Basketball Lessons from a Year of Sharing the Game

Coaching U is the most comprehensive coaching program, featuring world class speakers and championship coaches from around the world. I was honored to be able to speak at Coaching U, and I wanted to share my presentation notes and basketball lessons. As you can imagine, I don’t follow this exactly when I present but I wanted to write it up for you to stimulate your coaching, and to help you better understand some of the concepts I share.

Coaching U Live Presentation Notes and Basketball Lessons

Thank you. I am grateful for my relationship with Coaching U as a part of their Coaching U on Campus program. It is a perfect complement to what I have done with Basketball Immersion as I have striven to share the game and challenge tradition and norms in basketball coaching.

The biggest takeaway I can share with you from working with so many coaches from the NBA, NCAA, high school and youth levels is that a practice is not a coaching clinic. Coaching should be filled with short bursts of very specific and actionable information. While coaching clinics are more detailed and can be made up of longer soliloquies and monologues. It’s not what you are saying as much as how you are saying it that best impacts your coaching interventions.

The second realization from working with coaches on campus and online is that too often we as coaches predetermine what our players need to learn. I am not saying don’t prepare but be open and flexible to the reality that what we think players need to learn isn’t always what they need to learn. Put your players in game situations early and often so you can evaluate and apply interventions that can most specifically impact their development and game applications.

A coach I work with texted me this year before they played Syracuse and wanted a zone inbound and a zone play that worked. Since I post roughly 1000 videos to social media in a year and have done it for the last few years I could accommodate….

Demonstration: Zone BOB to pop the weak side post to the corner (Macau Bears)

Demonstration: Blind action to flash a weak side cutter into the high post (Bayern Munich)

I run a MasterClass for Basketball Immersion members every Tuesday night all year where we deep dive into a topic and tomorrow night I am sharing on our version of BLIND we have run for years zone offense so hopefully those were useful to you and good practice for me.

Demonstration: One Hand Form Shots, One Foot Shots, Bunny Hops – Blocked vs. Random

Mixing or interleaving is key to learning. If you want to think of it academically you should study 10 minutes of Subject A. followed by 10 minutes of Subject B, followed by 10 minutes of subject C, and then go back to Subject A. This will heighten mental effort and improve retention.

This is the difference between memorization vs. Learning. When skills are practiced in a variable order, mental effort is heightened, and learning is often enhanced. I am going to apply this concept to this presentation, so I want you to understand that my jumping around is intentional.

The main goal of all this is retention and transfer. As a coach however, you can’t expect as much transfer if practice is done in an organized perfect environment and players play in chaotic messy environment.
So, one of the things I do is help coaches with drill makeovers so let me take you through that.

Demonstration: Shoulder Game  – It is random and variable. But if we are still doing shoulder game at the end of the year the same way we did it at the beginning of the year than we haven’t progressed learning and transfer as much as we could if we apply loads or challenge or desirable difficulties.

Examples of Loads:

  • Shoulder Game + 1 on the Wing
  • Shoulder Game + 1 at the Rim
  • Shoulder Game with Hip Turn into 1-on-1
  • Shoulder Game with Hip Turn into 1-on-1 + 1 (On the Wing/At the Rim)
  • 3 Pass 1-on-1 (Constraints – Distance/No Shot/Can’t Take 2 Dribbles in a Direction not towards the Rim/Change Direction/Change Location)

A question I get asked often…

  • How do you start 5-on-5? 1-on-1 to 5-on-5 (Hip Turn or 3 Pass Start).
  • Add Constraints (Defense must help outside the lane or can score layup, must be “one more”).

Trends in Basketball

  • These ideas have come from my extensive video learning, discussions with coaches from around the world and of course my discussions with so many willing sharers on the Basketball Podcast.

Defensive Ball Screen Coverage

  1. “Next” Run and Jump Concept
  2. “Follow” Trap the First Pass out of the Ball Screen (Hedge or Trap)
  3. “Green” Switching the approach to the ball screen

Offensive Concepts

  1. “Hide” a Defender using an Across Cut
  2. “Empty” to Create a Double Gap

I talked this week with an NBA assistant coach who wanted me to help him learn more about Active Learning Time, Random Practice, a Games Approach to Coaching and many other concepts I share. I want to end with a whole bunch of bullet points I shared with him in our discussion that hopefully will stimulate your thinking:

  • Practice is a time to struggle and fight for your learning. That process is aided by purposeful feedback within the context of the game. Hold. Recreate.
  • Slow learning 5-on-5 is better than fast learning 5-on-0.
  • Randomize free throws throughout practice to increase the game-like stops and starts but also to more closely simulate how free throws occur in games.
  • Just as important to teach players when not to focus as when to focus.
  • Game speed does not mean fast. Game speed is variable so pay attention to the context you say it within practices and workouts.

Want more basketball lessons? Work with me through Coaching U on Campus and join Basketball Immersion.  Join Basketball Immersion and I can guarantee I will stimulate your thinking and work within what you do to help you become a better coach.

Become a member of our Basketball Immersion community here: Become a Member

Learn more about Coaching U on Campus here: Chris Oliver Coaching U on Campus

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