The San Antonio Spurs, Ball Movement, and Triple Threat

Our expectations and desires are incongruent with the way in which we teach the game of basketball. Judging by television, twitter, and conversations with coaches, we want everyone to play like this: Continue reading

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Academia and Athletics

Earlier this month, I had two on-campus interviews for jobs in the academic world. Last year, I had an interview to be the head strength and conditioning coach at a Division I university. The hiring processes were dramatically different.  Continue reading

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The mid-range jump shot will be saved by analytics

In 2001, I coached an u9 boys’ basketball team. When we thought about our system, and the shots that we wanted to take, we essentially eliminated mid-range shots. At nine-years-old, any outside shot was an inefficient shot. We set up a system designed to attack the basket (Blitz Basketball). However, if we were going to shoot outside shots, we wanted the shooter to catch with his feet set and to be behind the three-point line.  Continue reading

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Principle of specificity versus random and variable practice

Originally published in Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletter 6.3. To subscribe, enter your email address to the right.

As we performed our usual shooting drill at the beginning of practice, I yelled at one player to curl into his shot, as the drill is designed. The player likes to do his own thing, and he was flaring to the three-point line rather than curling towards the elbow. After I yelled at him, I thought about it for a minute. I am not enamored with the drill, but we have 14 players and two baskets, and it allows everyone to get shots without standing in line. However, we shoot a lot of mid-range jump shots, even though I emphasize shooting 3s or getting to the rim in our offense. Should our practice shots reflect our game shots? Continue reading

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Advice for an aspiring college coach

Earlier this season, the Director of Basketball Operations at a well-known Division 1 university emailed and asked about coaching in Europe. As I wrote last summer, I am asked frequently about landing a job in Europe. Many young coaches, it seems, have the same thought that I had when I was a young coach: coaching in Europe would be a great experience and would move my coaching career forward. In my experience, it has been a great learning experience, but it has not always been a great experience, nor has it furthered my coaching career.

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NCAA Rule Changes: Adopt FIBA’s Rules

According to Pat Forde, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee is examining ways to improve the game, specifically to increase scoring and speed up the game. There is no need to reinvent the wheel: adopt FIBA rules. Continue reading

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The problems of a young head coach

Tyler Summit, the son of legendary coach Pat Summit, is now the 23-year-old head coach of Louisiana Tech University, and everyone seems to have an opinion. I don’t. I have never met the guy. However, I have been a young head coach.  Continue reading

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Shot selection – NCAA vs. Europe

During one of the championship games on Sunday, I sent the following tweet and received one reply:

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Gurus, Trainers, and Coaches

The headline on CNNSI read, “Malzahn forbids QB guru work.” I clicked on the short article, and Auburn University football coach Gus Malzahn was prohibiting his second-year quarterback Nick Marshall from working in the off-season with QB guru George Whitfield. Because Marshall retains college eligibility, these situations obviously involve questions about payment for the guru, as well as whether or not the guru is as good as advertised. I have no answers for those questions.  Continue reading

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The Freddy Adu Problem – Can We Generalize Talent ID and Development?

Professional sports depend upon two related, but distinct processes: talent identification and talent development. When we talk about one’s potential, we are identifying talent, or the potential talent. However, these athletes do not always meet expectations. This can be attributed to poor talent identification, poor talent development (from the organization’s perspective), or other factors (psychological, social, etc), as the talent development process is complex.  Continue reading

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