-second process of getting his bloody knees under him, his balance back and his forward motion going again -- and he finished. From the roar you'd have thought he just won Boston.

"Words can't describe that moment," says his mom. "I saw grown men just stand there and cry." Ben can get to you that way. This is a kid who builds wheelchair ramps for Easter Seals, spends nights helping at an assisted-living home, mans a drill for Habitat for Humanity, devotes hours to holding the hand of a disabled neighbor, Miss Jessie, and plans to run a marathon and become a doctor. Boy, the youth of today, huh?

Oh, one aside: Hanna High is also the home of a mentally challenged man known as Radio, who has been the football team's assistant for more than 30 years. Radio gained national attention in a 1996 Sports Illustrated story by Gary Smith and is the hero of a major movie that opens nationwide on Oct. 24.

Feel like you could use a little dose of humanity? Get yourself to Hanna. And while you're there, go out and join Ben's Friends. You'll be amazed what a little jog can do for your heart.