Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Friends in basketball, I once again apologize for not posting last week. We were on the road, my laptop battery was dead, and I left my charger at home. Doesn't mean I couldn't post another day of the week, but I like to reserve Wednesdays for right now as a posting day. The day before the first game of the week is a great time to reflect on what I feel is important in my own philosophy and to share with you.

That stated, I don't remember where I was reading about the use of terminology in the past week, but this past weekend it really hit home. One of our young, less experienced assistant coaches had the responsibility of scouting and doing walk-through on one of our opponents. During the course of the walk-through, he used terminology that was inconsistent with terminology used in our program as well as just flat out incorrect terminology. I could sense that this young coach was losing the team; slowly but surely. The team was trying hard to listen, but I could see that this coach was losing credibility with every misspoken word. Without any fanfare or drama, I quickly alerted this young coach to his mistake.

So my best suggestion is to meet as a staff, especially early in the season, and determine what terminology the staff will be using. Come up with a glossary of terms that will be frequently used in teaching your own team. Case in point: some coaches prefer the term "pick-the-picker"while others prefer "screen-the-screener". Both have the same meaning, but can lead to confusion when one member of the staff uses the former and another member of the staff uses the latter.

It is also important to define other terminology. One of the big mistakes this young coach made last week with our team was that he was calling a stagger screen on the baseline, a "double ball screen." The players KNEW it wasn't even a ball screen, but the coach continued to use the term. Because of this coach's inexperience, he was nervous and just picked a random term. When I notified him, he was embarrassed, but realized his mistake and remembered our terminology.

Some things to think about when putting your glossary together:

Keep it consistent. Once you choose your terminology, stick with it. Don't deviate. You don't want to confuse your players.

Keep it simple. Don't over complicate it. Stick to simple words; the fewer syllables, the better.

Define areas of the court. As with the "screen" or "pick" situation above, determine what you and your staff will call parts of the floor. Is it the "key", the "lane", or the "paint"? Is it the "hash mark" or the "28-foot line"?

Share your glossary with your players. Make sure that they know what it is you are trying to communicate.

These are only a few ideas. I challenge you to think about the terminology you wish to use with your players and staff.

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