Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Defending the Ball Screen

How do you guard ball screens? Do you have a set way to guard all ball screens regardless of personnel and location? Do you change how you play ball screens dependent upon where the screen is set? Do you scout opponents and play ball screens differently for different players?

Whatever your defensive philosophy, here are some thoughts to playing ball screens.

1. Hedge high and go under - Usually utilized for great penetrators that don't shoot the ball extremely well. Pluses - Keeps the ball out of the key. Minuses - Can give up open look jumpers.

2. Hedge high and go over the top - This is probably the scariest way to play a ball screen. It almost forces the rest of your defense to switch. Pluses - I honestly can't think of any. Minuses - Puts tremendous amount of pressure on your helpside defenders, gives up slip to the basket, easier to split the defenders.

3. Drop off the screener and go over the top - Usually for a great shooter coming off. Pluses - Shouldn't give up open jumper, help is built in if the on ball defender gets caught on the screen. Minuses - Easy reversal pass, gives up jumper to the screener on a pop.

4. Drop off the screener and go under - Usually for a total penetrator. Pluses - Can beat penetrators to the spot, help built in with the screeners defender. Minuses - If the screeners defender doesn't drop far enough it could become a double ball screen, gives up open look for the screener on a pop.

5. Jam the screener and go under - Usually used for good penetrators and teams that like to slip or pop screeners. Pluses - Forces screen to be set higher up the floor than they want, prevents slips, easy to recover to pop. Minuses - Potential for a double ball screen, very little help.

6. Trap - Usually used for excellent all around players. Pluses - Very aggressive and maintains pressure, forces quick decisions for the ball handler. Minuses - Risky if the defenders are split, MUST have great rotations by the other 3 players.

7. Jump high on the ball handler and low on the screener - Usually used on the outer third of the floor for penetration middle. This is where the ball defender jumps all the way on the high leg forcing the dribbler baseline and the screeners defender drop below the ball handler. Pluses - Plays to most man-to-man principles of forcing baseline/sideline, unorthodox and can cause confusion. Minuses - Gives up pop to the screener, can create mismatches is big on little screen.

Mental Discipline by Coach Meyer

As the season hits the "home stretch", mental discipline becomes the separator of the good teams and the great teams. I am very proud of my post players in regards to this as they have really taken to the idea that it takes something special between the ears to accomplish great things. We have discussed this frequently and they have truly responded in a major way. Many of the 12 points Coach Meyer mentions in the following, our posts have bought in to.

It's How You Play the Game: Mental Discipline
1. Communicate with teammates vs. talk with opponent (or officials, opposing school crowd, opposing coaches, etc... They all have the same mental effect.)

2. Taking a charge vs. backing away from a charge.

3. Calling out and communicating assignments on the freethrow lane vs. violations at the freethrow line.

4. Take charge or block shot to a teammate vs. wild leaping or goal tending.

5. Smart foul vs. dumb foul

6. Intense position pressure defense vs. wild lunging defense.

7. Poised offense vs. anxious offense.

8. Use the glass or grab the ball vs. don't use the glass or tip.

9. Inside game vs. outside game perimeter lapse.

10. Make lay-ups vs. miss lay-up and they score.

11. Positive one; look for ways to win vs. negative one.

12. Great effort each possession vs. great play syndrome.

Don't let weak people bring out the weakness in you.
Intensity and technique lead to hustle plays.
Play against the game.

Team attitude: Philippians 2:1-5

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Success Lessons from Papa John

There is something about this guy that amazes me. He seems so down to earth, and yet he seems dead set on world domination at the same time. I would love to have someone say the exact same thing about me. Here's some advice John Schnatter recently doled out to Brenna Fisher in a recent article:

The Do's and Dont's:

- Love what you do. Schnatter says, "If you have a passion and you're proud of it, you'll do a good job." I think we're all passionate about the game. That shouldn't be an issue for most coaches.

- Be the best in your class and offer the best product. "We want to be the best pizza delivery company in the world and we think we can be," he says. We as coaches are pretty limited in the area of physical product. Our product is ourselves and our teams; our character and teaching.

- Teach people leadership. "It is very fulfilling to watch people grow," Schnatter says. I think this is why I like this guy so much. He invests in his people. We as coaches need to take this same approach. Sure we want to win, but think past wins and losses. Invest in your players and they will in turn invest in the program. A great resource for this Is Jeff Janssen!

- Give up hope too early. I recently read on twitter, Kevin Eastman touched on this. He said, "Coach your team every day -- even if losing games -- don't let the result keep you from your job!! Hard to do some days -- but necessary!!" (I consider myself EXTREMELY lucky to have spent 5 years working for Coach Eastman; such a great basketball mind)

- Be afraid to confront the facts (especially the ugly ones) and tackle challenges. The efficiency rating I posted earlier is a great objective tool to assess the facts. Another great nugget from Coach Eastman on this, "Continue to evaluate what you are doing for your team every day; are you getting the most out of your ability? Are you doing your job completely?"

- Be arrogant. Schnatter states, "When companies start to fall apart, it's because they think they're smarter, they're not open and they don't watch trends." There is a lot to be said about character. Being arrogant will eventually catch up to you.

Goal Achievement - Making Your Case

This is something that I share with my post players. It can be translated from on the court to the classroom and obviously to the business world. I remind our guys frequently that if it really is important to them, they'll find a way. I like the way this is explained in that they have to answer the question of why it is important to them. The answer has got to be more specific than just "because".

From Success magazine's February 2010 issue:

Make your case to achieve your goal.

If someone you love calls you with an emergency, you rush to help, right? It's because your "why," or reason your reason for doing it, is clear and important. You don't have to give it much thought. Your actions are almost automatic.

When your reasons for doing something are big enough, you will have the motivation to make sure it happens. If you want to run your first marathon, publish a book, break your sales goal, spend more time with your family or take your business to the next level, you first have to answer the question: Why? Your answer builds your case for staying disciplined.

1. Write out your why. Ask yourself, "Why do I want X?" and write down your answer.

2. Be specific and clear. Example: "I want to be able to bench-press 200 pounds, because then I will be in better shape." Or, "I want to work harder on my business to land that big account." Include how your life will improve if you hit your goal.

3. When you find yourself slipping on your goal, remember or reread your why. Or use it as your personal mantra.

Once you make your case strong enough, you will win your personal trials.